New proposal could see giant shoes displayed in Northampton
Private businesses are being asked to fund large shoe displays in Northampton town centre to promote the town's rich shoe making history.
Irritated by negative comments and a lack of solutions, Steffans Jewellers’ Wes Suter last year came up with an idea to revive the town centre.
Through his ‘put your best foot forward campaign’ Wes hopes to attract shoemakers into the town centre where he hopes they would open factory outlet shops.
This was backed by the Chronicle & Echo, which subsequently launched its campaign 'Save Our Sole.'
This newspaper spoke to shoemaker bosses about their recommendations for the Boot & Shoe Quarter and how international tourists could be better persuaded to shop in the town centre instead of visiting factory shops and leaving.
As part of the campaign, this year Wes is putting together a proposal to create a 'Pride of Shoes' display in Northampton, loosely based on the pride of lions concept in 2010.
Wes said: "We will look for private businesses to fund and sponsor the shoe and create artwork on it to reflect their influence and link with the town. The council has given its initial support to the project.
"The shoe will have to be a classic brogue. The shoes will be strategically positioned within the town to give exposure and education to the people of our town.
"The main aim to businesses is to see a return on their investment. This will come in the form of advertising and footfall, two things local businesses desperately need.
"This is a great opportunity for the town as it not only cements our legend as a shoe town but also gives people a reason to come."
Last year a Labour motion, proposed to Northampton Borough Council by councillor Gareth Eales, won cross-party backing at full council.
It recommended plans to revamp a vacant site in the middle of town to showcase and sell shoes and leather goods from the county's finest cobblers, which will, he said, bring tourism into the main shopping streets.