Agenda item

Public Space Use of Spalding Town Centre

Recommendation that the Forum set up a sub-group to discuss and advise on the way forward on public space use of Spalding Town Centre. All Spalding ward members, plus one representative from those groups with an interest in the public use of our town centre would be invited to participate. A town centre ‘user perspective’ will also be sought, as will the involvement of senior officers from key public sector agencies. The recommendations from the sub-group would then be forwarded to Cabinet for their consideration.

 

 

Minutes:

The Assistant Director – Strategic Growth and Development introduced the item and explained that there were several individual aspects and long-standing town centre issues that had to be progressed such as the Traffic Restriction Order, pedestrian access along with the presence of cars and the desire to improve the connection between the high street and the river.

 

They were complex issues intrinsically connected to Lincolnshire County Council highways who owned most of the roads in the town centre. The officer was investigating how SHDC could work on a common plan with LCC to address these issues.

 

It was proposed that a representative group be set up to explore a strategy for the town centre and access as a whole with engagement sought from residents and businesses. The idea of the group was supported by senior officers at LCC Highways. It was hoped that the group’s proposals would be presented to the Transport Board at LCC. This work would sit alongside the improvement plan works which focused on more short-term issues, as the above-mentioned issues were wider ranging and required a more focussed approach with a wider group of partners.

 

Members raised the following points:

 

  • It was noted that there were similar issues in other town centres across the country and there were many different opinions across Spalding relating to what needed to be done in terms of access to the town centre. The group needed to ask the community what they wanted and needed from the town centre.

 

  • The group was a good idea, but the parameters of the town centre needed to be defined. It was a challenge that LCC owned the bulk of the accessible land within the town centre. A town bus that went directly through the town centre would be a real benefit for both residents and businesses and this idea needed to be promoted.

 

  • Market traders were important users of the town centre, and their views in terms of access should be sought.

 

  • It would be a fundamental part of the group’s work to consider the experiences of everyone in the town centre, especially those with mobility issues. There were some relatively minor issues within the town centre, such as uneven paving blocks, that needed to be dealt with as a matter of urgency - process and delivery should be quicker.

 

  • It was suggested that anyone active in the community in respect of the issue of accessibility within the town centre needed to be involved in the group’s work.

 

  • It was vital to collaborate with the steering group on ideas and engage with the public to gain their views.
    • The Chairman confirmed that it was the ambition of the group to have an initial discussion and then to consult with the public to gather their views.

 

  • If the public response was that parking was wanted within the centre, would that be possible?
    • The Chairman suggested that it was not a straightforward answer and the discussion needed to be that broad as no options or ideas should be left off the table. Questions should be asked and then the landscape examined to see how appropriate and suitable the idea was and what would be needed to make it work.

 

  • It could be a good idea to enable the three car parks in town to have 2 hours of free parking.
    • The Chairman noted that there were issues surrounding the management of free car parking hours.

 

  • What was the timescale for the first meeting of the group to be held?
    • The idea would be taken to a future meeting of Cabinet for approval with the first meeting being set up very soon after that with regular meetings to be held thereafter.