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Grantham Market Place renovations prompt pleas for business relief for traders





Council leaders have suggested providing business rate relief for businesses affected by the Grantham Market Place works.

South Kesteven District Council has started a £4.1 million project — part of the Future High Streets Fund — to remove Market Place parking and install a new natural stone surface.

The aim is to raise the road to create a single-level space for events, re-establishing the Market Place as the town's heart.

Roadworks are in place for the Market Place works in Grantham. Photo: RSM Photography
Roadworks are in place for the Market Place works in Grantham. Photo: RSM Photography

Businesses fear the three-month works will deter visitors and disrupt footfall in nearby areas.

Concerns also arise regarding the safety of the Market Place for vulnerable residents once completed, and potential traffic safety issues if vehicles accidentally leave the road.

Local councillors are pushing to tackle the issue and are calling for more support while the scheme is carried out.

Roadworks are in place for the Market Place works in Grantham. Photo: RSM Photography
Roadworks are in place for the Market Place works in Grantham. Photo: RSM Photography

Coun Charmaine Morgan (Ind) has voiced concerns regarding the potential negative impact of highway works on businesses in Grantham's Westgate/High Street area.

She sought support for the town centre, especially considering the challenges businesses faced during Covid-19.

“I have asked for support for our town centre. Neighbouring St Vincent's Ward residents frequently visit the town centre,” she said.

Grantham Independent Councillor Charmaine Morgan.
Grantham Independent Councillor Charmaine Morgan.

“The impact visually of the scheme goes well beyond the plan with Westgate shops and parking affected by barriers.

“Lincolnshire County Council is also carrying out works at the same time in Gonerby and off Springfield Road indicates they are blitzing our town with little thought about the cumulative impact.

“While road improvements are welcome, a far better plan and approach was needed and better consultation communications with all of the town’s district and local members.”

Roadworks are in place for the Market Place works in Grantham. Photo: RSM Photography
Roadworks are in place for the Market Place works in Grantham. Photo: RSM Photography

Coun Morgan discussed potential compensatory schemes, including a business rate rebate, to alleviate the financial strain on local businesses.

She also urged SKDC to advertise Westgate/Market Place shop accessibility during the works and collaborate with affected businesses to monitor footfall.

Coun Morgan said there had been a lack of consultation with Grantham councillors prior to implementation and emphasised the need for better communication and planning.

Roadworks are in place for the Market Place works in Grantham. Photo: RSM Photography
Roadworks are in place for the Market Place works in Grantham. Photo: RSM Photography

She expressed hope that the road improvements would attract more visitors to the town but raised concerns about potential accessibility issues for disabled residents.

South Kesteven is leading on the plans, with LCC as the Highways Authority carrying out road closures and diversions on their behalf.

Coun Richard Davies, Lincolnshire County Council’s executive member for highways, has, however, expressed skepticism about the plans and the potential disruption to businesses.

Coun Richard Davies
Coun Richard Davies

He said the county had advised against the plans in their current form but that SKDC had moved forward with them anyway.

Acknowledging the scheme's progression, Coun Davies emphasised the need for collective efforts to make it work despite past differences.

He raised the issue of reduced footfall impacting businesses' revenue and proposed seeking rate relief from the valuations agency to mitigate the financial strain.

Roadworks are in place for the Market Place works in Grantham. Photo: RSM Photography
Roadworks are in place for the Market Place works in Grantham. Photo: RSM Photography

“All I really want to do is try and get the best outcome and process for my residents and businesses that they serve.

“One of the obvious things to do and I checked the regulations because there is scope for rate reduction or rate relief while significant roadworks are underway,” he said.

“If we can do something just to soften the blow a little bit easier, then that can only be a good thing — but we do need the district council as the rate collectors to get on board with it.

Coun Davies stressed collaboration including liaising with affected businesses and addressing delivery issues.

He advocated for honesty and transparency in communication with the public and highlighted potential future initiatives to enhance the Market Place's functionality.

He was backed by district councillor Graham Jeal (Con) who said: “As a coalition group we fully support some extra help being provided to businesses in the market square in Grantham.

“This is a critical part of our town.

Coun Graham Jeal
Coun Graham Jeal

“There is cross-party support that the Market Square businesses need support.”

Earlier this week, the Grantham Journal highlighted businesses' concerns over the works.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, business owner Luke Adams of Tap and Tonic also warned that his business could close due to the impact of the works.

He expressed dismay over the lack of consideration shown to businesses in the area.

Luke highlighted the challenges faced by his hospitality business, compounded by the ongoing fallout of the pandemic, electricity crisis, and economic pressures.

He lamented the potential ramifications of reduced footfall during one of their busiest trading periods and underscored the significance of Tap & Tonic as a cherished venue in Grantham.

Luke appealed to valued customers for continued support during the 22 weeks of roadworks, highlighting a commitment to remaining open and adapting services to meet demand.

He urged caution when navigating the footpaths around the Market Place and extended gratitude to patrons for their unwavering support.

The post has been shared more than 140 times and Luke noted an encouraging response.

“We had great responses from customers to our post,” he said.

“We had really kind, caring comments which was nice plus support from other local independent businesses too.

“We all need to support each other”

South Kesteven District Council leader Ashley Baxter
South Kesteven District Council leader Ashley Baxter

South Kesteven District Council's leader, Coun Ashley Baxter (Ind), highlighted that the ongoing Market Place works are part of a broader initiative aimed at revitalising Grantham's town centre, which had started in 2019.

Emphasising the significant investment involved, he said the council would “rely on the expertise” and collaboration with Lincolnshire County Council and contractor Taylor Woodrow to ensure timely completion while minimising disruptions to businesses.

Acknowledging concerns raised by local councillors, particularly regarding the financial impact on businesses, Coun Baxter indicated there are limited options for compensation adding that it was “impossible to say” what impact there would be due works starting only a few days ago.

“Local councillors in Grantham have, quite understandably, asked if it is possible to offer financial compensation to businesses if they can demonstrate that the ongoing works have had a severe financial impact on their trade,” he said.

“Such options are limited but businesses could approach the Valuation Office Agency for a temporary reduction in their rateable value for the duration of the roadworks.”

However, he said affected businesses could explore temporary rate reductions through the Valuation Office Agency.

Despite disruptions, he reassured that most businesses, including stallholders, continue trading, with available parking options for shoppers.

What do you think? Should businesses get a reduction in their rates during the work? Let us know your views in the comments below.



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