A town that turned its fortunes around after being chosen to be a Portas Pilot could well hold the key to filling the post of Spalding town manager, after the first round of interviews failed to find a suitable candidate.
Sarah Scott, chairman of Market Rasen BIG (MR BIG), said their own town manager had made a huge contribution to the development of the town in the 18 months she had been there – but she was not experienced in the role.
She said: “A lot of people don’t know what town manager means and may be put off by that.
“You don’t necessarily need someone to be experienced, just to be passionate about the town.
“What you really need is someone who is a good project manager and a people person.
“It worked for us. We have just has our second year review and have come out as one of the high achievers in the Portas Pilot.
The job is being advertised on the ATCM website for ‘Helping People Make Great Places’.
Part-funded by Section 106 Springfields cash, the post offers £26,000 for a three-year term and says it is looking for “an experienced town manager with an excellent track record of partnership working” .
It describes Spalding’s vibrant town centre, boasting a superb selection of shops, plus a twice-weekly market on Tuesdays and Saturdays. In addition it highlights the area’s major food and flower production role, as well as the annual flower parade that ended last year.
The town was certainly buzzing in the sunshine at the market on Tuesday, with visitors enjoining looking around the stalls, sitting outside at bars and cafes, having a picnic along the river and taking a trip on the water taxi.
One of the stallholders said: “When they appoint a town manager it will be great to have someone to speak to with any grumbles we have. As long as they are focused on making this town a better place it can only be a good thing.”
We asked residents who they thought would make a good candidate and two names put forward were Jan Whitbourn of Tulip Radio and Wendy Taylor of Taylor’s Coffee House.
Jan – who is involved in organising many of the town’s events, including Tulipmania and the Pumpkin Festival – said she was flabbergasted. She said: “It’s not something I’ve considered, but we just need to find someone with a passion for the town.
“Events bring trade in and make a town vibrant. It’s not rocket science.”
Wendy Taylor said she was shocked but honoured she had been suggested. She said: “It’s a major responsibility and I think it’s maybe too much for one person. I think a team should be put forward to do it.”
Simon Beardsley, Chief Executive at the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We’d like to thank the Spalding Guardian for its support towards the new Town Manager role that we are supporting the recruitment of.
“The Town Centre Manager will give Spalding’s business community one person to work with on a range of issues and opportunities that can directly impact on their business.
“To ensure the long term sustainability of the role, it is vital that the right person with the relevant experience and skill based is recruited. The Chamber is seeking an individual with experience in Town Management and coordination, the ability develop strong partnerships, as well as experience in identifying and applying for additional agency funding and creating business support initiatives.
“Spalding deserves a dedicated Town Centre Manager, and we are working hard with the District Council, local businesses and retails to find one”.