Paul Foyster’s 10 point-plan for Holbeach (March 28 Free Press) is in the main the remit of the Parish Council of which he is a senior councillor. Seems like the ball is in his court...
Paul downplays grand schemes such as Peppermint Junction, the Food Enterprise Zone and the prospect of making Holbeach a Heritage Action Zone and the funding that brings with it.
The role of a county councillor is much more strategic than the hands on role of a parish councillor and can help to bring in serious investment for town centre regeneration, but usually does take a while to achieve. Heritage Lottery have a specific town centre Regeneration scheme with amounts from £100,000 to £2million available to apply for. Why wouldn’t you want to be ambitious and go for it – I certainly will.
However, it is possible to have an immediate impact and as an example I am willing to put in £2,000 immediately from my member budget, which I would hope would be matched by other district councillors for Holbeach, to set up a grant fund, administered by the Parish Council, to improve shop fronts in the town to make it more attractive to businesses and shoppers.
If the Parish Council were to put some funding in as well, along with money from the town’s business forum, a fund of around £10-15,000 could make a real difference to the look of the town. This could be matched with funding from the shop owners as well. This would compliment the excellent work of Holbeach in Bloom with their fabulous flower displays throughout the town.
On the market issue, while some may not like where the market is situated in Boston Road Car park, the district council have always been clear that if the Parish Council want to take on the market and thereby put it back in the High Street, then they only have to ask. As to having free parking all day, as we know from the past, all that will achieve is to fill it with shop workers, leaving nowhere for shoppers to park.
Grabbing 106 money, as Paul puts it, is not quite so easy, as the legal agreements set out quite specifically, what the money is to be spent on. In a earlier letter Paul mentioned that the new homes proposed for Holbeach would swamp education, health care, parking, and a crumbling infrastructure. Not true! The Manor Farm development will provide specifically for education in the form of a new primary school (£2,159,920), £1m for new infrastructure (Peppermint junction Roundabout), £150,000 for improvements to the traffic signals and pedestrian crossings in the centre of town and £290,000 for improvements to the Call Connect bus service in the town, plus £40,000 for a new bus. This money will be not be available for at least two years, more likely four, so any thoughts of buying shops for pop-ups are a long way off.
Section 106 agreements for the housing development to the west of Holbeach include £1,593,410 for primary school places, £2,271,687 for secondary places, £480,720 for sixth form places. A further £288,000 towards new health care facilities, £720,000 of highways and an amount still to be determined for town centre regeneration.
Paul doesn’t think the University has done much for the town. Maybe he is not aware that on average there are around 30 people a week from the University who use our
local bed and breakfast
facilities in and around the town. This brings money into the town for the benefit of our local businesses. Our young people now have the fabulous opportunity to progress through the academy with a direct route into University or go through the apprenticeship route to local jobs. Long may it prosper!