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Words: Melanie Burton
Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the January 2017 issue

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2017 looks set to be a year of growth for the south Lincolnshire town – not only in population but in employment and the local economy as well.

Plans are in the pipeline for a 900-home development which will see Holbeach’s population surge by approximately 5,000 and work is progressing on the establishment of the Food Enterprise Zone, which would support 2,034 mostly highly skilled jobs in 30 businesses in the area, bringing a welcome boost to the economy.

In addition, work is due to get underway in the spring on the major £5m improvement scheme at the A17/A151 Peppermint Junction, which will improve road safety at the junction, ease the traffic flow on the A17 and reduce it through the town centre making Holbeach a more attractive place to shop and visit.

South Holland district councillor for Holbeach Hurn, Councillor Nick Worth, who is also a Lincolnshire County Council executive member, said it was an exciting time for Holbeach: “I am delighted and just a bit excited, that after so many years of planning our strategic plans are finally coming to fruition,” he said.

“One of the actions coming out of the original Holbeach Parish Plan is the major improvements to Peppermint Junction, which will see the current junction replaced with a roundabout connecting the A17 to the A151 and a second roundabout providing access to housing and commercial development land.

“Housing growth would provide safe, convenient access to up to 650 consented new homes to the east of the A151 and as far as employment growth is concerned it will provide for up to sixteen hectares of employment land west of the A151.”

The current junction has been the site of twenty-two collisions resulting in injury in the past ten years. At present some drivers choose to bypass the junction, travelling through the centre of Holbeach to access the A1, reducing opportunities for growth in the town.

Plans are also coming together for a multi-million pound development next to the A17 and A151, which will create new premises for the agri-food businesses in the south of the county, with a particular focus on the food technology sector.

Lincolnshire County Council and South Holland District Council are working on proposals for a Food Enterprise Zone (FEZ) which will create around 59,000sqm of new business space, capable of supporting more than 2,000 jobs.

The University of Lincoln has already submitted a planning application to move part of its existing Holbeach campus to a new, purpose-built facility within the FEZ.

“With work on the roundabouts due to start in May, this is a very exciting time for the future economy of Holbeach,” said Councillor Worth.

“Not only does it provide us with better infrastructure that will benefit the High Street and town centre generally, it will provide our local young people with job opportunities through apprenticeships and our strong links between the Holbeach Academy and the University of Lincoln.

“It will also provide the opportunity to negotiate further planning agreements that will benefit the regeneration of the town centre itself through targeted funding aimed at the High Street and increasing the footfall on it.

“This will also secure primary and secondary school provision for our ever expanding schools and we will now be working with the Clincal Commissioning Groups to see how we can ensure improved and sustainable health provision for the foreseeable future.”

Councillor Worth, who is also South Holland District Council’s portfolio holder for Growth and Commercialisation, added that it fitted strategically with plans to further develop the University of Lincoln (UoL) Holbeach campus, which is located about half a mile from the junction.

“Outline planning permission has been granted for a campus facility, as part of the Food Enterprise Zone. It will complement the businesses on the Food Enterprise Zone with science and robotics,” he said.

“I’m delighted to see this investment coming to Holbeach. It will attract innovative businesses and create highly-skilled jobs. This will offer career opportunities across many disciplines, attractive to the UK’s brightest talent in the agri-food industry.”

The UoL campus is the National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM), which serves the UK-wide food industry as a specialist training facility and is home to cutting-edge food manufacturing technologies and research projects.

Planning consent was given in November for a bespoke new research and development facility, the Centre of Excellence in Agri-food, which will house food microbiology and chemistry laboratories, a high-tech test kitchen and sensory suite, a learning resource centre, and accommodation for seminars and business networking events.

The expansion will enable the existing university facility to become a national robotics and automation demonstration centre, and will represent the first stage of development for the Food Enterprise Zone in Holbeach.

Professor Val Braybrooks MBE, Dean of the University of Lincoln’s National Centre for Food Manufacturing, said the university was delighted that the plans for the next phase development of the NCFM had been approved.

“It is a very exciting development,” said Professor Braybrooks. “The new Centre of Excellence will enable the university to advance the support it provides to agri-food businesses for research, innovation and skills from its Holbeach Campus.

“The university’s work for the agri-food industry has gained a national reputation and we now have a rapidly growing international profile, founded on our research in robotics and automation for the sector.

“The new centre will serve to further enhance the economic benefit that the university’s work for the agri-food industry brings to South Lincolnshire and Greater Lincolnshire more widely.”

Last year, through its pioneering research into new food manufacturing technologies at NCFM, the UoL joined a landmark commitment which brings together organisations from across the food system for the first time to make food and drink production and consumption more sustainable for the future.

The Courtauld Commitment 2025 is led by the UK’s resource efficiency charity WRAP, on behalf of the UK Government and Devolved Administrations.

Launched in March 2016, it is a world leading voluntary agreement to work along the entire food chain to reduce the environmental impact of our food and drink, from farm to fork and beyond.

The University of Lincoln is a signatory of the agreement, alongside the world’s largest food and drink manufacturers and all the major UK retailers, representing more than 93% of the 2016 UK food retail market, as well as food service companies, trade bodies and local authorities.

The Commitment sets out three key targets: a 20% reduction in food and drink waste arising in the UK, a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas intensity of food and drink consumed in the UK, and a reduction in impact associated with water use in the supply chain.

Mark Swainson, deputy head and lead for Higher Education and Research at NCFM, said: “Our research and education programmes are well placed to support the food manufacturing sector in its development of wide-ranging initiatives, including focus on processing activities, transport and distribution, storage systems and associated supply chains.

“We are very pleased to support this major collaborative initiative to reduce the amount of resources required to provide food and drink over the coming years.”

HOLBEACH OWN ALLIANCE
A new alliance between business owners, traders and community leaders in Holbeach set up last year (2016) in response to the changes that were taking place in the town has proved to be a successful venture.

The formation of the partnership was prompted by the relocation of Holbeach’s Thursday and Saturday markets from the High Street to the Boston Road South car park.

Chair of Holbeach Parish Council, Councillor Isobel Hutchinson, said the parish council had been working alongside a small group of traders over the past year to try and promote the town and work on some of the issues they face.

“We have set up a Facebook page called Holbeach Local, where local businesses can post offers and promotions,” she said.

“This has been well received by the public and has given smaller traders the chance to promote themselves in a cost-effective way.”

The main losses suffered in the town have been the closure of the banks, with another one due to leave in January.

“This means Holbeach will only have one bank and building society left,” said Councillor Hutchinson.

“The other big change has been the market moving from its long term home on the High Street to the main car park. It has changed the focus of the town on market days. But some people say it has killed the town centre while others say it has made the market more pleasant and vibrant.

“With a large number of new houses planned for Holbeach over the next few years there are opportunities to be had for existing traders and potential for new businesses to set up,” added Councillor Hutchinson.

“We hope the future is a bright one for the town and we will continue to work with traders to make the most of the opportunities coming our way.”

The decision on the proposals to permanently move the Thursday markets away from the town centre and close one of the two entrances to the car park is not expected to be made until this year.

FOOD ENTERPRISE ZONE
2016 was a busy and productive year for all major stakeholders involved in the delivery of the Food Enterprise Zone in Holbeach including Lincolnshire County Council, South Holland District Council, Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the University of Lincoln, with progress taking many significant strides forward.

In particular, the junction improvements to the A17 and A151 received planning consent in March 2016 and with the detailed design work for the road now complete, work on site is expected to commence in May and will not only unlock both employment and residential land for development but also create a strong gateway to the town.

The University of Lincoln has developed its plans for a new campus building and will become the first major occupier of the Food Enterprise Zone.

Councillor Colin Davie, executive member for Economic Development at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “The agri-food sector is massively important to the county economy and we want to be sure businesses have the space they need to flourish.

“We’re currently looking at the most appropriate way to take the scheme forward, including the best strategy for acquiring the necessary land. Things are in their early stages, and it will take a number of years to fully develop a site of this size.

“However, we’ve already taken an important first step with the university deciding to move there.” 

CAFFE AURORA
Freshly Made & Family Run – At the heart of Holbeach High Street the traditional red and cream frontage welcomes everyone to one of the region’s favourite places to meet: Caffè Aurora.

Stylish, comfortable and clean – this family run coffee shop and cafe has gained a fantastic reputation for great home-made food, fabulous cakes and pastries along with excellent coffee and friendly, welcoming service. Everything is freshly prepared and the menu offers a wide range of delicious options from breakfast selections to paninis and sandwiches, soups, savouries and specials – not to mention the wide choice of home-made cakes, bakes and treats… all complemented by an impressive range of barista coffees, teas, shakes, smoothies and soft drinks.

Children are offered a range of good value options including junior sandwich meals with veg sticks and fresh fruit.

Now celebrating its 2nd birthday, Caffè Aurora has gone from strength to strength – gaining a Certificate of Excellence and a 5* Tripadvisor rating, their second 5* Food Hygiene rating from the EHO and a 5* review rating on Facebook. Ranked as Holbeach’s ‘No1 place to eat’ on Tripadvisor, a visit is a must! You are sure to enjoy the Caffè Aurora experience.

52 High Street, Holbeach, PE12 7ED,
T: 01406 490545.

MOSSOP & BOWSER SOLICITORS
For the last 190 years Mossop & Bowser Solicitors have been practising law in the South Holland area and have offices in Holbeach and Long Sutton.

The firm has represented many local families for generations, giving advice in a variety of areas of law. Its staff pride themselves on ensuring that every client receives individual specialist advice. Since 2003 the firm has held the Lexcel Quality Mark, which is granted by the Law Society in recognition of the firm’s high standards in, and commitment to client care.

Caroline Cunnington has joined the firm, bringing more expertise to an already highly skilled team in the private client department, which deals with the preparation of wills, administration of estates, lasting powers of attorney and trusts amongst other things. Caroline’s appointment follows Kimberley Pender joining the firm last year. Kimberley specialises in family and matrimonial matters.

Looking to the future, three new trainees joined the firm in 2016. There is every expectation that they will all qualify as lawyers in their respective fields, and their prospects look bright. The firm has a culture of nurturing local talent and, moreover, has a successful apprenticeship scheme for support staff.

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