PROPOSALS to redevelop Spalding’s Holland Market are a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to put right previous wrongs, according to South Holland District Council leader Gary Porter.
Mr Porter made the claims in a statement to the Spalding Guardian prompted by residents’ repeated calls for the council to reveal its plans for the retail area.
The site’s owner Corbo has revealed snippets of what it has planned for the edge of town site, which could include new development on the existing bus station and Sir Halley Stewart Field as well as the retail areas on both sides of Winfrey Avenue currently occupied by stores including Wilkinsons, Brantano, Halfords, Argos, Carphone Warehouse, B&Q and Marks and Spencer.
Mr Porter confirmed negotiations are still ongoing between Corbo representative Michael Moran and the council, but said: “To those people who have said that the council should put its plans on the table, I would like to say that we can’t because we don’t have any.”
He added that many aspects of the proposals are governed by the need for confidentiality, both on behalf of the developers and to protect the interests of local taxpayers.
Mr Porter said: “I can confirm that we are looking at the potential of major redevelopment of this area and do have what I consider to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to put right some of the major mistakes that previous administrations had allowed to happen, both in terms of the physical layout of the existing shops and the loss of the public open space.
“The council is in a good position with this development as we do not only have the planning system to help us we are also major landowners and will not give up this land unless the package of benefits to South Holland is significant.”
But he warned that the council would be powerless to stop another supermarket being built on the site because planning permission was granted as part of the original Holland Market scheme.
He said: “I hope the council’s negotiations with this developer and the other owners of the other bits of the jigsaw are legally secure soon so that we can be more open about what is potentially on offer.
“But I want to make it clear there is no done deal. Whilst negotiations have been going on and are getting closer to a position where they can receive a positive recommendation they are not there yet.”