First Town Centre Regeneration Steering Group Meeting

John Bland, Chair of the Society gives his thoughts on the first town centre regeneration Steering Group Meeting.

REGENERATION. It is going to be an increasingly important topic of conversation in the Spalding area over the coming months.

High Streets across the country are facing significant challenges and change as a direct result of Covid-19. There can be no more important a moment to start the work of regenerating our town than now.
I am sure that everyone will welcome the news that the Town Centre Regeneration Steering Group held its first meeting towards the end of last month. I was pleased to represent the Society at that meeting, held via a Zoom teleconference call, and it’s good to be able to report how positive it was amongst those present, and how everyone recognised the importance of giving some new life to the town.
The meeting was attended by district and county council officers, councillors, representatives from business groups, town traders, market traders, art and cultural groups, health & wellbeing groups and transport providers.
Over the 90 minutes a wide range of ideas was put forward, such as holding more outdoor events, reinvigorating the market, exploring free parking, improving signs and information boards, addressing the challenge posed by empty shops, the provision of a bus into the town, improved marketing of the town and making it a more attractive place to be in.
In particular, it was pleasing to hear that Sir John Hayes had recently invited the director of the Prince’s Trust to Spalding, who was impresssed by a lot of our architecture and the setting of the river. This was good to hear, as it reinforced one of the key parts of a paper that we prepared for the meeting, which highlighted the need to improve the appearance of many of the buildings in the town centre; not just at ground level, but over the whole frontages. 



All contributions made were intended to provide positive solutions to the immediate challenges arising from the knock-on effects of Covid-19 on our economy, but also to offer long-term gains to the town centre. Whilst the details are to be discussed at future meetings, there seemed to be agreement that there are plenty of small changes that can be made fairly quickly, which collectively can lead to a big change in what people feel about the town.
Spalding is our town. It was not built by a Council; it has been evolved over many centuries by those who lived here. Now it is our turn to take the town forward to the next steps in its history. I hope that a wide range of local organisations, businesses and individuals will all play a part in making Spalding a better place in which to live, shop, work and socialise, so that we can all pass on to the next generation a better town than it is now.


We, as a Society and as a member of Civic Voice, the national charity for the Civic Movement that seeks to make places more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive, must make the most of the opportunity of contributing to the work of delivering a town in which we can all feel pride.


As these meetings are expected to be monthly, the Society will be providing updates on how we feel that the discussions are proceeding and we will be sharing our thoughts, and our input to the discussion via our website, and we will of course update you in future newsletters


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