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Was John Wesley Right? Is Wincanton Still Boring?

Thursday 19 August 2010, 21:23
By Amazed – name withheld

When John Wesley, Methodist Preacher visited Wincanton in the late 1800's he described Wincanton as the most boring town in the county. If he came back today would he have the same opinion, bearing in mind the following?

  • The town voted out a proposal for the refurbishment of the High Street causing two ex Mayors of the town to resign.
  • About seven years ago the Town Festival closed down through lack of support
    Many people voted for a third supermarket when one was already struggling to survive.
  • The town museum is closing through lack of support.
  • When Wincanton was offered a brand new surgery to replace the existing one that was too small, nearly a thousand people voted against it because it was not in the centre of the town.
  • We are fortunate to have one of the finest sports grounds in the area, but people don't use it because it is not in the centre of the town.
  • There has not been a full Town Council election for many years because very few people are prepared to put their names forward.
  • In recent years the Town lost the annual Classic Car rally.
  • This year there will not be an annual Carnival because nobody is prepared to help organise it.
  • Most organisations in the town struggle to get volunteers to run them.
  • The Wincanton Shopkeepers association lacks members and is struggling to survive.
  • The town does not have an annual fete.
  • Support for the Christmas Extravaganza is very poor.
  • The lanes around the town are littered with plastic bottles, tin cans and other unwanted litter.
  • A few years ago the Town's monthly newsletter collapsed because nobody would volunteer to become the Editor.

Would John Wesley come to the same conclusion today? What do you think?

Amazed local (Name and Address supplied)


Posts: 1
Re: Was John Wesley Right? Is Wincanton Still Boring?
Reply #1 on : Fri August 20, 2010, 19:13:43
When you see it all listed like that it does look pretty poor.
The Christmas Extravaganza last year was a big let down IMO.
The usual shops being open later just isn't an Extravaganza!

Posts: 2
It’s not the town’s fault – it’s PEOPLE that need a poke!
Reply #2 on : Mon August 23, 2010, 09:36:42
Ooh, now there’s an interesting mix of discussion points, but I wouldn’t say that many of them point to Wincanton being BORING. A victim of its many residents and business owners being afflicted with extreme apathy, yes. And suffering from the dilution of community spirit that comes with our modern lifestyle - we no longer live out our lives in close proximity to our home towns.

But it’s a rather simplistic view to think that, for example, the sports ground is under-used because people can’t be bothered to go to the edge of town. If it’s under-used it might be that people simply don’t play as much outdoor sport as they used to. And it doesn’t make the town boring because a thousand people voted against a new Health Centre. Quite the opposite: it means people cared enough about their community facilities to express their concerns (and I think the various agencies involved in the project would be the first to admit there was no perfect solution to THAT particular hot potato).

But I agree that many of our clubs, associations, festivals etc. do suffer as a result of the majority of people’s sheer inability to get off their bums and get involved. They moan that Wincanton has nothing to offer (which I don’t believe is true anyway), but expect it all to be laid on for them by a tiny handful of volunteers with little or no resources. And when an event or club disappears through lack of support, this same majority whinges that Wincanton is boring.

Wincanton Businesses Together (another small committee of volunteers) has organised the Christmas Extravaganza for the last three years. It’s tried every trick in the book to get local traders interested enough to help make it a really special event. Sure, they’re willing to stay open late and get any passing sales for themselves, but if you ask them to actually DO something for the event as a whole – help to organise one little aspect of it so it can be bigger and better – they’re too busy, or just not interested. Even with no help from most traders, WBT managed to organise Santa’s Grotto, a fancy dress competition, snow machines, a children’s quiz, some market stalls, carol singing, a silver band, bouncy castle, dance displays and a Victorian street organ. It could be even bigger with more help – not money...just help!

Tell us why you think Wincanton is boring if you like – but before you do, tell us what YOU are prepared to do to make it otherwise!
Posts: 1
Reply #3 on : Thu August 26, 2010, 17:36:39
I love Wincanton! It is a lovely town full of interesting and unusual shops. I think so many people buy online now that small towns and villages really have to look at new ventures to get feet in the streets. You only have to go to the big shopping centres to see many shops are having constant sales and promotions because the customer has so much choice and everything is so cheap. The Christmas Extravaganza could be totally amazing, but is does need input from volunteers to get it going - there is no local funding for this event that I know of and it does take a lot of organising and enthusiasm! I have always thought better signs on the A303 would encourage more visitors through but the town does then need coffee shops/cream teas to attract visitors at probably all hours!

Posts: 2
Tourist Attractions Needed for Wincanton
Reply #4 on : Thu August 26, 2010, 18:27:59
Allison you must have read my mind! I was only thinking the other day that as Wincanton is the "Gateway to Somerset" we should really be pushing cream teas etc. to tourists and passers through. The number of holiday travellers I see parked up in Morrisions, taking a break before they continue their journey...if we could entice them just a little bit further up the road and have some lovely refreshments waiting for them, they might just hang around to do a bit of shopping too.

So who wants to organise Wincanton's first Annual Cream Tea Party?!
Last Edit: August 26, 2010, 18:29:53 by *  
Posts: 1
Cream teas
Reply #5 on : Thu August 26, 2010, 22:10:29
If by 'annual cream tea party' you mean a party involving cream teas that will last an entire year, I suspect you're onto a winner.

If someone will offer cream teas, perhaps without the tea, using Elliscombe Farm's Jersey double cream, I'm gonna need to start charging more - or get a second job - to help me pay for them.

Here's hopin' this 'ere web site will help the Extravaganza along a bit.

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