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Spalding businessman Robin Hancox sets out intentions to maximise benefit of £20 million ‘forgotten town’ money

A well-known businessman who will be leading the transformation of Spalding says he wants to ensure that the £20 million will have the maximum benefit for the town’s businesses and residents.

Robin Hancox is looking forward to working with a broad spectrum of people after accepting the invitation to be chairman of the new Spalding Town Board - which will develop plans to spend the £20million ‘forgotten town’ money and bring about long-term changes over the next decade.

Last year the Government announced that Spalding was one of 55 towns which will get a share of a £1.1 billion ‘levelling up’ funding pot which aims to ‘provide long-term investment in towns that have been overlooked and taken for granted’ with community engagement playing a pivotal role.

Robin Hancox, pictured with The Bishop of Lincoln, the Right Rev Stephen Conway at a previous event, is the new Spalding Town Board chairman
Robin Hancox, pictured with The Bishop of Lincoln, the Right Rev Stephen Conway at a previous event, is the new Spalding Town Board chairman

The board – which could be made up of community groups, cultural or sporting representatives along with public services, local authorities and MP Sir John Hayes – will have the challenge of developing a 10-year vision and three-year investment plan by August 1.

South Holland District Council’s cabinet unanimously supported Mr Hancox’s appointment during Tuesday’s meeting – and leader Coun Nick Worth has warned that the area needs to be looking at the ‘big picture’ to make a difference.

Mr Hancox, a director of two large local companies – FreshLinc and Lincolnshire Field Products – said he was ‘flattered’ to have been asked.

Coun Nick Worth at the Spalding Castle Sports Complex
Coun Nick Worth at the Spalding Castle Sports Complex

He said: “I am delighted to accept the invitation and look forward to working with a broad spectrum of fellow board members in making sure that the money is invested and spent wisely and benefits as many people as possible.

“A wide range of people will be involved in the decision-making process and I think it is important that everyone’s views are considered very carefully over the coming months.”

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Mr Hancox, who has worked in the area for 44 years, is keen to stress that this is additional new money on top of the £20million secured to transform the Castle Sports Complex and the A16 improvements.

He said: “There will be many wonderful ideas coming forward and the challenge is to get the maximum gain for the maximum number of people in the district.”

At Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, Coun Worth highlighted Mr Hancox’s passion for Spalding and said that he would make an excellent chairman.

Speaking later in the meeting he said: “We have got to look at the big picture – it’s not about hanging baskets and small stuff like that. It is about big picture stuff where we can really make a difference.”

He also mentioned the possibility of buying property or tackling the ‘one or two grot spots’ in town.

Coun Bryan Alcock said he had seen the town change over a number of years and that there were a number of quick wins to be had.

He said: “I hope they don’t just concentrate on the Market Place as the rest of the town would benefit from small investment and one thing they could have an influence over is shop fronts and what they look like.”

Council chairman Coun Andrew Woolf said the money had to be spent ‘for the good of all’ while Spalding councillor Gary Taylor said: “This is an opportunity to move forward and put long-term plans in place.”

Leader of South Holland Independents Coun Rob Gibson highlighted there are a number of groups looking to improve the town, including the Spalding Business Board, and called for these to work together.

He said: “We need to be getting on with this and start making decisions.”

What do you think the money should be spent on? Share your views in the comments

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