Webcam puts town in focus

By Mark Elson in Local People

A SKY-high webcam above a busy town centre has proved so popular that a second camera is now being installed.

An extra 6,000 visitors from more than 20 countries viewed Cinderford Town Council’s website in the first month of their webcam operation from the Triangle tower.

The council purchased the town centre structure last July and became the first town in the region to introduce free wi-fi two months ago, enabling the installation of the webcam, which broadcasts 24 hours a day.

Now town councillors have unanimously backed installing the second camera after page views on the council website rocketed by more than 1,500 per cent.

Cllr Mark Turner said: “The second camera can also be repositioned easily and will allow us the option to live stream events like the Remembrance Day Parade, the turning on of the Christmas lights and CindyFest from a different angle.

“This will allow people who can’t get to the Triangle to be part of important events in the town.”

Cllr Chris Witham said it also boosted security for shops, adding: “As well as providing a fun insight into what’s happening in the town, there is a more serious side to this project.

“The new system provides us with alerts that can help identify what time incidents occur and access the correct CCTV footage quickly for more detailed images.

“Whilst social media is a great tool for reaching a wide audience, it is also important that we interact with the public through our website and it is great to see this increase in engagement.”

The council bought the Triangle last year from the Forest of Dean District Council for £68,000, after a £5,000 repair bill had led to a wrangle over their peppercorn lease.

The webcam has had interest from more than 20 different countries and Cinderford residents now living in Australia have expressed their appreciation for being able to see their hometown.

Cllr Turner said: “It’s another first for Cinderford out of the forest towns and highlights the quality of our wi-fi service that it connects to.”

At the time of the wi-fi installation, Cllr Witham said: “As councillors, we’re determined to see a thriving high street in our town, and free wi-fi is central to our plans to attract more footfall which will benefit businesses across the town.

“The project will also help combat digital exclusion and social inequality where people get left behind without access to a good internet connection as more services are delivered online.

“I’m really excited about all the possibilities this brings to our town and some of the ideas we’ve got in the pipeline.”

The webcam is free to operate with no monthly fees.

See what’s happening in the town centre at www.cinderfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/webcam

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