Traders’ petition over precinct plans

Shopkeeper Lee Taylor with the petition against aspects of the renovation. EMN-161104-161204001
Shopkeeper Lee Taylor with the petition against aspects of the renovation. EMN-161104-161204001

A petition supported by more than 200 customers and businesspeople from a Sleaford shopping precinct is calling for concerns to be heard about a planned refit.

Riverside Shopping Centre off Southgate is due to undergo a £500,000 makeover and extension after council planners gave consent in November.

Due for renovation - the Riverside Shopping Centre. EMN-161104-161215001

Due for renovation - the Riverside Shopping Centre. EMN-161104-161215001

Lincolnshire Co-op, which owns the 17 retail and office units, is keen to breathe extra vitality into the precinct.

The first phase of work will open up the central courtyard, removing the bandstand, display unit and colonnades fronting the shops along the southern side. Discussions continue to attract a national chain store too.

But Lee Taylor of Press 2 Play and Pop In Bargains claimed tenants have not been considered. He said: “We have been told by the agents that none of the shops will be able to have shutters.”

With concerns about security the businesses offered to compromise with internal shutters but it does not fit in with the designs. He added that the plan to remove the covered walkway will mean goods displayed will be exposed to the weather and discourage customers.

Peter Spackman of Dee’s Gifts is for the revamp but said: “If someone breaks a window our insurance will go up as a result of the shutters going.”

The petition calls for support from North Kesteven District Council.

James Butcher, director of property agents Banks Long & Co, said the works proposed will make it a more attractive place to shop and will boost trade for tenants longer term.

He said: “Once we have a clear timetable for the works we will liaise with the retailers on site to ensure that any disruption for them and their customers is kept to a minimum.”

This could involve work outside business hours.