Town centre playing field could be used for shops

The Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field, current home of Spalding Utd
The Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field, current home of Spalding Utd
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SPALDING’S Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field is likely to be built on as part of plans to redevelop Holland Market.

An agreement in principle has been reached between developers and Spalding United Football Club, which currently uses the field, to look at providing an alternative facility on the outskirts of town which could include all-weather pitches and a million pound stadium.

The new purpose-built club would be a more “community-focused” facility for use by Spalding Athletic’s youth players and other groups, including women’s and disabled teams.

It could be built on 20 acres already acquired by Spalding United next to the A16 bypass, although developers have said another option is available.

Tulips chairman Chris Toynton confirmed the club was “in dialogue” with developers but denied rumours he has already been in talks with other teams, including Bourne Town, to discuss the possibility of ground-sharing next season.

He also dismissed as “absolute rumour” that snooker teams who use the Tulips Social Club at the Sir Halley Stewart have been informed of the need to find an alternative base.

However, the Lincolnshire Free Press understands that Spalding and District Snooker League has been asked to find them somewhere to play.

Michael Moran, who looks after the British investments of retail specialist Corbo, which owns Holland Market, said: “It is our intention that any new facilities would benefit the wider community. The key thing in recreating the Sir Halley Stewart is that it would be about more than football and Spalding United.

“Nothing has been signed and sealed, but getting this agreement with Spalding United is the first element of providing a community facility and more green space for the town.”

Spalding United pay a peppercorn rent to South Holland District Council to use the Sir Halley Stewart Field, which was bequeathed to the inhabitants of Spalding on the grounds it was “used in perpetuity as a playing field”.

Details of the planned redevelopment of Holland Market and surrounding areas have not yet been revealed, but Mr Moran has hinted at a major retail development which could include a new supermarket and big name chains. Yesterday, Asda announced plans to open 25 new supermarkets across the country in 2012, but Mr Moran said he was unable to comment on whether one of those could be in Spalding.