Vicar in appeal to tidy up a ‘jewel’

The derelict Bull and Monkie site in Spalding. ANL-140218-161805001
The derelict Bull and Monkie site in Spalding. ANL-140218-161805001
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Vandalism at a church hall in Spalding have led to an appeal for the area to be regenerated.

A trail of blood was left behind outside St Nicolas Church Hall, The Vista, where windows were smashed, kettles stolen and damage done to the hall overnight on Friday.

Police are treating it as criminal damage but Rev John Bennett, vicar of St Mary and St Nicolas Church, fears there will be more incidents unless the area is completely redeveloped.

Mr Bennett said: “There have been so many incidents over recent months and I think the area around the hall needs to be addressed.

“Part of my concern is that as long as we continue to have a derelict site at the Bull and Monkie pub, people on drink and drugs will be attracted to the area around the hall.

“But there’s a bigger issue than just minor vandalism and that is allowing a very significant part of Spalding to fall into dereliction.

“The Bull and Monkie site could be turned into something very attractive in that part of the town and this may be something the new town centre manager could look at.”

Mr Bennett went into more details in a letter published in our sister paper, the Lincolnshire Free Press, on Tuesday.

“The town has an opportunity to work with an imaginative developer to produce a scheme that could transform the area between Ayscoughfee Hall, St Mary and St Nicolas Church, the Crystal Inn and the White Horse into a thriving centre for visitors.

“Spalding needs to make the most of its unique assets, so I trust the opportunity will not be missed to provide a new setting for some of the town’s jewels.”

The Bull and Monkie was one of six “depressing eyesores” in Spalding included in a special report in the Guardian last June.

Plans for the pub to be turned into a care home had been revealed in March 2009 after the site was bought for £650,000 by British Virgin Islands firm Crispen Holdings.

David Jones of Spalding and District Civic Society said: “This area is one of several parts of the town where nothing very particular seems to be happening.

“I would love to see somebody using that site but I can’t imagine where the money would come from.”