LETTER: They need to start listening to the needs of town’s business owners

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Born and educated in Spalding and currently a PhD student in Norwich, I frequently visit family and friends still living in the Spalding area.

I am disheartened to hear and see that the town centre has begun to deteriorate and that the local businesses are struggling to make ends meet.

Having read the article expressing Coun Gary Taylor’s opinions on the problem of town centre parking in the Lincolnshire Free Press, I can honestly say that as an outsider looking in, I feel there is little hope for Spalding’s economy unless councillors start to listen to the need of the business owners.

Firstly it is disappointing to see that the Conservative councillor is not taking the Tory campaign to “put town centres first” seriously.

It is clear from Coun Taylor’s comments that his opinions are based only on maintaining income for the council via parking charges and he has thought little about how businesses in the town operate.

Businesses are struggling to make a profit working regular 9am to 5pm hours because of a lack of people in the town centre.

It seems common sense to me that opening a business for longer hours in the evening and opening for extra hours on a Sunday will only incur further expense by paying staff members for the extra hours as well as increased overheads.

Running a business is not free Mr Taylor and having been into the town centre on a Sunday on many occasions I can safely say that for most of the smaller businesses it is not worth it.

You speak of making Spalding a “family-friendly place”.

I know many of the independent shop owners and they are more than friendly and helpful to their customers but Spalding town centre itself is grotty and has little to offer a “family”.

The new £6.5m Red Lion Quarter promised to draw in crowds of people when in truth it has captured nobody’s attention.

I have heard good reports about the food served in the restaurant but the food store is overpriced, under-stocked and doesn’t sell anything that is not available from other shops in the town.

In the article Coun Roger Gambba-Jones (planning, markets and car parks) calls for suggestions.

Spalding is supposedly an “historic market town”. The only thing historic about the Spalding markets are the stalls themselves which look as though they were bought 100 years ago.

If you insist on charging members of the public to park it would be nice to see the money being invested in improving the attractions Spalding town centre has to offer but there has been little evidence of that in over a decade.

For the sake of Spalding town centre I urge the local council to work together with the local businesses when making decisions about its fate and do not leave the fate of our home town to the opinion of one man.

Rob Posey

University of East

Anglia

Norwich