‘Big name’ chains remain a mystery

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“BIG name” retail chains in the pipeline for Spalding’s Holland Market development will remain a mystery for the time being, despite the town’s traders pushing for answers.

Michael Moran, representing developer Corbo, remained tight-lipped about the firm’s plans as he introduced himself to the Spalding and District Area Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

Traders were given the opportunity to grill Mr Moran as he told them he hoped to return again soon to get their views on detailed proposals, which have yet to be finalised.

But while Mr Moran refused to give away his plans, he did give his assurances that Corbo was “committed” to a “vibrant” town centre.

“I would be happy to debate that we are in Spalding town centre,” he said. “We are long-term investors. It’s important that the town is as strong as possible. Any town has to have a balance of retail.

“Every year we have a valuer come up who will spend about an hour to get a flavour of the town. If Spalding town centre is struggling, they will downgrade our investment.”

Chamber chairman Jason Rooke said he was concerned about the “alley” from the town centre to Holland Market being “narrow and uninviting”.

Mr Moran told the meeting if he had the opportunity to buy The Pied Calf and open the area up, he would.

He said: “I have had different agents and different attempts to do that. It’s not something we have met with success yet.”

Mr Moran was also quizzed on Corbo’s intentions for the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field but would only say it would be “mainly retail or leisure”, including “big chains and big names”.

Mr Moran said the firm had committed to put on a free bus for three years to take football supporters from Holland Market to a new site, which would be on the edge of the town, to ensure it remained accessible.

However, Mr Moran refused to confirm the exact location of an open green space for the public to use in the town or how much might be offered in a Section 106 package.

He said the 106 deal was still being negotiated and a new economic marketing fund of at least £100,000 – which was revealed in Tuesday’s Lincolnshire Free Press – was being set up “irrespective” of other decisions.

However, he said aiding existing businesses was “a role for the council”.