Grantham Journal column: I welcome council’s plans to invest in bold new initiatives
For many decades, our corner of Lincolnshire has lacked local leadership.
Our district council has done a decent job of delivering services and managing the status quo but it has failed to drive change or invest in the future.
It stood idly by while places like Newark and Peterborough were transformed for the better and attracted new businesses and extra visitors to boost their local economies.
We have missed out as a result.
But the council’s new leader, Matthew Lee, is grabbing the bull by the horns and planning to invest in some bold new initiatives which should make south west Lincolnshire an even better place to live, work and run a business.
In Grantham, this means a new cinema and the redevelopment of the council offices to create office space for the growing businesses that currently have to leave town to find suitable space.
In Stamford, we will see a new digital hub on the site of the old cattle market car park, so that we can begin to attract exciting start-ups that cannot afford the rents in Cambridge.
The council will also build the new leisure centre that Stamford residents have long been crying out for.
In Bourne, they plan a new set of serviced offices for microbusinesses so that more people use the town centre.
They also identify our local heritage as a crucial asset – and a potential magnet for new investment.
With Burghley House, Belton House and Grimsthorpe Castle, we are blessed with three of the most magical stately homes in the country.
Yet how many people in London, Birmingham or Manchester know that this bit of Lincolnshire boast such treasures?
The council is uniquely well placed to coordinate the promotion of the area to both British and international tourists.
Government cannot deliver prosperity by itself. Only businesses can do that.
But Councillor Lee and his colleagues have understood the vital role that a switched-on local council can play as the facilitator of enterprise and investment.
Their energy and ambition is tremendously welcome.