Grantham town centre 'dying' say councillors as motion is defeated
Grantham town centre was labelled as 'dying' by councillors who expressed concerns about its future.
At a South Kesteven District Council meeting on Thursday (September 30), Labour and Co-operative party councillor, Charmaine Morgan, called on the council to help the High Street and counter the negative effects of the pandemic. But her motion was defeated.
The motion called on the council to write to the Government to urge it to undertake an urgent review of business rates, sign up to the Co-operative Party’s Unlock the High Street Campaign, make any data held by the council on ownership of high street properties public and pro-actively contact landlords of vacant premises.
Leader of the council Kelham Cooke (Con - Casewick) pointed out that the South Kesteven District Council Corporate Plan encourages growth, with improving town centres a priority.
"We have been supported by the Government on improvements to Grantham and our intention is to further develop Bourne, Market Deeping and Stamford," he said.
John Dawson, a shop keeper in Stamford, discussed the difficulties with the state of high streets across the country.
He said: "We have got to have in the high street things people want and also a social responsibility. Are you going to buy things made in modern slavery? It's a very difficult and complex problem."
The motion recognised that people's shopping habits have changed, resulting in lower footfall as a recent review recognised that the form and function of many high streets needs to radically change if they are to adapt and survive.
It is part of the Co-operative party's push across the country to save and improve the high streets.
Coun Lee Steptoe (Grantham Earlesfield - Lab and Co-op) said: "I really don't think this is party political. I don't think there's anything controversial in this motion whatsoever.
"This is about the nebulous term 'levelling up', it just happens to have the Co-operative rather than Conservative.
"Grantham is dying, if you don't believe me just walk down the High Street."
Despite pleas from Labour and Co-operative councillors, the majority voted against the motion.