The Forum will receive a presentation from the Town Centre Improvement Plan Co-ordinator and the Community Development Manager to update on the Town Centre Improvement Scheme and Christmas Plans for 2021.
The Forum received a presentation from the Town Centre Improvement Plan Co-ordinator regarding an update on the Spalding Town Centre Improvement Scheme where the following points were highlighted:
· The Town Centre Steering group had been split up into different sub-groups based on five key themes which then reported back to the main group quarterly on progress made:
o Travel, Transport and accessibility – engaging with Lincolnshire County Council to influence the bus investment plan and making a case for investment in Spalding bus services.
o Economy and Skills – partnership running with Boston College to explore how the College’s Spalding Campus could act as a catalyst for driving footfall into Spalding through training, education and skills. The Group were exploring a proposal to increase the space available for businesses start-ups within the Campus and building on the work of the digital skills hub that opened at the Campus in May 2021.
o Events, Culture, Promotion and Awareness Raising – looking at developing the long term events programme for the town to aid footfall and the promotion of the town and district by engaging with visit Lincolnshire.
o Environment, Public Realm and Heritage – conducted an audit identifying areas to improve in the town centre and developing a strategy to prepare for future funding opportunities.
o Business, Markets and Independent Retail – exploring models to bring together small and large businesses to work together to improve their offer to residents and visitors. The group were currently looking at what external advice and support was available, learning from other successful towns.
· The Council had already successfully delivered some improvements to the town centre, including:
o Recovery and Growth programme - £1.06m of grant money had already been approved to support businesses in the District
o Additional marketing of independent businesses across the District
o Town Centre shopper initiative scheme – due to launch in November 2021.
o Reopening of the South Holland Centre
o Recent contract given to capture footfall data in the town.
o Deep clean and refreshment of toilet facilities.
· Pumpkin Celebration would take place on Saturday 9 October 2021 with an extra 27 stalls on the market, a sculpture competition, window dressing competition and a scarecrow competition.
· Christmas Celebration event 2021 would take place over two days in the first weekend of December including a festive food court, light switch on and the nutcracker trail.
The following issues were raised by Members of the Forum:
· Concern was raised at the unhygienic state of the town centre at the present time as there was pigeon mess on the pathways, plants that were in the Hall Place planters needed replacing and the benches in that area also needed cleaning.
o Officers responded that they shared the concerns of Members around the level of pigeon mess in the town and unfortunately the street cleansing team were assisting the refuse team due to a staff shortage.
o Officers confirmed that the Council were looking at getting a private contractor to tackle the worst areas in the town and funding for this was available through the Government’s Welcome Back Fund.
o Officers also confirmed that conversations were ongoing with town centre partners to ensure that solutions were found for this problem.
· Suggested that birds of prey could be nested in the town centre to help with the pigeon problem and that this method had been used successfully by other towns.
· The Transport Forum queried why they had not been included in the Travel and Transport sub-group.
o Officers confirmed that they would have a conversation with the transport forum outside of the meeting and would invite them to the next meeting of the sub-group.
· Concern that the pigeons were being fed purposefully by some residents, could some communications be put out to warn residents not to do this?
o Officers responded that the Environmental Health team has been spoken to regarding the pigeons and clear signage would be put in place within the town centre.
· Would a Christmas Market be taking place this year and what were the dates for the Christmas event?
o Officers confirmed that the Christmas Celebration event would be held on the 3rd and 4th December 2021 and markets would still be held every Saturday leading up to Christmas.
o Officers also stated that originally a four day event had been planned with an external provider but they had unfortunately had to pull out of hosting Spalding’s celebration.
· Where would this year’s town Christmas Tree be coming from?
o Officers confirmed that the tree would be coming from the same provider as last year and would be a 35ft tree.
o Officers were also hoping to increase the number of Christmas lights from last year.