However it’s dressed up, Red Lion Quarter has lost taxpayers £5.1million

Sage restaurant, Spalding'Meeting to discuss future of Red Lion Quarter'Names: Amanda Mozek, Petronella Keeling, Phil Scarlett and Nick Worth
Sage restaurant, Spalding'Meeting to discuss future of Red Lion Quarter'Names: Amanda Mozek, Petronella Keeling, Phil Scarlett and Nick Worth
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Much has been said and written about the Red Lion Quarter, with the recent announcement about the closure of the Sage Restaurant following on from the food hall closure six months ago, and now the sale of the building for £2.4m.

I had to re-read the council inquiry to remind myself of the actual costs involved. This states that the building cost was in excess of £7.5m. The funding of this came from a variety of sources, all tax-payer funded. In addition there was £1.2m contribution from South Holland District Council so it doesn’t matter how you spin these figures, this building has lost the taxpayer £5.1m.

I recently received a request from the Civic Society asking how I thought Boston College could best deliver their commitment for a Food Heritage Centre and the development of new businesses. These covenants were put in place for the development of the Red Lion Quarter and are still in place following the purchase by the college. I suggested the entrance foyer could feature displays of old photographs and farming equipment, accompanied by explanatory text plus videos depicting the agricultural history of the area. The display would have to be of a high enough calibre that it will attract visitors and must be well signposted. The college’s ongoing commitment to the food covenant can be best expressed through their continued organising and funding of the Food Festival. This year’s event was well organised and successful and they should make an early commitment that the festival will continue. The Chamber would like to see the college provide courses that reflect the employment needs of local companies, particularly within the food growing and processing industry.

I recently attended the AGM of Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce and was asked to summarise our past and present projects. Listed below area few highlights:

What we achieved last year:

• Chamber has created a united voice for local business and has a seat at South Holland District Council’s cabinet and the town forum. We also liaise with County Highways and the police

• 80-plus businesses attended two successful networking events. We will be having our next event on November 15 at the Broad Street Business Centre

• Launched Shopwatch (formerly CRASH) shop radio system

• Organised the first Christmas Festival linked to the lights switch-on. This year we will do it all again but better on Saturday, December 1. Chamber will be responsible for this year’s new town centre Christmas lights.

If you or your business is interested in joining Spalding & District Chamber of Commerce, please contact me: phil.scarlett@theedgeconsultancy.co.uk or Tony Wright at: lancedesign@hotmail.co.uk for more information.