STRAIGHT TALK: Town needs Red Lion Quarter to work

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SPALDING’S Red Lion Quarter is in a bit of trouble.

SPALDING’S Red Lion Quarter is in a bit of trouble.

There’s no point denying it – the town’s showpiece centre hasn’t worked so far and it’s clear that, with the food court losing money and no shop units let, that some serious work must be done to turn its fortunes around.

It’s pretty important for us all that the work the board of directors is doing is successful.

As one town trader wisely put it the £6.5million investment for the Red Lion Quarter was like winning the lottery for the town. After all, in the middle of a recession, most towns would kill for that type of money to boost their fortunes.

It’s so important that we don’t fritter away those winnings.

So far we’ve got a lovely new building in the middle of town and we need to figure out how to use it properly.

There’s some nice little gems on sale at the food court but it needs a tinker to work for the tastes and needs of the town. I’ve not yet eaten at the Sage, but I can’t help feeling that would have been even better on the top floor with a view out over the town.

The arrival of the students will soon give the centre the perfect chance to relaunch, although it still needs to be more than just a college.

Hopefully the board can make it work and give our economy the boost we needed.

• I’m sure most journalists will tell you that they have been appalled to read the alleged antics of the News of the World that have made headlines this week.

The phone tapping story was a scandal in its own right, but the fact that Milly Dowler and victims of the London 7/7 bombings are believed to have had their phones hacked in a bid to get juicier stories will prompt much wider outrage, and rightly so.

The practices described really are a million miles away from those of this and other local newspaper offices up and down the country and it looks like the suggestion of underhand practices will hit them hard in the pocket, with advertisers queuing up to pull their support.

It would be a shame if the result of this scandal will be for politicians to put much stricter limits on what can be reported in the press but I fear it will.

The alleged actions of some could spoil the freedoms for us all and I think we’d be worse off with a press that isn’t so free.

Still, when you get awful cases such as this you can understand why the calls for tighter regulations will get louder.