Speeding up connections and home building

Words by:
Melanie Burton
Featured in:
August 2021

The market town of Bourne has something for everyone, from historic buildings and motoring heritage to shopping and work opportunities. Melanie Burton looks at new developments that will be key to its future.

With a variety of independent retailers and top-name high street stores, Bourne is an ideal place to stop and shop, and with plenty of amenities available it is a popular place for setting up a home.

As the main A15 traffic route from Lincoln to Cambridge passes right through the middle of the town centre, Bourne is the perfect base from which to explore the surrounding area and can be easily accessed by visitors wanting to see what the town has to offer.

Bourne’s population was just under 14,500 in 2011 but its popularity is on the rise and work has begun in the town to build the first of several new council properties in the South Kesteven district.

The development, by South Kesteven District Council, is one in a series of social housing projects to bring housing to those people who really need it.

Meadow Close is the first of two new-build sites, with a second, at Trinity Road, Stamford, due to get under way in the coming weeks – together bringing a total of 12 new council homes.

They will be allocated to those on the housing register and follow recent successful SKDC developments in Kinoulton Court and at Earlesfield Lane, both in Grantham.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Property, Councillor Robert Reid, said: “These new flats and bungalows form part of South Kesteven District Council’s commitment to deliver good quality social housing across the district.

“They are sensitive developments providing new homes as we work hard to meet the district’s future housing demand.

This supports the ambitions laid out in our Corporate Plan, to provide housing that meets the needs of all residents.

“The first development is close to the centre of Bourne, is in keeping with the character of South Kesteven and will benefit those who already live locally.”

The Meadow Close project, in partnership with D Brown Building Contractors Ltd, comprises four flats and three bungalows and is set to be complete by April 2022. The land is owned by SKDC and currently used for parking. Five more new homes will follow in Stamford.

Meadow Close already has a mixture of bungalows and small blocks of flats, and residents there were involved in local consultations which helped shape the new development before it was put forward for planning consent.

All properties will have lifetime home features, making them fully accessible and easily adaptable for additional needs at minimal cost. One car parking space is to be provided for each of the flats, together with a further 10 spaces, providing a total of 17 extra spaces across both sites.

New jobs are on the cards for the town too with one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of fresh prepared food, Bakkavor, announcing new roles at its Bourne salad-producing factory and supermarket chain Aldi looking to open a new store in the town as part of its plans to open 100 branches across the UK creating 4,000 jobs.

The move follows Aldi gaining planning permission from South Kesteven District Council last year for a supermarket off Uffington Road, which is due to open this year.

Aldi currently has 900 stores across the UK and is currently Britain’s fifth largest supermarket chain.

Ciaran Aldridge, national property director at Aldi UK, said: “We have been investing in Britain for more than 30 years now, but we know that there are still areas that either do not have an Aldi at all, or that need another store to meet customer demand.

“Shoppers are increasingly looking to get unbeatable prices on their weekly shop without compromising on quality.

“That’s why, more so than ever, we’re keen to explore all opportunities to open new stores across the country.”

Businesses and residents are also going to be able to access faster internet speeds as locally based internet service provider Lightspeed Broadband has identified Bourne as one of the places for the roll out of its super-fast next generation full-fibre internet network.

It is claimed the state-of-the-art fibre network will deliver gigabit download and upload speeds 15 times faster than the UK average download speed of 64Mbps, more stable and reliable than standard fibre broadband, directly to homes and businesses.

The internet speeds will allow residents and businesses to enjoy professional home working, stream online entertainment, high speed gaming, home schooling and video calling, with no buffering.

Lightspeed Broadband, which is backed by private investment, is working in partnership with specialist fibre infrastructure contractors, Plancast and RCU Solutions, to roll out the network, starting in 10 towns in South Lincolnshire and West Norfolk.

Managed by a highly experienced team with more than 100 years’ combined experience in the telecoms industry, including with BT and TalkTalk, the company aims to bring its fibre optic to 100,000 homes and businesses across the East of England by 2022 and reach one million homes by 2025.

Bourne has a very rich history with 71 listed buildings in the town, 13 of which are in the town centre and the most important being the Abbey and Parish Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul (1138), which is the only one scheduled as Grade I. They also include a number of old coaching inns, almshouses, manor houses and cottages, along with ancient woodlands.

Bourne is also home to a heritage centre and museum, housed in Baldock’s Mill. Owned by Bourne United Charities, the mill was built on the banks of the Bourne Eau in 1800 and stopped working in the 1920s. Bourne Civic Society took it over to preserve it for community use. It is classified as a Grade II listed building because of its architectural and historical interest and it is the only remaining mill in the town.

The centre has three floors of exhibitions and includes a permanent memorial room on the middle floor dedicated to the achievements of Raymond Mays. Many of his trophies are on display, having been donated by his PA Trissie Carlton and her daughter, Anne Boggitt. The room contains photographs, memorabilia and silverware won by BRM cars and drivers.

A smaller room on this floor houses information about Charles Frederick Worth, the famous Paris designer of perfume and haute couture.

The ground floor is home to a small shop area and machinery and agricultural implement displays, while the top floor is devoted to local history and features local industries once familiar in Bourne such as the water industry and the railway, and details of Bourne in wartime including some old domestic items of interest.

Founded in 1977 to fight for conservation and good planning in Bourne, The Bourne Civic Society runs many other activities including lectures, tours and visits.

It is a totally independent and non-political body and actively monitors planning and development in Bourne, raising awareness of issues where it feels appropriate.

It is fair to say that everyone struggled with the lockdowns and restrictions that have been in place for the past 16 months and people’s mental health and wellbeing has been a cause for concern throughout.

But in Bourne there is help at hand in the form of the town’s mental health and wellbeing support charity Don’t Lose

Hope, which has inspired South Kesteven District Council elected members and officers to make it a priority.
A working group of cross-party councillors and officers has been drawn together to tackle specific areas of work in a public commitment to support residents.

Councillor Annie Mason, SKDC Cabinet Member for People and Safer Communities, is leading the mental health working group.

She said: “Our visit to Don’t Lose Hope was both inspirational and extremely valuable as we look at next steps for our group. We plan other visits to community groups across the district to see the amazing grassroots work going on and we’re looking to find ways to support wherever we can.

“Mental health and wellbeing are critical to us all and we are only too well aware of how badly the pandemic has affected people.

“We have met with representatives from both Mind and Mental Health First Aid England to review mental health induction training for all new council staff and refreshers for managers.

“We are also studying best practice from elsewhere to support and develop services across the district.”

The council funded a greenhouse at Don’t Lose Hope’s community garden with a £2,200 grant last year from its Community Fund. The charity has also received ward member grants totalling almost £2,000.

The main aim of the charity is to enhance the wellbeing of all members of the community by providing access to therapeutic and emotional support.

The services provided by the charity are free of charge for families and individuals receiving certain state benefits and is offered at reduced rates to all others, based on annual income (with a maximum charge of £30 per session). The aim is to make the counselling available to everyone, regardless of income.

This service is delivered by a team of qualified and experienced counsellors, in private fully equipped counselling rooms at the Don’t Lose Hope premises in Bourne town centre.

The charity also provides a community café (open Monday to Saturday) which offers access to support groups, workshops and advice. This is a space where anyone can drop in and find someone to talk to, get involved in activities, make friends or just have a slice of cake and a cup of tea.

Furthermore, the charity also has a shop in Bourne town centre (South Street) that offers a large variety of gifts and home furnishings, with all profits going towards funding this invaluable service.

This building is also home to the play and art therapy provided by the charity.

People living in Bourne and its surrounding areas have been given a boost following the announcement by Bakkavor that it is creating 150 new jobs at its salad producing factory in the town.

It is part of a nationwide recruitment drive which sees 1,500 new vacancies available across its 23 UK factories.

One of the country’s leading manufacturers of fresh prepared food, Bakkavor has more than 100 permanent and 50 summer roles to fill at its Bakkavor Salads Bourne site across a variety of shifts.

Bakkavor produces meals, salads, pizza and bread, and desserts for the UK’s major supermarkets, including Tesco, M&S, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, and employs around 17,000 people in the UK, and a further 2,000 globally.

The company has remained open for business throughout the pandemic, maintaining food supply at a critical time and ensuring that supermarket shelves remained stocked.

Bakkavor Salads Bourne specialises in making prepared fruit, stir fries, dressed salads and leafy salads for the leading UK retailers. It has been a major employer in the area for over 20 years. Roles include factory operatives and team leaders.

Jonathan Zair, general manager of operations at Bakkavor Salads Bourne, said: “Today’s news on 150 new jobs contributes to the economic health of the local community at a critical time.

“Aside from good rates of pay and real opportunities to progress and develop skills, we offer new joiners a range of staff benefits, including a stakeholder pension and life insurance cover, as well as heavily discounted food products from our site staff shop, and we have just installed a new colleague canteen. We are delighted to be creating significant employment opportunities at a very challenging time for the local economy and this marks a great opportunity for people to join us as we continue to grow the business.”

The health, safety and wellbeing of Bakkavor’s colleagues is its foremost priority. The site’s health and hygiene controls are extremely high with extensive Covid-19 controls in place in line with government guidance.

The company remained open for business for the length of the pandemic, working round the clock to produce the essential food items that could feed the nation and maintain the food supply at a time of national emergency.

With the nation re-emerging from Covid restrictions and consumer demand for fresh prepared food normalising, Bakkavor’s recruitment drive will offer a welcome boost to local communities around the UK – at the very time when the phasing out of the furlough scheme will, for many, bring economic uncertainty.

Regionally, Bakkavor is specifically recruiting for 680 jobs across its Lincolnshire sites, with a further 196 roles to be filled in Nottingham, 148 in Kent and 139 in Bo’ness, Scotland. Bakkavor is also looking to employ people in Somerset, Lancashire, Leicestershire, London, Wiltshire and Cheshire.

Donna-Maria Lee, chief people officer at Bakkavor said: “It is important we continue to invest in the communities where we do business and we hope our employment drive will help many families to rebuild their lives after more than a year of lockdown.”

Bakkavor also invests in developing the skills of young people through its apprenticeship and graduate training programmes. Bakkavor has recently been commended by Jobs Crowd, winning the annual award for ‘Best Company in FMCG’ for its apprenticeship programme.

Award-winning garden designer Debbie Cooke is a familiar face around Bourne through her work with The Len Pick Trust, a local charity which provides support for community projects.

Their latest joint project is the transformation of a border at the junction of South Street and Coggles Causeway.

Debbie’s design, Race Cars and Railways, commemorates legendary racing driver Graham Hill winning the 1962 Formula One World Championship with BRM, which was based in the town. Located on the site of Bourne East signal box, the border seemed a fitting place to also celebrate Bourne’s railway heritage.

A herb enthusiast with a passion for nature and re-purposing, Debbie takes a flexible approach to her work, offering a variety of design, advice and practical gardening services tailored to suit every individual need and budget.

“I don’t believe that ‘one size fits all’ as every garden is unique, as are my clients,” she says. “Since the outbreak of the pandemic, we have all spent increasing time at home so our gardens have become more important than ever. For those working from home, the view from the window is now a significant part of everyday life!”

If you want to create or enhance the garden of your dreams, Debbie offers her expert knowledge and practical help.

Whether you’re looking for a full makeover, or simply some inspiration, Debbie can help to transform outdoor spaces, be it contemporary, cottage or wildlife, by offering creative garden solutions, while also aiming to save maintenance time and money by ensuring the right plants are in the right place.

For more information find Debbie Cooke Creative Garden Design on Facebook or visit www.creativegardendesign.co.uk

Photographs: Mick Fox

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