Hopes of Holbeach seeing new investment to help regenerate the town have suffered a setback after its bid to become a heritage site was turned down.
Town leaders had applied to government body Historic England for Holbeach to become a “Heritage Action Zone” for 2018, putting it in line for six-figure sums of money to bring derelict buildings and historic sites back into use.
But Holbeach was overlooked by Historic England for the accolade as Greater Grimsby was chosen instead as one of eight Heritage Action Zones for the first half of next year.
Coun Nick Worth, Lincolnshire County Council member for Holbeach, said: “I was really disappointed by the decision, particularly because we had been encouraged to put the application in after a very good meeting with Historic England.
“All the indications seemed pretty good but, at the end of the day, it’s a national panel that decides on which places are chosen as Heritage Action Zones and Greater Grimsby has some of the things Historic England wants to fund.”
Had it been successful, Holbeach stood to gain investment similar to the £200,000 injected into Boston by Historic England in 2015 which allowed shop fronts to be renovated and seven buildings to be repaired.
Coun Worth said: “Although Holbeach has missed out on this occasion, Historic England has been in touch with us to arrange a meeting in January to see what other options there might be.
“We now need to regroup because there’s nothing to stop us applying again for Heritage Action Zone status and that’s one of the options we’ll have to consider.
“But whilst I’m disappointed by Historic England’s decision, it’s clearly put a marker on the map for Holbeach.”
A Historic England spokesman said: “We were heartened by the number of applications for the second round of Heritage Action Zones from historic places across the country and competition was strong.
“We are continuing to work with South Holland District Council and hope to assist it with key aspects of their growth strategy for Holbeach in the very near future.”
Meanwhile, the official opening of Holbeach’s Peppermint Junction roundabout is the fulfilment of an aspiration for the town set nine years ago, according to Coun Worth.
Members of Holbeach Parish Council were given the news at their meeting on Monday that the central plank of a £5.4million scheme to unlock housing and employment opportunities in the town had been delivered “two months ahead of schedule”.
Holbeach Parish Plan, a blueprint for the town published in 2008, identified the roundabout as part of a “look at longer-term solutions to traffic congestion on High Street”.
Coun Worth said: “Holbeach Parish Council was involved in producing a parish plan in 2008 and one of the main things in the plan was Peppermint Junction roundabout which opened last Friday.
“After many years of lobbying, I’m really pleased that it has come in two months ahead of schedule and we really hope it will make a difference by reducing the number of HGVs coming through Holbeach unnecessarily.
“It will also make it much safer for road users accessing the A17 from the A151 and, additionally, bring much-needed investment for further infrastructure in the town.
“Additionally, it will open up access to Peppermint Park on one side for new employment and research opportunities and housing on the other side, a wonderful Christmas present for Holbeach.”
Coun Worth added that there was potential for the roundabout itself to be sponsored, although the final decision would rest with Lincolnshire County Council.