Spalding businesses urged to be like Louth with its French atmosphere
A continental culture of outdoor food and drink could help Spalding to recover from the pandemic, according to a councillor.
The town centre has a number of prominent empty stores - including the former Beales department store - and traders have been forced to close as a result of Covid lockdowns.
Now Coun Rodney Grocock is calling on retailers to seize the chance for a new start - and wants to raise awareness of ‘pavement licences’.
These are what traders need to sell in the street - and are currently free to obtain from Lincolnshire County Council.
It’s thought that they could particularly help cafes and restaurants who cannot sell inside their shops - or who have their space drastically reduced to comply with Covid measures.
Coun Grocock said: “I am aware that there’s a couple of pavement licences granted in Spalding - and I don’t know of any that have been refused.
“The council wants people to be able to get back to some sort of normal and if the new normal means granted pavement licences then so be it - I’m all in favour.
“The pandemic is not over yet it is getting a hell of a lot better - people are starting to get that ‘get up and go’ feeling. If they are going out then we want them to spend their money locally.”
He believes that the licences won’t just be good for traders - but could also help boost the image of Spalding and attract people back to the town.
Coin Grocock said: “I think everybody would love us to be a Louth - it’s full of independent shops and they have this French atmosphere of eating outside and all of that - it’s lovely.
“That’s a culture that would be wonderful for South Holland.
“We have lost some big shops - but thank God we’ve got one back with Coneys (Hills).
“Hopefully we can do everything we can to help independent traders. We have got to get this town vibrant, we’ve got to get it all singing and dancing again. It’s difficult to do in a pandemic.”
He added that the licences might also be an opportunity for shops in Donington, Holbeach, Long Sutton or any of the villages in the district too.
Lincolnshire County Council was unable to confirm which business had been granted a pavement licence in Spalding - however, the Red Lion Hotel, in Market Place, and micropub Prior’s Oven, in Sheep Market, have both recently reopened with outdoor seating for customers.
The council said new applicants should visit https://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/licences-permits/apply-street-cafe-stall-licence for details.