‘Kept in dark’ on retail plans

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COUNCILLORS claim they have been kept in the dark about plans to regenerate Spalding’s Holland Market.

Members of South Holland’s Performance Monitoring Panel met on Monday after requesting a briefing on plans by Holland Market owners Corbo to redevelop the existing retail area as well as the bus station, its car park and the Sir Halley Stewart Field.

A report into progress of the proposal, which is being driven by Corbo’s representative Michael Moran, is due to go to the full council in October, but some members have expressed concern that by that stage it will be too late to have a say on what should or shouldn’t be included.

And chairman Bryan Alcock said: “One of the things members have found it difficult to deal with is that there is obviously a dialogue between the council and the developer but we have to read in the press what the latest move is.

“It seems unfortunate if the Chamber of Trade is more up to date with what’s going on than us because the developer has chosen to consult with them.

“There seems to be a cog missing and that’s keeping members up to speed with where we are, because quite frankly we look foolish when members of the public ask 
us questions.”

And Coun Sally-Ann Slade said the process also needed to work both ways, with members being able to feed back constituents’ views to the developer.

Head of economic development at the council Mark Stanton confirmed the council had first been approached by Mr Moran in early 2010 and that a steering group including portfolio holders, ward councillors and council officers had been set up to negotiate over the possible sale of council assets for the scheme.

He assured members the land, which would be at the core of the new development, would not be transferred to Corbo until planning permission had been passed to ensure the council maintained control.

He said the council had not yet seen the plans for the redevelopment but the process is nearing its final stages with a report expected within six weeks.