DEVELOPERS behind plans for Spalding’s Holland Market have promised to give back more than they take away if the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field is built on.
Our sister paper the Lincolnshire Free Press reported on Tuesday how the town centre field could be included in the development, which is likely to bring some big name retail and leisure chains to the town and create up to 400 jobs.
Michael Moran, who looks after the UK interests of Holland Market owners Corbo, said he now intends to work with South Holland District Council, which currently holds the field in trust for the recreational use of the people of Spalding, to provide a new and better facility on the edge of town.
That could be built at the roundabout where the A16 meets the A1073 on land already acquired by Sir Halley Stewart tenants, Spalding United Football Club.
The club, which currently pays rent to the council for the Sir Halley Stewart but has no official lease, could then rent the new stadium and pitches and would have a proper lease.
The new community facility on the edge of town would also open the way for ladies and disabled football teams and provide a home for up to 200 young players currently involved in Spalding Athletic which has merged with Spalding United.
Mr Moran said: “We have spoken to Spalding United as they have been at that site for 90 years and we do have a responsibility to relocate them.
“However, the club is not driving the development and would not benefit financially. It is just one part of a wider community engagement with other groups and members of the public, which will probably happen by this spring.
“We also need to engage with the Sir Halley Stewart Trust and the council regarding the Sir Halley Stewart, but I can say we are committed to giving back a lot more than is there already.”
Mr Moran is also promising a new “green space” for use by everyone to replace the Sir Halley Stewart field, saying it would be a legal requirement of any planning permission to replace like for like.
He said: “We would have to provide the equivalent of the Sir Halley Stewart field, we have to give back something better than what is there currently.
“The Sir Halley Stewart is four acres, so whether we put back six acres or three, it has to be something that is better.
“But it is important to remember that the Sir Halley Stewart is only part of the development, which is a platform for new jobs and investment in the town.”
One Holland Market trader, Brian Markillie, has already welcomed the plans, saying: “It is the best thing that could possibly happen to Spalding.”
Mr Markillie, who sells flowers and plants from a pitch alongside the Argos store, said he has heard positive comments from hundreds of his customers who believe it would reverse the trend of people going to Boston, Peterborough and King’s Lynn to shop.