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Spalding's South Holland Centre now has a 'better future'



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Senior councillors have agreed a new plan for the South Holland Centre - and vowed to set up a group to make sure it is carried out.

Members of the district council’s cabinet accepted a string of recommendations put forward by a task group set up to look at the centre’s future.

The 27-point plan includes better marketing, making greater use of the venue and generally being more ‘commercial’.

South Holland Centre, Spalding (49289922)
South Holland Centre, Spalding (49289922)

Changes to the staffing structure last year slashed more than £200,000 off the cost of running the centre.

Coun Gary Taylor said the venue was costing the taxpayer £1 million every four years and that this was unsustainable.

He added: “We have secured its future by the decision made last year - the previous situation couldn’t have continued.

“We now need to continue to attract people to attend this venue.

Coun Bryan Alcock, who led the task group, said most of the ideas were ‘stating the obvious’ and there was ‘common ground’ on the broad thrust of what was needed next.

He also highlighted the role the centre plays in the ‘wellbeing’ of the area and hoped the partnership with Boston and East Lindsey could help South Holland tap into new expertise.

Coun Alcock added: “We realise we will not be able to avoid some public purse support but the authority aims to minimise that and in our opinion that should continue to be the aim.”

Coun Peter Coupland highlighted the fact that the venue was mothballed for 18 months due to Covid and that some elements had deteriorated.

He added: “If there’s anything needing doing to that building it will be done whether that’s capital spend or fabric, it will be brought up to scratch.”

Leader Gary Porter said the venue has been a ‘bit of a money pit’ and that members had previously had concerns but thought it was ‘OK’.

He said Covid meant there was a ‘clear full stop’ with the past and has allowed it to restart with a new team and new senior officers, adding: “The building has probably got a better future now than it had five years ago.”

He asked Coun Gary Taylor to form a cabinet task group to look at the recommendations from the task group and ensure they were carried out.

The task group suggests an action plan should be created in two weeks - although Coun Porter urged Coun Taylor to work with officers on that timetable to ensure it was ‘done properly rather than quickly’.

He said: “I don’t want to be failing in a fortnight if we can get success in three weeks.”

Following feedback from the public the opening hours of the centre were increased, including on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Changes to the phone line and website were also flagged as helping to boost the tourist information service.



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