The search is on to find the person to help put Spalding back on the map and bring prosperity to the town.
It has been a long time coming, but recruitment has now started for the new top role of town centre manager.
The £26,000-a-year post is geared towards that special someone “to ensure that Spalding and its hinterland are economically prosperous, dynamic and forward looking for growth, whilst highlighting its unique character”.
Delivering strategies, such as festivals and an event that could replace Spalding Flower Parade, to increase visitors and help secure more funding for the town is also a key part of the job.
In an announcement to the Spalding Guardian, Phil Scarlett, president of the Spalding and District Area Chamber of Commerce, said the town could finally look to the future with a fresh hope.
He said: “Spalding needs a town centre manager to proactively manage the retail and leisure offering for residents and visitors alike and deliver events and incentives to increase the footfall.”
It has taken more than a year for funding for the post to be secured from a slice of the £207,935 left from the Section 106 Springfields development pot. It is also “the first project that directly impacts the future of the town centre” for which the money was originally intended.
Spearheaded by the local Chamber of Commerce, Mr Scarlett said that there had been overwhelming support from local businesses to recruit one person who would be responsible for increasing the number of visitors to Spalding, as well as supporting existing businesses and exploring new opportunities with all stakeholders.
He said: “Key to its success will be to ensure the long-term sustainability of the town centre manager role. We see this being an opportunity to attract future funding to Spalding, whilst at the same time securing more resilient future commercial income streams.”
The town centre manager will give Spalding’s business community one person to work with on a range of issues and opportunities that can impact on their business.
Mr Scarlett said: “At the moment there are at least a dozen different utilities, county and district departments whose work has an impact on the town centre, sometimes acting without any reference to each other. The Town Centre Manager will be a single person embracing all these activities and would be the link between landlords, tenants and the public.
“We need someone who is great at communication and liaising with the business and retailers in the town not only to let them know what is going on, but to plan events, make things happen and share best practice to bring the town together.
“As well as this, the Town Centre Manager will be the main point of contact for any enquiries relating to the management and health of the town centre environment; such as cleaning, parking, crime, local planning and any other issues affecting trade.”
The manager will also link the town’s business community, whilst working with other key partners such as South Holland District Council and Springfields Outlet Shopping Centre.
Speaking about the success of other town centre roles across Lincolnshire, Simon Beardsley, chief executive at the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We have seen great things achieved through similar town centre manager positions that we have launched. I am delighted that we have the opportunity to bring a dedicated manager to Spalding’s town centre.”
One recent success story has been Market Rasen, which advertised for its own £25,000 post of town centre manager after becoming a Portas Pilot town in 2012. Local chamber members have been in contact with Market Rasen Business Improvement Group since during negotiations to secure funding.
Gavin Allmand, director of Hills Department Store, Spalding, said he was thrilled the town centre manager job was finally being advertised.
He said: “It’s about time – a town centre manager is sorely needed has been for a number of years.
“We need someone with the time and energy to help co-ordinate activities that will bring a vibrancy back into the town.
“This is the first project to secure Section 106 funding that will do this and I and the other independent businesses in the town welcome it.”
Applications for the role are now open and full details of the role and an application form are available on www.lincs-chamber.co.uk/job-vacancies/index.htm
• What projects do you think the new town centre manager should deliver? Email firstname.lastname@example.org