Get out, yer banned!

I had the rather bizarre experience of being refused service in a local shop the other day. It wasn’t because I was previously suspected or caught shop lifting, or even because I had a made a scene on a previous occasion because of a defective purchase, or poor service no, it was because I was a district councillor, or more accurately, ‘I was from the council’.

The shop in question is called the Lincolnshire Gallery, located in Swan St Spalding. The owner, Derek, has apparently left instructions with his staff, that nobody from the council is to be served. This short-sighted and seemingly ill-tempered directive is, I suspect, based on the outcome of a couple of recent planning applications. Both applications were on the same site and both were refused. Given that at least one of the applications was refused on appeal by a planning inspector, I wonder if Derek has also written to Bristol, where the Inspectorate is based, to tell them that they are not welcome in his shop? Also, whilst he’s at it, he might as well drop a no thank you card to the minister Eric Pickles, as the planning inspectorate works for him!

Of course any shop owner has the right to choose who he or she serves. However, given that the council employs hundreds of people and at least some of them are likely to want to purchase art supplies occasionally, this is a classic case of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.

Swan St Spalding closure – not yet it seems!

I had some disappointing news from the Lincolnshire County Council highways dept this am.  I had asked them to consider keeping Swan St in Spalding closed once the sewer repair work had been completed by Anglian Water, because the traffic flows in the town centre seem to of improved significantly since the work started.

Highways were willing to give the closure a trial period leading on from the sewer working, providing their informal consultation with local businesses showed overwhelming support for the idea.  Unfortunately, this was not the case, with a split of 60/40 in favour of closure for a trial period.  Because of this, LCC will now have to carry out a formal consultation exercise, contact any objectors and try to resolve their concerns and only then, initiate the trail!  To do anything else would leave them open to challenge and subject to official sanction for not following the rules! 

It would seem that some people have gotten hold of the wrong end of the stick on this one.  They seem to be under the misapprehension that it is the whole of Swan St that would be closed, rather than just its junction with Kings Rd, leaving the full length open for normal access from Winfrey Ave. 

Worse still, at least one individual, despite being asked for comment on behalf of the large retail outlet store he or she manages, responded by saying, “I object because it will take me longer to get to work”. 

I will try to be charitable as we approach Christmas and put this response down to a very busy manager, not really thinking about the long term implications of what they have written.  On the other hand, it could a short-sighted and self centred response from someone who cares little for his customers, the town of Spalding, or even for the increased carbon emissions caused by stop start traffic flows and tail backs that normally occur when this junction is open.

However, all is not lost and the highway authority has promised to look carefully at the responses they receive to the official consultation and to carry out a scientific analysis of the traffic flows if and when the trial period goes ahead, with a view to making the closure permanent.

Hopefully, our local press will pick up on this issue and encourage a wider group of Spaldonians to make their views known – only those in favour please ;¬)