Trade has halved in ‘rack and ruin’ town

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NUMBERS of shoppers in Spalding town centre have dropped by more than 50 per cent in the past few years, according to a businessman behind a bid for £100,000 of regeneration cash.

Karl Sergison, of Sergi’s deli in Francis Street, claims the town has gone to “rack and ruin” in a short video in which he argues the case for Spalding to be granted “Portas Pilot” status.

The video, which is now available for all to see on YouTube, formed part of South Holland District Council’s bid to be one of a dozen towns or cities across the country to get the backing of Mary Portas – television’s Queen of Shops and a handout from the Government.

In it he describes Spalding as an “ancient town with a massive history” famous for its food manufacturing heritage and the world-famous flower parade.

But Mr Sergison, who appeared in the BBC television series Turn Back Time, which charted the rise and fall of the British High Street, said: “Footfall is dire – people aren’t coming to Spalding anymore because it’s a bit knackered and has gone to rack and ruin.

“I have been in business here for seven years and footfall has fallen by at least 50 per cent in that time.

“We need some money for better signage and to provide a safe environment for people to come in to.

“As a member of the Chamber of Commerce I feel this money would be of great benefit to the town.”

It is hoped that if Spalding is chosen as a Portas Pilot, the money could be used to make the town centre more attractive to shoppers, with the possibility of a “town team” being put in charge to drive through changes.

In the Lincolnshire Free Press last week, we reported South Holland District Council economic development manager Mark Stanton saying the bid would further enhance the work already being carried out to redevelop Spalding town centre.

He said: “This was a process that was really kick-started by the development of the Red Lion Quarter and we aim to build on the excellent progress we have made to ensure that the town centre continues to be an attractive and thriving place to do business.”