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Spalding Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field ‘not an option’ as Flower Parade arena search continues

A venue widely suggested as a potential new arena base for the Spalding Flower Parade has been discounted – as the search for a new home goes in.

Organiser Stephen Timewell recently revealed that the 2025 parade would need to find a new home as £20million levelling up works to the Castle Sports Complex are expected to be under way, rendering the site unsuitable.

A number of people had suggested the town’s Sir Halley Stewart Field as a new arena but both Steve and South Holland District Council’s deputy leader Coun Gary Taylor have ended speculation by saying this is not an option.

The ambassadors' float makes its way through the crowds in Spalding town centre
The ambassadors' float makes its way through the crowds in Spalding town centre

“I know people are talking about the Halley Stewart Playing Field but we can’t have it,” Steve said.

“Ultimately, it’s not big enough. It’s a fraction of the size of the Castle field and that just wouldn’t work for us.

“I’ve had a look at some land on Stumps Lane but the land there is too low plus it’s a 90 degree bend through trees onto the road which you just couldn’t get the floats into or out of.

“The old Spalding Rugby Club would be good but I think it would be hard bringing the parade up along St Thomas’ Road.

“It’s really difficult trying to find somewhere but the main thing is that we are okay for next year.”

Coun Taylor, whose portfolio includes Spalding town improvement, says he hopes the authority can help to find an alternative venue for the event, particularly after this year’s success.

“The Halley Stewart is in trust as a charity and the trust is not allowed to use the field for anything other than sports based activities,” he said.

“I know it was used for parking coaches this year but that did fall into the bracket.

“This year’s parade was so successful partly because it was based in Spalding town centre.

“There is a shortage of land available here but we will see if we can help, whether it’s council or private land.

“There’s also the size issue – it all needs to be at the same location rather than split up.

“We don’t have anywhere in mind at the moment but we do need to try and find somewhere then go through the relevant consultations.

“In the mean time, any private land owners out there who could help should get in touch with the organisers.”

Spalding was packed with people as this picture shows after the parade had finished
Spalding was packed with people as this picture shows after the parade had finished

Thousands of people lined the streets to watch May’s revived parade, with businesses reporting high levels of trade throughout the day.

Next year will see the event return for two days, on May 11 and 12, when it will bid a farewell to the Castle Sports Complex base.

However, Coun Taylor is hopeful that a new location will be found in time for 2025.

He added: “The edge of town isn’t impossible – with park and ride systems as we saw this year it can still be got to.

“This year there were so many hurdles to jump through – especially with the King’s Coronation forcing the date to change – but it’s amazing what they managed to do.

“Next year the event is going to be even bigger and better and we should support it because it’s got so many positives and benefits.”

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