Sleaford reacts to call to protect town centres

Sleaford Market Place and St Denys' Church. EMN-180705-134616001
Sleaford Market Place and St Denys' Church. EMN-180705-134616001

“Catastrophic retail failures” in the coming months will have a damaging effect on Lincolnshire’s high streets, a senior county councillor has warned.

This year, major outlets have closed in the county as well as several banks.

But Coun Colin Davie, executive member for economy at Lincolnshire County Council, said that the region must avoid empty units and charity shops “filling the void”, warning further closures should be expected.

“Town centres are struggling and I don’t think that people realise how bad this is going to get very quickly,” he said.

“I think that this time next year there will be some catastrophic retail failures across the country and a lot of our smaller, secondary towns in Lincolnshire are going to lose a lot of their high street retail offer.”

He believed the Greater Lincolnshire Enterprise Partnership and district councils have “a lot of work to do” to keep town centres vibrant.

Coun Richard Wright, Leader of NKDC said: “Now is the time to celebrate what we can achieve locally, not lament what is happening nationally in other areas.

“While some regional and national retailers have struggled, Sleaford is under represented in these areas and the high street is predominantly (79.3%) made up of independent traders.

“Its vacancy rate is falling each quarter since January 2017 and currently sits at 10.1%, only slightly higher than the national average of 9.9%.”

He referred to new businesses moving in, plus Tesco’s plans to develop the Advanta Seeds site creating 296 jobs. Work was continuing on the new cinema with £1.5m of council investment and other projects in the pipeline.

“We are and will continue to do all we can to make sure Sleaford town centre continues to improve and change.”