FOR the past 43 years, Dave Sinfield has driven his snack van into Grantham’s Market Place and served a flow of customers.
But Thursday drew the end of an era for the central part of town, which has been home to a snack van since 1945, as Dave served his final customer and called it a day.
He blames the looming redevelopment of the Market Place and intolerable trading conditions for his closure, and says Grantham is “dying on its feet”.
Dave said: “Grantham has a bad reputation. You can’t get into town and when you do get into town you can’t find a parking space.
“Grantham’s gone, big time. It’s too late to turn things around now.”
Work to pedestrianise the Market Place is due to start in early June, and Dave believes it is the final nail in the coffin for the town.
He said: “With the pedestrianisation, you’re going to lose parking spaces and businesses here will close.”
The loss of a traffic warden several years also spelled trouble for the Market Place area, said Dave, who is shocked by the changes he has witneessed from his spot in the snack van.
He said: “You used to see people parking their cars here then coming back with a bag with Burton on it, a green bag from Marks & Spencer and a blue bag from WH Smith.
Then they’d get in their car and drive off and another car would park up. Now cars are parked here all day and there’s no-one shopping.”
A disgruntled customer told the Journal: “It’s despicable - save the van.
“It’s going to be a ghost town the way it’s going. Small businesses are being forced away, it’s wrong.”
Lincolnshire County Council’s highways manager Mark Heaton said Dave was offered an alternative location but chose instead to retire, coinciding with the expiration of his licence.
He added: “The market place improvement scheme has been designed to make the area more attractive for people to visit, helping it to thrive for traders and we are confident that they will benefit from the enhancements.
“Naturally some physical changes are necessary to make this happen and we understand that SKDC’s licensing team met with Mr Sinfield on a number of occasions and discussed alternative locations for his business close by.”
Dave will continue to trade on the Saturday market.
l Are you sad to see Dave go? What do you think to the pedestrianisation plans? E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, text or write in to us.