Free wi-fi extended across Loughborough town centre thanks to Town Deal-backed project
Posted: Mon, 05 Jun 2023 16:01
Visitors to Loughborough now have access to free wi-fi across more of the town centre.
The network is being expanded as part of the £2.87 million Living Loughborough project which is being led by Charnwood Borough Council in partnership with Love Loughborough.
The project will also see more events held in the town centre, investment in the town markets, expansion of the CCTV system and digital heritage trails added.
The extension of free wi-fi in the town centre has been led by Love Loughborough.
The funding has come from Loughborough Town Deal which secured £16.9 million from the Government's Towns Fund. It is backing 11 projects, which in total are worth more than £40 million of investment for the town.
Loughborough already enjoys free wi-fi but it is now available in Ward's End, Bedford Square and Queen's Park, meaning it stretches across the whole town centre.
Cllr Jewel Miah, Leader of the Council, said: "The Living Loughborough project is an exciting one for the whole town and I am pleased we have announced the extension of the free wi-fi for shoppers and visitors.
"There is so much more to come through this project and I look forward to seeing the improvements.
Lez Cope-Newman, chair of Love Loughborough BID: said: "As we know, the role and function of town centres are undergoing significant change with the need for digital connectively becoming an essential function for a town centre to operate.
"As well as keeping people in touch and backing local businesses, the free wi-fi supports ongoing covid recovery-related measures such as contactless payments, using food and drink-ordering apps and being able to access public services, travel information and the latest local health advice and support while on the go.
"It will be an added attraction for people to come into Loughborough and stay longer, which benefits everyone, including our member businesses."
Lisa Brown, BID manager, said: "It will support our local businesses, encouraging people to study, work or just 'play' from local cafes and restaurants or open spaces which will in turn benefit businesses within Loughborough.
"It will enable visitors and users of the town to freely access the LoyalFree App to benefit from town deals and discounts, trails and campaigns and essential information on Loughborough."
Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, Loughborough Town Deal Chair, said: "The Town Deal has supported the Living Loughborough project, recognising the critical role of digital connectivity in the economy of the town centre.
"Wi-fi for all will create so many more opportunities, as we invest to bring forward our ambition for a more successful and more vibrant Loughborough."
Visitors to the town centre and Queen's Park will be able to access the free wi-fi by selecting 'Love Free Wi-Fi' on their device. Once registered, users can receive information on parking offers, shopping discounts, upcoming events, trails and other town centre news if they decide to opt in.
The Living Loughborough project includes:
- the introduction of new interactive digital trails to encourage people to explore the town centre and its heritage. The trails will feature augmented reality which means they will be able to 'see into the past' using a mobile phone app.
- holding more events
- digital signage to showcase local events and information
- investment in Loughborough Markets including:
- flexibility to create areas to hold different types of events
- addition of a covered area in Southfields Park to hold events
- the expansion of CCTV cameras in four locations to improve public safety
- the creation of a new post with Love Loughborough to support crime reduction in the town centre including the purchase of 100 new radios for traders as part of the retail radio scheme
- more 1-2-1 support for businesses on topics including using digital technology and marketing
- improvements to Queen's Park including to the entrances from Granby Street and Granby Street car park, the addition of new information points, new lighting to the bandstand and improved lighting of the Carillon Tower.
- the expansion of free public wi-fi in the town centre to include Ward's End, Devonshire Square, Bedford Square and Queen's Park
So far, Loughborough Town Deal has already invested over £2 million in Loughborough to create a Careers and Enterprise Hub and to support the regeneration of Bedford Square, Ward's End and Devonshire Square.
It has also committed:
- £2.6 million to create a Digital Skills Hub at Loughborough College
- £835,000 to help save Taylor's Bell Foundry, the last major bell foundry in the UK
- £885,000 to fund towpath improvements alongside the River Soar
- £1.6 million to a creative arts hub at the Generator
- £2.5 million to support the Health and Innovative Loughborough project
- £280,000 towards the creation of a heritage locomotive works and education centre at Great Central Railway
- £669,000 for the Lanes and Links project including the Hope Bell
With the confirmed funding for the Living Loughborough project, Loughborough Town Deal's committed investment has now reached almost £15 million.