Number of alcohol licence applications becoming a problem

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THE Chamber made a positive start to the year with a good turnout to our meeting on January 10.

The most emotive subject discussed was the number of licences to sell alcohol being granted by South Holland District Council, especially in the Westlode Street, New Road and Pinchbeck Road areas.

While it’s positive to see new shops opening (empty retail premises are no good for the town at all), there are well-founded concerns regarding anti-social behaviour encouraged by the already massive availability of alcohol.

With two more licence applications in at the moment, the Chamber is proactively liaising with council planning and licensing departments to try to ensure the problem doesn’t become even worse.

On a more positive note we’re making good progress with our efforts to improve transport links between the town centre and Springfields.

The idea is to have a more regular bus service that drops off in town near the water taxi embarkation point on Double Street.

With Springfields attracting around two million visitors every year, we feel there is significant potential to increase footfall in the town centre by improving the convenience of transport between the two locations.

Norfolk Green, the bus company that already operates services between Springfields and the town centre, executed a successful test of the route in December and all parties concerned (Lincolnshire County Council highways department, the district council, Hills department store (who may kindly allow some of their land to be used for the bus stop, etc) are enthusiastic about the project’s potential.

There’s still a fair way to go, but it’s looking good so far.

We’re also in discussion with the district council regarding Spalding’s Christmas lights.

Presently these are funded and managed by SHDC, but there are feelings that an organisation such as ours could perhaps get better value from the budget than is being received at present.

This is a potentially difficult issue, as the present lights are old and bordering on unsustainable. However, we are investigating potential sources of funding for new LED lights and feel there may be potential to greatly improve on what we have at present. We’ll keep you informed as discussions progress.

We’ve now set the date for our next Speed Networking event – April 19, so please put it in your diary.

Members and non-members are welcome to attend this free evening which is a great opportunity to meet new business contacts.

Further details are on our website: www.spaldingareachamber.co.uk along with other events and news and of course details on becoming a member of our Chamber. Membership brings many benefits and costs from as little as £65, which represents incredible value for money.

Look out for our feature in the Spalding Guardian on February 23, where we will have our next batch of great value money-saving vouchers.