Spalding traders initiate talks to build bright future for the town

Library picture: Town centre manager Dennis Hannant (left) with Spalding Town Retailers Association joint chairman Darren Sutton.
Library picture: Town centre manager Dennis Hannant (left) with Spalding Town Retailers Association joint chairman Darren Sutton.

Traders have had talks with the district council and MP John Hayes with the aim of building a bright future for Spalding.

Gavin Allmand, a joint chairman of Spalding Town Retailers Association (STRA), said the steps were taken following the resignation of town centre manager Dennis Hannant.

Mr Allmand said: “STRA is appreciative of the efforts made by Dennis Hannant since his appointment. The role was never going to be easy trying to satisfy the wishes of local shopkeepers with dealing with the council, highways, Lincolnshire County Council and others.

“Unfortunately there has been frustration on all sides as some things, deemed important for businesses, have not been able to be delivered.

“The honesty integrity and commitment made by Dennis could not be questioned.”

Mr Allmand now wants to see a stronger partnership between businesses and the public sector – local councils – to move Spalding forward.

He said: “Retail on the high street remains challenging and the businesses and public sector need to work together to provide the choices, conditions and environment our customers demand.

“Traders want more activity in the Market Place, the inter-town bus coming through Market Place and Hall Place, changes to parking, support from South Holland District Council on bringing activity into the town centre and generally closer contact and cooperation with the council. Traders wish to see progress on this before considering a future BID (business improvement district).”

The board overseeing the town centre manager role has engaged consultants to explore the idea of pursuing a BID. Mr Hannant, who is leaving a year early by “mutual agreement” with the board, also favours a BID, but Spalding traders voted on the idea in 2009 and 75 per cent of those taking part were against.

Fellow STRA chairman Darren Sutton also wants to see greater support from the county and district councils so activities can be staged in key town centre spots, which in turn will boost footfall in areas like Market Place, Sheep Market and The Crescent.

He said: “We want all businesses in the town to do well.”

Mr Sutton said traders had been canvassed for their opinions on how the town should progress and “about 60” had responded.

He said Mr Hayes is supportive and “wants the best for the town as we traders and businesses do”.

Previously ...

Spalding town centre manager goes a year early to pursue singing