Grantham Journal letters: Retail village - they must be dreaming!
What planet are Rioja Developments living on? Certainly not the same one as me! Not in their wildest dreams can they really believe a new designer village would bring 350,000 more shoppers in a year.
What would they come for?
Back in the 1960s I might have agreed with them. When I first came here to live in 1963, Grantham was a lovely, thriving market town with every kind of shop imaginable. There was hardly a need to go out of town for any shopping. Added to which, there was a wonderful Saturday market that spread the length of Westgate and the Market Place, so full of people it was difficult to negotiate a way through. All we have now is a town dying on its feet, shops closing nearly every week and a market consisting of about a dozen loyal stall holders - no more.
A couple of weeks ago the High Street was closed for the Christmas market. Why? What was wrong with the normal venue? Surely the Westgate area would have been far more suitable with some of the stalls located in the George Centre - another place devoid of shops and therefore mostly deserted. What a wicked waste of, what could be, an attractive precinct.
As for the Market Place itself, whenever I pass that way I see few pedestrians. How does this area benefit the people of Grantham? Apart from the annual French market nothing much ever appears to happen here. The insignificant orrery and tubs of trees have deprived shoppers of around 40 free and well used parking spaces.
Now we are told there is a proposal to increase long stay parking charges in Welham Street from £3 to £10 a day. Great! I am sure the workers of Grantham, who use this car park, are delighted by the news and it will certainly not encourage more small businesses to invest or remain in the town.
I understand that parking in Bourne is free. According to Linda Neale this was to be whilst the town was being developed – how many years ago was that said? Stamford is an attractive and busy townwith many varied shops and a flourishing market. No hideous new ‘out of character’ developments allowed here, as in Grantham where anything seems to go. Gainsborough’s ‘Tin Can’ Corner is a typical example – where the chief planing officer said he couldn’t comment on it as he had not seen it yet! I find it hard to believe these three towns are controlled by the same (county) council.
What has Grantham to offer its residents or the potential visitor? Apart from a glorious church and its attractive surroundings, all it has is charity shops and lots and lots of eating places. Even the museum is under the threat of closure. Have Rioja Developments really studied the shoppers of Downtown (another company proposing further development) and calculated how many of those bother to come into Grantham?
It genuinely saddens me to see how those in authority seem to allow the town to deteriorate so rapidly and appear to be incapable of getting together to find a solution to the problem.
Cara J. White