Rodney Sadd has had his eyes firmly on the ground over the past week, despairing about street drinking and the associated rubbish in the town centre that “seems to have got worse over the past few days”.
But when the Free Press strolled into town with him on Friday, he couldn’t ignore the dilapidated state of some of the buildings.
He said: “I think landlords are missing a trick here.
“If the empty space above shops was made into executive flats and the fronts renovated it would completely transform the town.
“Some of the buildings are beautiful – I’d live here. I’d like to know what the new town centre manager thinks.”
Town centre manager Dennis Hannant said: “I have had many discussions about this and the cleaning, refurbishment and better use of shops is part of a plan I have for the town that I hope to announce soon.”
However, Coun Gary Porter, leader of South Holland District Council and vice-chairman of the Local Government Association, said: “I’d love to see empty space above shops made into flats.
“It would bring people back into town.
“The problem is the buildings above shops are taxed separately – that’s why people who owns shops are reluctant to do it.
“But the LBA has been trying to lobby the Government on this.”
Regarding the build-up of drink-related rubbish, Community Policing Inspector Jim Tyner said: “This is an area we are already aware of and regularly patrol. The litter linked to street drinking is an issue.
“The council works hard to clear litter from all public places. The problem is that when the beer cans are discarded on private property it is down to the property owners to clear it. Unfortunately, this can mean that people will see the same litter on a daily basis until it is cleared.”