It’s not very often that I get a bit hot under the collar about things or enough so as to drive me to put pen to paper.
But having attended Spalding’s Christmas market, I feel I had to respond to say how utterly disappointing the event proved to be.
All the pre-event hype made it appear very promising but, on arrival, it looked an absolute shambles – almost akin to the Calais jungle for want of a better description.
As a customer, you were presented with a few sporadic stalls and a complete lack of festive spirit that the event purported to express.
It was so unbelievably awful.
There were a couple of stalls and a fish and chip van in the main Market Place, a few stalls in Hall Place, and a sort of go-kart track on Sheep Market
Who on earth planned the layout?
One must commend the actual stallholders who did attend as they did not know what they were coming to.
A recent article in the Lincolnshire Free Press quoted the Spalding and District Chamber of Commerce being disappointed about the large numbers of independent traders who didn’t open up their shops.
Could it be, however, that they had an inner forewarning of the event and voted with their feet to remain shut?
After all, they have staff to pay whatever the outcome of the day and it was a pretty wise move in the end.
With many traders set to open on Sundays in the run-up to Christmas, they are not there for the fun of it as they have staff and bills to pay and have to balance the books at the end of the day.
Unfortunately, this sad episode cannot be taken in isolation and it would seem that Spalding town centre is struggling to keep its head above water against competition from every conceivable commercial angle - the internet in particular.
Meanwhile, out-of-town centres like Springfields Outley Shopping are absolutely heaving.
We were once led to believe that this particular development would enhance town centre trading but further afar, places like Peterborough and Lincoln seem to have no trouble drawing in shoppers.
Spalding’s Christmas market will have done the town no favours whatsoever and the town needs to be revitalised pretty quickly.
We have seen previous suggestions of a town improvement scheme and a detailed review of the ever-increasing problem of traffic and its associated problems.
But all these suggestions seem to end up in the “blue beyond”, nothing gets done and we continue to lurch into a steep decline.
We need some forward thinking to revitalise a town that once stood proud and revered as there are lots of people who are trying in their own small way to address the problem.
But we need people in authority to step up to the plate and try to make things better for the town.
Could I just conclude my observations by noting the comments of Councillor Roger Gambba-Jones who tweeted: “Before anybody gets their pens out, drop a line to the local press and not to South Holland District Council.”
Surely this is an admittance that he is also of the mind that the Christmas market was sadly lacking and that he wants to avoid the matter.
In reality, he should be getting involved in a bid to make things better for future events.
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