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Letters to the Free Press editor – October 13, 2020

It’s time to rest with your pipe and slippers

I and many others are saddened by the closure of Hills Department Store, along with the loss of many other long established shops in Spalding.

I know that the COVID-19 epidemic has played a large part in this, but I feel that the majority of the blame lies with South Holland District Council.

They are now saying that they intend to “revitalise” the town centre. That thought fills me with dread as to what they might do next.

May I suggest that our council big wigs get off their backsides, leave their plush ivory tower and take a walk around Spalding.

Instead of looking at what they claim to have achieved, just take in the reality of the many grot spots, litter-strewn streets, empty shops, abandoned buildings, etc.

How do you expect to attract new people to live in such a dirty, neglected place as this?

I note that the self proclaimed “favourite whipping boy” is upset about certain comments directed at him and the council, but what else does he expect?

He is the portfolio holder for place, but why oh why does that place have to be Spalding. He, and others, appear to be doing their best to kill off what used to be a very pleasant little market town.

The increased parking charges and the dreadful treatment of the market traders will do nothing to enhance their planned rejuvenation.

May I suggest, Coun Gamba-Jones, that enough is enough. It is now time for your pipe and slippers, and a well earned rest many miles away from what is left of our once-proud little town.

John Batterham

via email

John Elson's Lincolnshire Free Press cartoon. (42653156)
John Elson's Lincolnshire Free Press cartoon. (42653156)

Sheep Market could be a gateway into our town

As a follow up from my recent concerns regarding the failed initiatives and lack of funding for Spalding town centre.

I would like to put forward some proposals for the Improvement Plan Steering Committee and in particular the newly appointed portfolio holder for growth and regeneration, Coun Harry Drury.

The importance of healthy vibrant town centres has been highlighted recently due to the visible effect of vacant shops, decline in market activity, and a perception among most people that towns are not providing them with all the services they want.

Town centres, and those local authorities who operate and manage them, are also having to adapt to rapid challenging budgetary constraints because of massive cuts in funding from central government and the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis that has been having an impact on all of us.

But we still need to rebuild business confidence, have good levels of local community spirit, which I think we have, build on an evening economy, good levels of visitor offer, a good mix of local markets that encourage the footfall for other local business in the town and solve the parking issues in and around our towns.

We also need good levels of partnership between the public and local authorities to address our weaknesses, but build on what is best practice for others and where we can utilize what we have.

With limited funding for the Improvement Plan Project for Spalding and Holbeach, where would I start to try and regenerate our market towns?

I would start with the Sheep Market, as this area is normally busy with people looking for something that maybe not there, say on a Sunday.

Let’s look at the toilet facility in the Sheep Market, currently closed and in need of a very costly refurbishment. We have a choice, demolish the building and open up the Sheep Market as a gateway into the town centre or utilize the building and use it for something else entirely different.

Open up and extend the market area and have more outdoor facilities such as tables and chairs in areas near cafe outlets etc. This could link in to encourage more street entertainment of various levels.

Of course this would be a stand alone project, but would be a foundation for the regeneration of our lovely market town in the heart of Lincolnshire.

The town where I was born and I will continue to campaign for with passion for as long as it takes.

Stay safe everyone.

Rodney Sadd


Sally Giddens took this lovely photo of "Sally Giddens April and Alice enjoying a stroll in the woods". (42641127)
Sally Giddens took this lovely photo of "Sally Giddens April and Alice enjoying a stroll in the woods". (42641127)

Do we have the clout to demand they comply?

Mr Redden outlines the problems of the area’s horticultural agricultural industry (Letters, September 29).

Profit margins are tight, production and employment costs are rising and the availablity of labour is likely to get worse.

Climatic weather fluctuations are the most significant influences that determine the quantity and quality of the selling price when crops are harvested and marketed.

Farming output and farming incomes have always fluctuated.

With good harvests, supply exceeds demand and farm incomes fall. When harvests are poor, demand exceeds supply and farm incomes rise.

Technical improvements in preserving vegetable and animal food sources have created global markets for food products, bringing some certainty and stability into food prices.

The problem is production costs are not globally uniform and low cost producers can ship their products to distant markets and sell them at competitive prices

From the 1870’s to 1914, Britain championed free trade, depressing Britain’s agricultural industry.

WW1 demonstrated that maximising self sufficiency in food production was a strategic necessity.

Tariffs on imported food products created a protected domestic agricultural market.

Across the EU 27, agriculture is a larger contributor to nation annual income than in Britain.Collectively the EU, in addition to tariffs, imposes quality imported foodstuff and animal husbandry products imported into Britain which must comply with.

Post Brexit Britain , a champion of free trade, will propose tariffs and food protection regulations and animal husbandry standards to protect Britain’s agricultural industry.

Does Britain have sufficient clout to demand that imported food products must comply with British production standards?

Mr Redden’s business produces flowers. The EU has free trade agreements with 40 emerging economies including Kenya, most of which have been rolled over into trade deals with Britain.

These trade deals are asymmetric.Their exports into Britain are tariff free , British exports to them are subject to tariffs.

In Kenya, the Rift Valley has no seasonal variation in climate, fertile soil, reliable rainfall and motivated workers. The cut flowers we British like to buy grow well and can be cut, graded, packaged chilled and air freighted into British or Dutch markets within 36 hours.

Paul Walls

via email

They can’t even be bothered to reply to us

My partner and I relocated to Spalding a month ago from a vibrant area in Essex.

My partner has applied for several positions since arriving here, but to date with no job offers.

After working for Alliance Boots PLC for the last 15 years at their major Lakeside Thurrock store where she was involved heavily in every aspect of retail and customer service, we both find it very difficult to understand why companies in this local area fail to reply to applications.

Prior to relocating here, Travelodge have been advertising for staff for the last two months and my partner has presented herself to the company in person and handed over
a CV.

Subway have been looking for staff for several weeks, again a CV presented, but nothing in reply.

Joules, Cotton Traders, Aldi, Lidl, Wilko, Morrisons, WH Smith, Argos, plus several others have been seen to have vacancies but they never reply.

It certainly speaks volumes about companies in this area, who lack professionalism and communication skills.

One cheeky company even called my partner for a job as a carer, gave a telephone interview, confirmed after one hour’s conversation that she would be accepted for a position and a lady would call back regarding a training course.

Well, here we are one-and-a-half weeks later and no call or offer of a training course.

There seems to be a waste of time website called Indeed who advertise jobs from everything from a washer woman to an astronaut, but again a useless website who advertise the same positions time after time, but lack in support.

What is the problem with employers in this area?

Are they just damn right rude, ignorant and arrogant and have no real intentions of employing anyone other than people with a local or eastern European accent?

Maybe London born and bred people are just too energetic for the slow pace of life here.

Colin Ayres


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