After a massive community consultation there was a 'wish list' of 10 projects, in order of most requested;
1. Wider variety of more 'upmarket' shops - businesses have come and gone over the last 10 years but despite one of the worst recessions ever the shops are still nearly all full. Against a national average vacancy rate of 14% Hythe has only 2.5% vacant. They way people shop has changed drastically in 10 years and this has had an effect on the type of businesses in High St's all over the country.
2. More facilities for the Under 18's - The Handy Trust works tirelessly with organisations and schools for Under 18 provision, there are now weekly youth clubs on virtually every night of the week, Sports in the park provides activities on every day of the Summer Holidays and the Youth Club is open everyday during every school holiday so young people have somewhere to go and just 'hang'. All the Youth Clubs work together and with schools and there are many 'cross over activities' Such as SJY working with the drama department at Applemore College. There is a dedicated page on Facebook to help young people find work. The ACSO's work alongside the youth workers to keep young people safe.
3. More Visible Policing - The Parish Council worked with Hampshire County Council to provide Community Safety Officers and when the funding was withdrawn Hythe & Dibden Parish Council took them on. Norm and Lou work with the community and the police to help reduce petty crime.They also introduced the Community messaging system.
4. Improve Waterfront - The Promenade was significantly improved and has now become a much used resource and visitor destination.
5. Cinema - Hythe Cinema was started 9 years ago this month and has showed over 112 films to over 13,000 people, visit the Hythe Cinema page for the latest films.
6. More 'Upmarket' Cafe's and Restaurants - A local franchisee opened Costa Coffee which has been a huge success and there are now independent coffee shops in the Parish. Many restaurants and pubs have also developed their food offer over the last few years too.
7. NHS Dentist & Minor Injuries Unit - This has been a struggle as it is controlled centrally but local people and Councillors have fought hard to maintain as high a level of service as possible.
8. Re-open Railway line - We managed to get the re-opening of the line officially looked at a but sadly it was deemed financially unviable.
9. More Events - We have introduced the Mistletoe Fayre, Art & Vintage Markets, French Markets, Italian Markets and worked in partnership to put on the Hythe Firework Display, Hythe Fete and many others. In addition we have developed passenger liner events and attract visitors from all over the country.
10. More 'footfall' (people visiting shopping areas) - Developing Hythe as a Visitor Destination has been a major change over the last 10 years. We work in partnership with Cruise Southampton and Diamond Coaches to bring cruise related visitors to Hythe. We have introduced the New Forest Tour Bus and the very successful Beach Bus which has increased visitor numbers and we have worked in Partnership with The Herald to produce a Visitor Guide (22,000 distributed) and with a local artist to produce some high quality postcards and posters. The introduction of the Art and Vintage Markets, Italian Markets and French Markets have also increased footfall. In addition we work with start-up businesses and Estate Agents to endeavour to keep the shops occupied.
In addition to all of these projects there are more too numerous to mention including working with partners to secure the American Army base as Hythe Marine Park, which is successful beyond expectation and now employs over 300 people.
So here's to the next 10 years!