A CINEMA, higher education campus, hotel and better connectivity throughout the town are some of the ways in which Gillingham’s Town Team wants to “put north Dorset on the map”.

The team’s vision for the town, which involves several longer-term projects, aims to add more to and improve the area, celebrate and promote what is already there, and entice holidaymakers to choose Gillingham.

“It’s about creating new jobs, creating new companies, creating new infrastructure, and creating new reasons to come to the town,” explained town councillor and town team member, Mike Gould.

He added: “We have a vision for the town, as we feel certain areas of the town are underutilised and have great opportunity. We’re intent on putting north Dorset on the map.”

Cllr Gould added: “We have a great community here, with lots of individual activities and small societies which are really great for the town.

“We’re trying to create a user-friendly environment for people to come to but now we need more destination reason.”

As previously reported, a survey conducted by Bournemouth University students revealed that Gillingham could improve its tourism sector through a website, strengthening communication between diverse businesses, setting up a ‘fun run’ event and launching a regular market.

Responding to this, Gillingham’s White Hart Market will be launching on October 11 along the High Street, and a Park Run set up with Gillingham and Sherborne schools is ready to be given the green light.

Other projects underway include new signs for the area and tidying up roundabouts.

Talking to the Journal the town team revealed other ideas it had considered to “change the town”, including setting up a business improvement district, paying homage to Gillingham’s history and landmarks, and making the town more ‘green’ through improving transport links for pedestrians.

Town team chairman Ian Day said more than £40,000 is needed to achieve a masterplan for Gillingham, but the town team is able to evaluate areas of potential growth for the town.

He added: “We need to make a song and dance about what we have here so people know it’s here, we’re here, and they’ll want to visit.

“If we can demonstrate we have an ambition for the town without spoiling an extraordinary place to live, we do think things like a cinema and college will certainly help to move our town forward in a positive way.

“Obviously these things aren’t going to happen overnight, but there is a wave of enthusiasm going on right now.”