BURTON’s town centre manager, who has been at the helm for seven years, is leaving to travel south.
Paul Howard is bidding farewell to the town for a new management role in Devon, he announced on Facebook yesterday.
Mr Howard leaves at the same time it was revealed by the Mail that Coopers Square shopping centre had cancelled its £25 million extension which shelved the possibility of Debenhams moving in (see story below).
Mr Howard came to the town in April 2007 taking over from Moira Bertoni, who left the previous November.
The married father, previously worked for a company called Padiham Life, in Padiham, Lancashire, where he was instrumental in securing more than £1 million of funding to help regenerate a declining market town.
His main role there was to manage the retail improvement scheme and he also had responsibility for delivering other projects such as marketing grants, securing business grants and the Town Centre Partnership.
He also launched a radio network scheme and secured funding from the National Lottery and other sources to ensure a full events package was developed.
In June 2007, he spoke to the Mail saying he was looking forward to facing the challenges in Burton.
One of his first campaigns in July 2007 was in conjunction with Burton’s Business Crime Reduction Partnership, Pubwatch and the East Staffordshire Community Safety Partnership who introduced a zero tolerance approach to drunken behaviour barring drinkers from clubs if they refused to be screened by bouncers with hand-held metal detectors.
He also saw the plight of Bargates as it was sold to Tesco then later bulldozed by the council, and guided Burton through the doom and gloom of the recession.
He championed the former popular pancake race through the town and shivered for the cause at Burton YMCA’s sponsored sleepout.