Grantham businesses believe Westgate is a real ‘credit’ to the town

Westgate has re-opened to traffic this week - but will be closed for the final day of the Gravity Fields Festival on September 28 from 6am until 11pm.
Westgate has re-opened to traffic this week - but will be closed for the final day of the Gravity Fields Festival on September 28 from 6am until 11pm.

WORK on Wide Westgate was completed this week with the majority of businesses the Journal spoke to pleased with the new look.

The work has seen new pavements and parking areas, road resurfacing, three raised crossing points for pedestrians, a new zebra crossing, three new disabled parking bays and the lowering of the speed limit to 20mph.

Lincolnshire County Council aimed to complete the work before the beginning of the Gravity Fields Festival, which kicks off this weekend.

County council leader Coun Martin Hill said: “We always aimed to finish the improvements in time for the Gravity Fields Festival and we’re delighted that people will be able to enjoy the town at its best.

“We’ve had a lot of positive comments, particularly about the use of the Yorkstone stone, which looks impressive.”

The Journal took to Westgate yesterday (Thursday) to find out what businesses make of the changes...

* Richard Watkin, of Watkins, said: “I think it’s lovely. It’s a credit to the town.”

* Brian Towsey, of the Barber Shop, said: “I think it’s brilliant.

“The work itself really affected us, although it did get better as the weeks went by.

“But they have really done a good job. The workers have not skimped anywhere, they have not bodged anywhere. It’s really neat.”

* Andrea Buckley, of Buckley Wand estate agents, said: “Aesthetically, it looks more pleasing on the eye. It looks more like a historic market town now.

“We’re very positive about it and happy there is still a reasonable amount of parking.”

* Paul Meakin, of Cafe Leo, said: “I think it looks a lot better out there now. We have not lost too many parking spaces and the crossing has been needed. It was dangerous before.

“I’m looking forward to them putting some trees in as well. Overall, it was worth doing.”

* Pat Joyce, of Glen-Esk Flowers, said: “It’s better. It looks more modern and clean.

“There is more parking than we thought there would be and they are going to bring more trees in as well, we believe.

“What we’d like to see now is the council offer more incentives to get shoppers back to Grantham such as one-day-a-week free parking.”

* Dawn Robinson, of Yeomans, said: “We were quite surprised because the work didn’t affect us much.

“A good thing about it is the zebra crossing which helps people get access.

“I like it. It makes the town look a bit posher.”

* Mr Zengin, of Delight Coffee, said: “I think it looks better but it’s a little bit too soon to tell.

“It would be nice to have some more trees but I think it’s better than before.”

* Chris Scott, of Scott’s Gents Hairdresser, said: “It looks a lot nicer and a lot fresher. The appearance is an improvement.

“I can’t see it making a difference to footfall but it does look a hell of a lot nicer.”

* Kevin Gwyther, of Grantham Taxis, said: “It looks very nice, I’ll give them that, but they have done away with a lot of parking spaces, forcing people into pay and display car parks.

“We’ve not experienced any problems yet, but wait until the traffic wardens come in.”

* Ged McKnight, of Fellows Cafe, said: “It looks nice but it’s not very practical.

“One of the major problems is you get delivery wagons coming down and they block up the road.

“But it’s nice having the zebra crossing there and it’s nice the amount of area given over to disabled parking. Hopefully, when the trees get planted it will look even better.”

* Tina Gee, of A&P Carpets, said they are already seeing a lot of vans and lorries parking directly outside the shop, riding up on to the pavement.

She added: “Aesthetically it does look better but it’s not really functional.

“Will people come back into Grantham? The reps that service us travel all over the country and they dread coming to Grantham because of how bad the traffic is to get into town. But I’m trying to be positive about it.”