Once again Spalding seems to be on the hit list for bad decisions.
Recently we had the market stalls removed on the recommendation of the Portfolio Holder for Place Coun Gambba-Jones on a ‘temporary’ basis at that time.
However, one of the market traders who offered to buy his stall was told stalls will be scrapped so I’m unsure how that is classed as temporary.
Now we face a rise in parking fees. Last year the Portfolio Holder for Place, recommended, what lots of people regarded as a bad decision, an increase in parking fees, then a U-turn was made.
The cemeteries closed until representation from the people forced another U-turn.
Now we have proposals to raise some parking fees again. Hopefully Coun Gambba-Jones will decide this is another bad recommendation.
I know the market traders are doing all they can to encourage new people to come to Spalding, but facing increases in parking fees will not help.
Many traders parked all day in the Broadgate Car Park in Westlode Street for £1 a day and proposals to treble that charge to £3 per day could see people trying to find free roadside parking places.
Similarly, many people from out of town, who have to use their cars to get to work every day, parked at the Broadgate car park in Westlode Street.
The father of one such worker told me an increase from £5 per week to £15 per week is a lot for someone on minimum or young people’s wages, and his daughter will have to look to park elsewhere.
And another proposed rise on the Sheep Market parking price will just drive more people to shop at supermarkets rather than some of our small independent shops.
Several workers have stopped me and asked if we can help.
The COVID-19 problem has given many sleepless nights; they now return to work, many on reduced hours, and will have to pay more for parking all day, it’s disgraceful.
Spalding businesses, retailers and car park users should be rightly upset.
On February 26 this year, the council invited some councillors, various retailers, business owners, representatives from bus companies, Springfields and several local societies and organisations to a meeting at South Holland Centre billed as a Spalding Town Centre Improvement Event.
There was talk there that the council was keen to work with the invitees to produce better outcomes for Spalding.
A future meeting was to be organised to progress the proposals, which has been overtaken by COVID-19.
Some of us who were told we could be part of working groups/steering committee have heard nothing since.
Hopefully, as we try and get some normality back into our lives and staff deal with some of the back log and outstanding issues, discussions regarding Spalding town centre improvements will come to the fore.
Car parking was, and still is, integral to a successful town centre and it would seem sensible to most of us that the Spalding group are invited to review the provision of car parking when doing that important piece of work regarding regeneration and improvements to the town centre at the same time.
I see Boston have done the decent thing and removed the charge for the first 2.5 hours to try and attract people into town to shop, eat and drink. Just a pity we don’t have the foresight to come up with these schemes and help our town regenerate, or at least cope, during this difficult time.
Coun Angela Newton