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What’s in the pipeline to lift dark clouds of doom over Spalding?

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AS 2013 gets under way can we expect a year full of good news, or is it all doom and gloom?

After a year which saw Spalding in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons – such as street drinking and anti-social behaviour – reporter Chrissie Redford took to the streets of the town centre to ask shoppers what they would like to see happen in 2013, while Tracey Sweetland spoke to town leaders to see what they think the year will hold.

It’s all about the money, money, money... like everything else plans for any kind of development in Spalding all hang on the cash being available.

According to South Holland District Council Gary Porter, that could mean not much happens in 2013 as everyone waits for the economy to shows signs of improvement.

But president of Spalding and District Area Chamber of Commerce Phil Scarlett paints a more hopeful picture of small successes being achieved to bring vitality back to the town centre.

He believes the enthusiasm that business people and traders have to improve things just needs to be harnessed in a more organised way to get the ball rolling.

But Mr Scarlett said things are unlikely to happen in a hurry as lessons from the failed Red Lion Quarter are taken on board.

One thing he hopes to see this year to revitalise the town centre is the creation of a new town centre manager post, paid for from section 106 money.

A permanent craft market in the town centre could also bring shoppers back in.

He said: “People can expect to see step by step changes in 2013 which we hope will help to revitalise the town.

“If we can get the 106 money we then need to find the right person for the job of town centre manager and it is likely to be the latter part of the year by the time that happens.

“As for things like the craft market, it won’t happen without a proper feasibility study.

“It will all be done in the proper manner because we do not want a repeat of the Red Lion Quarter.

“But I can say that I have had conversations with a number of businesspeople and the enthusiasm is there to make positive changes, we just need to pull people together.”

But there appears to still be a big question mark over one of the big developments earmarked for Spalding last year – those for Holland Market.

Plans for a new supermarket, shops and a redesign of the retail area to include a town square and bus station had been expected in 2012, but as time marches on, council leader Gary Porter has questioned whether the scheme will now go ahead.

He said Holland Market owner Corbo’s option on land runs out in March, meaning time is running out for plans to be submitted.

But he added: “There now needs to be a definite scheme that we can put before residents and get their feedback.”

But in the meantime, what do people living, working and shopping in Spalding think the town needs, or what can be done, to bring a ray of sunshine back into the town?

*Chrissie Redford went into the town centre to find out what some had to say. See our video to find out...

 

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