NOTE: No other business is permitted unless by reason of special circumstances, which shall be specified in the minutes, the Chairman is of the opinion that the item(s) should be considered as a matter of urgency.
Gavin Allmand representing Spalding Town Retailers Association tabled a note giving members a background of the Association, which led to discussions in the room about the position of town centre trading. A letter had recently been sent to councillors post resignation of the town centre manager. Retailers clearly concerned about town centre. Trade hard and reduced footfall. Address issues – town is being pushed down route for another bid – businesses remain sceptical over bid for town centre. Town retailers didn’t support bid at this time. Lord Porter wrote back informing money wouldn’t be spent without approval of cabinet. Section 106 funding was awarded to fund town centre manager for 3 years and as he didn’t last 3 years in post retailers would like the unspent money to be repatriated to council to be held for specific projects to maintain town centre. Need to work together and find solution and cut through red tape. Need to encourage businesses to come into town not Springfields. Councillor Drury was a member of chamber of commerce from 2009-2015 and responsible for liasing these points . He agreed that a group needs to drive this forward, people need to get up and do something – volunteers that will benefit from it and have time to do it. Funding in a constituted manner - red tape is the law not put there to cause issues.
Local plan mentioned by Councillor Gammba Jones – Springfields have proven that insufficient space in Spalding for retail expansion until 2036. They have taken the time to put forward retail issues. Town retailers have missed that opportunity. Section 106 money is a legal agreement between SHDC and applicant – for use on a specific purpose/purposes. Cannot be used for any other purpose without agreement of applicant. So money referred to earlier will be returned. If applicant requests money to be returned to them – that is within their legal remit. Cannot be put in general fund and spread around. Its there for town centre promotion.
Councillor Williams – agreed with STRA first time round. He doesn’t agree with car parking in town, cars and bikes used that when it is closed off for pedestrianisation . Bid – against it first time – because of austerity councils and police not able to do things should be able to do. First time bid was looking at street wardens and people to clean streets – majority of people felt that this should be done by council in the first place therefore didn’t agree with the bid.
George Scott from Transport Forum said that extra trains were run on Saturdays and Sundays over the Christmas period – improved customer footfall so proved it works. Who will put this forward to make extra journeys to encourage people to come into town?
George Aley – agreed do need to have vibrant town and increase footfall. Not sure how to do it, isn’t any single body that has authorisation to do things, does this give rise for a Town Council?
Councillor Lawton sells Spalding to everyone she sees – doesn’t go to Bourne and Peterborough as Spalding is a vibrant town.
Sue Stubley claimed independent retailers are on life support, can’t compete with Springfields - not on cleanliness side or big named businesses that youngsters want. Have a fabulous food contingent in town – should encourage people into town, maybe by bus.
Councillor Taylor posed the questions – why do shoppers go to Springfields as opposed to town. Why don’t they go further down Bridge street? Suggested that the town centre could open in evening during August? Stop competing and work together to find solution.
Councillor Drury – Section 106 money – unpaid people to put plan together for good of retailers that went towards employing someone with the best of intentions. Bid – don’t know how someone could say they didn’t support it if doesn’t know what is involved. Car parking is cheap in Spalding compared to other towns and cities in the area. Liked the idea of shops opening different times when people not at work.
Councillor Dark - Town centre manager was suggested by this Forum. 106 money could be used to fund bus from Springfields into town to encourage people to shop in town centre. Could approach coach companies and have an experimental year. Could utilise the space outside Boots and maybe have a live band?
Councillor Williams mentioned Bruce Wakeling and how successful he was and he was for the trades people not SHDC.
Tried through Chamber of Commerce to get a bus to take people from Springfields to town. Sourced one for £30k, but Norfolk Green were not keen so the plan didn’t go ahead. Was going to be bus stop outside the back of Hills, but not enough money to build bus stop so all fell through.
Councillor Sneath agreed busses into town are very important. As a County Councillor, bus companies cannot just alter their routes. Buses do it in Boston, so why cant we in Spalding? Councillor Gambba Jones commented that the public don’t like routes changing as it could affect where they are picked up. Water taxi was raised for that issue but it is not used enough.Gavin Allmand agreed that need to get people involved who fundamentally can achieve things that haven’t happened before. The bus stop didn’t happen because bus companies refused to change routes. Actual costs of bus stop were £3k. Get businesses to come into town not retail park. Names taken down that would be interested in attending STRA to go to their meetings – current chair is Darren Sutton owner of bookmark/charmed interiors. Interested members – McLean; Aley; Sneath; Drury; Williams; Ashby, Bambba Jones and also Roger Perkins. Once date and time set email out to Councillors.