SECTION 106 MONEY: Best way is a town centre manager

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As a business owner, Chamber of Commerce member and Shop Watch board member in Spalding, I was surprised and disappointed to read of the decision made at a recent South Holland District Council Cabinet meeting regarding the S106 ‘pot’.

I have read the ‘bids’ as shown on the council web pages at length to try to understand why the ‘bid’ by Chamber was rated so low.

I have not come to a conclusion at all. My understanding of the S106 money is that it should be used for a favoured project to offset any impact from the Springfields development.

As a retailer in the town for many years – our business was established in 1862 – I for one have only seen the negative impact which Springfields has had on retailers in the town. We have lost many retailers since its opening including some national names and the only retailers we appear to attract are the EU mini markets, which have their place but do not really bring alot to the whole shopping experience. We are seeing many coffee shops being allowed to open but I argue that if we do not have more to offer in the way of retail, markets and entertainment, these coffee houses will soon be in decline too.

If any project can help to revitalise the town the only option is for the employment of a Town Centre Manager. He/she would bring the town together as a whole, working with organisations such as Chamber, The Town Forum, Spalding in Bloom and the Crescent Traders Association, and maybe in time help that link between the town centre and Springfields.

We need someone in a position to help attract business growth in the town centre because at the moment we are seen by many as the ‘off shoot of Springfields’.

As much as I think the water taxi has brought something new into the town, it takes more people to Springfields than to the town. I was told by the pilots recently that they were expecting a 40 pre-booked charter to arrive any minute. They were being dropped off by coach at the moorings to be taken to Springfeilds where they would be collected by their coach! How does this help the town centre?

Those who venture into town need more than is on offer at the moment. It is about time for someone to actually talk to ‘the man on the street’ who will give you the honest opinion of Spalding, which sadly is not good listening.

I talk and listen to many people and it would be really nice to hear some form of positive for a change.

A bandstand in Ayscoughfee – lovely but some of us are old enough to remember what happened to the last one and what will this really bring for the whole town? This could come in time, but why not in the town centre itself?

A marketing campaign suggested by Springfields – why should they even get a chance to claim some of their own money back? Also why has it only just come to light that in the agreement of many years ago, that Springfields had a clause written in that the money should be used to promote them as well?

Community studio, refurbish the aviary at Ayscoughfee – how do these benefit all?

The best way forward for Spalding is for the employment of a town centre manager with provision made from the S106 money which was to be used for a favoured project to offset any impact from the Springfields development. None of the other projects come under this heading.

Julie Grant