Spalding’s night-time economy to get own forum

A Spalding nightclub owner is taking the lead in making the town’s nightlife “stronger and more vibrant”.

Matt Clark, who owns Loaded as well as Bounce Bar and Alleycatz bowling alley, is looking to set up a forum for businesses such as takeaways, taxi firms, hotels, bars, pubs and restaurants to have a voice and challenge issues which affect them.

He has now written to more than 100 businesses, asking them to complete a short survey and inviting them to the first forum meeting today at Bounce Sports Bar, off Westlode Street, Spalding, at 6pm.

Mr Clark said: “Until now there has been a very obvious voice for retail at the business forums already held in Spalding.

“However, I believe that it is about time that the evening economy has a voice of its own.

“The idea of the forum is to have an industry focused meeting quarterly, giving the businesses that atttend the opportunity to funnel their issues and views to the local authority and trade bodies, as well as working together to develop a stronger and more vibrant evening economy.

“I also want to ensure that the evening economy has a strong input into any remit that a new town centre manager would deliver for the town.

The role of town centre manager is currently being advertised and interviews will be held next month.

Businesses in the town are also meeting today to put forward their views on what should be the priorities for whoever is appointed to the role.

Funding for the £26,000-a-year position has come from section 106 money provided for the benefit of the town when Springfields Outlet Shopping complex was built.

Mr Clark said the night-time scene made a substantial contribution to the town’s overall economy through taxes, particularly business rates, and employment.

He added: “Therefore, I believe we should be standing up to be counted and ensure that as a group we are doing all that we can to protect and enhance the sector.

“While I hope that there are issues that we can challenge as a group, it is imperative that any group resists apathy and delivers positive outcomes.

“We cannot just become a talking shop, commenting that someone else should be doing it for us.

“It will be our job to encourage others to help where they can.”

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