SPALDING’S Victoria Street car park could be turned into formal gardens to replace the Sir Halley Stewart Field.
South Holland District Council leader Gary Porter has mooted the “innovative” idea of transforming the grey, concrete area into one filled with trees and flowers following talks with Holland Market developer Corbo, which plans to replace the town’s current green space with more shops.
The possible loss of the Sir Halley Stewart to make way for the redevelopment of Holland Market has upset many residents, despite assurances by Corbo representative Michael Moran that it would be replaced with something better.
Coun Porter was due to put the Victoria Street idea to fellow councillors at their monthly meeting last night.
He said: “I will be calling for the council to give its backing to further exploration of the idea of turning the car park into a formal urban public park.
“I have always said that if the Holland Market development goes ahead it needs to work for all the people of South Holland.
“This would provide accessible formal gardens which would be open from dawn to dusk for all to enjoy.”
A full-time park keeper would be employed to maintain the gardens, which could also include children’s play equipment and benches for people to sit and enjoy the outdoors.
Mr Porter described it as a “proper town park, like the Sir Halley Stewart Field should have been”.
The project would be bankrolled with a “significant” sum of money from Corbo, but Mr Porter hopes it would become self-sustaining using rental yields from sheltered accommodation which could be built on the edges of the park.
And he has promised that the council would look at alternative parking for those who currently use Victoria Street if necessary.
He said: “I have laboured under the impression that the town is short of car parking but I have now been told we are oversubscribed.
“There are other long-stay car parks in town, but car parking would need to be looked at if this goes forward.
“The diggers are not going to be moving in tomorrow.”
Mr Moran has welcomed Mr Porter’s suggestion.
He said: “He has come up with this innovative idea because he genuinely believes in giving the people of South Holland the best possible deal.
“The creation of a new park in the centre of town is an important step alongside a new bus station, a new sports facility and the 400 plus new jobs we will bring to the town.
“We have teams of professional in place working on the other parts of the project and hope to announce plans for a public exhibition in the coming weeks.”