CT Consults

Buxton – a visitor economy strategy to help us to ‘take the waters’ once more

Detail of stone built theatre with canopy to front

The challenge

Buxton is a town of considerable historic and contemporary heft, on the cusp of transformation driven by visionary ambition and major public and private sector investment into its heritage assets. It has a significant opportunity to grow its visitor economy. Its ‘hardware’ (built and natural environment) and ‘software’ (people, skills, community) are considerable. Buxton is a heritage spa town, with a strong cultural and heritage offer, surrounded by the Peak District, supported by enthusiastic volunteers, with a huge catchment area and potential market on its doorstep – a plethora of assets, for even half of which many a destination would give its eye teeth. The challenge is to bring all this together, identify improvements needed in visitor experiences, products and events, infrastructure and access, and channel the energies so evident within the town, to coalesce behind a vision and competitive ‘sense of place’, for the town, thus helping it realise the potential of its visitor economy.

Partial detail of curved building, with cloudy sky above

Our response

In partnership with Yellow Railroad Consulting we produced plans that identified and developed a series of transformational elements for Buxton – brand, culture, place, visitor experience, wraparound offer, leadership – which built on the organizational and asset base of the town and its partners.

Kickstarting a new approach

The Visitor Economy Strategy (VES) and associated Destination Management Action Plan (DMAP) provided the strategic direction and focused activity necessary to achieve this. The VES is a road map, identifying what kind of place Buxton wants to be and how it can optimise its visitor economy, through strategic priorities for the next five years. The DMAP is a three-year action plan, defining how Buxton can achieve these strategic objectives and how it can regularly measure progress. Treated as a ‘live’ ongoing plan, the DMAP was designed to be updated and refocused over time and as progress is made, building on a set of nearly 50 detailed recommendations.

In 2020 the flagship new Buxton Crescent Health Spa Hotel opened in one of the most architecturally significant buildings in England.

Pond in a park surrounded by trees, lawn and shrubs, buildings in the background
In a relatively short period available, CTConsults have arrived at a thorough understanding of our town and the issues which need to be addressed. Their enthusiastic and flexible response to the brief has resulted in an outstanding service throughout the project”

Richard Tuffrey, High Peak Borough Council

Evidence to support funding bids

Funding bids were submitted to support the delivery of a number of the recommendations.

Changing governance

The Project Team became the Delivery Team with a widened representation.

Marketing toolkit and strategy

Production of a marketing strategy supported by a marketing toolkit for partners.

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