Grantham Journal column: It’s time to make a start on turning around Grantham’s fortunes
The recent Grantham Area Committee was well attended and therefore demonstrated the desire of many residents to debate the important issues that affect our town.
The event encouraged people from across Grantham to come together. An over-riding concern was the impact that planning decisions have on local communities. Two groups were present at the meeting, those opposed to the development on Manthorpe Road and those residents opposed to the Southern Quadrant development, required to fund the Grantham By-Pass. In both cases residents were anxious that their voice was heard in the process and that they would be properly represented.
Whilst the new town forum may provide a useful place in which to debate such matters, and even forward feedback to the district and county council it has no authority to represent our town. On a number of occasions it was recommended that the forum consider proposals for Grantham to have its own town council. A town council would provide a democratically elected voice for Grantham which would have to be a formal consultee within the planning process, and views of the town council would appear on planning officer reports for all relevant development applications. It is ludicrous and shameful that at present residents of the smallest village in our district have more representation and say on planning matters than the largest town in our district.
A second and even more effective way for Grantham to have its say is the formation of our own neighbourhood plan. The Grantham Town Centre Neighbourhood Plan would enable us to draw up what we would like the future of our town to look like. In order to draw up a plan we must first identify a group of people who represent the town and who are willing to be involved in the work required to submit a plan to South Kesteven District Council for approval. If you are interested in becoming involved in this process please contact me via email email@example.com or call 07429 334260. neighbourhood plans cannot be used to halt development, but they carry as much weight in the planning process as the district’s own core strategy once completed and can be used to define what development we would like to see. There is a lack of vision demonstrated in how our town is being run. Grantham has a fantastic heritage which should be protected and promoted to encourage more visitors, and, with visitors comes economic prosperity. As our shops struggle to survive and our museum is closed most of the time it is clear that more needs to be done to turn Grantham’s fortune around. Now is the time to make a start.