So finally moves are being made on the Station Approach re-development, with compulsory purchase orders being put on the businesses that are located on the site. I am disappointed that negotiations have not resulted in a better resolution; however it is sometimes the case where businesses will need to move to ensure the continued improvement of the town.
The Station Approach development, in my opinion, should form part of the development of the town. The ideas contained within the development are good, and should they come to fruition, would lead to a much-needed improvement of this area.
It has always been my concern that the Grantham Growth point developments are not setting aside enough space for employment. In the Station Approach development there is the Business Incubation Centre and this should be welcomed. However, the other town centre developments, most notably Greyfriars, do not set aside such space.
When looking to redevelop the town centre, employment space is vital. If provision for employment space was made in the Greyfriars development for example, this would help develop footfall (employees going to and from work), which in turn will help make use of the newly developed Market Place during the week benefiting the local retailers in the area.
Looking forward one of the major problems that faces Grantham now and in the next decade is that too many people have to travel outside of Grantham to work, be that by either train, car or bus. Job prospects for our young people are mediocre at best, and they will be actively looking to move away after their education or looking for work in Nottingham or Lincoln.
Making sure that jobs are created in and around Grantham should be at the very top of the council’s agenda, as this feeds into everything else such as demand for housing, spending on the high street, and general well-being.
What I am expecting to see from the economic development team over the coming months is a real programme for jobs to help ensure the job prospects for everyone in Grantham are improved.