Saturday 16th February 2019
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Words: Melanie Burton
Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the January 2019 issue

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Melanie Burton discovers exciting times on the horizon for the south Lincolnshire market town, with a whole host of improvements on the cards.

Lincolnshire County Council has recently completed a traffic survey of the town and looked at the five-light Market Hill junction, which is currently hard to cross, with a view to making some major changes to it to improve the pedestrian experience and improve traffic flow through the town.

It will also be looking at improving and adding to the walking and cycling network in the area all of which will be published in February for public consultation.

“This gives the opportunity to create a real centre for the town as well as boost trade and footfall in Holbeach,” said Councillor Nick Worth who is the county councillor for the Holbeach Division, as well as Executive Member for Culture & Heritage, Registration & Coroners’ Service and Fire & Rescue.

“This will likely be a big investment for Holbeach, on the back of the Food Enterprise Zone to the west of town that was recently granted a Local Development Order, meaning new businesses will not require planning permission as long as they have a tie into the agri-food industry.”

A final transport strategy is expected to be completed early this year as a result of a meeting at the end of 2018 between business, education, council leaders and bus operators, with the aim of prioritising walking and cycling, promoting public transport and supporting people travelling as part of their daily lives.

The meeting was organised by Councillor Worth to find out what effects the A17/A151 Peppermint Junction roundabout was having on traffic volumes in Holbeach town centre since it opened last December.

South Holland District Council has formally approved the local development order, giving planning freedoms for the 17-hectare Food Enterprise Zone (FEZ).

The Enterprise Zone consists of a development order designed to specifically support agri-food businesses, with a particular focus on the food technology sector.

The site is accessed by the new roundabout on the A151 and is directly linked to the A17 by the new roundabout at Peppermint Junction.

The local development order, which was supported by Defra, effectively grants planning permission in advance for a range of buildings and uses.

Orders such as this streamline the planning process by removing the need for developers to make separate planning applications within a defined site or area. The ambition is for the whole of the FEZ site to provide an agri-food hub for the district’s agricultural and food industry.

This would offer high-quality accommodation, business support, technology, education and training facilities.

Permission has already been granted on the site for the University of Lincoln to build a Centre of Excellence in Agri-Food.

Executive Member for Economy and Place at Lincolnshire County Council, Councillor Colin Davie, said: “Agri-food and food manufacturing are of enormous importance to the county. In fact, the food sector is our third biggest sector and contributes £2.5 billion every year to the area’s economy.

“By developing land for the Food Enterprise Zone, we want to support existing businesses, while also attracting those interested in investing and relocating to the county. And this is an important step towards that goal.

“The planning system can be complicated, but this new order will dramatically simplify things, making it easier to invest here. That should put Holbeach at the epicentre of the food production sector. It’s never been clearer that Lincolnshire is open for business.”

The University of Lincoln is due to start building the new Agri-food Centre of Excellence on the site which will be the first building on the FEZ. It will help bring new jobs and higher skills to the area and put a spotlight on Holbeach.

Councillor Worth said: “There is a huge amount of work going on in the background to bring new investment into the town and surrounding area, which has to be good news for the local economy and with some major changes planned for the town centre infrastructure, exciting times are ahead.”

Holbeach Parish Council is showing its commitment to improving the town’s appearance by carrying out repairs on one of its own properties.

A budget of between £6,000 and £10,000 has been agreed to update heating and roofing at the property in the High Street.

The work will be on top of improvements currently being made to the council’s offices at Coubro Chambers, in West End, Holbeach.

Government regulations concerning energy efficiency in commercial buildings made it necessary for heating and roof repairs to be carried out on the High Street property before it could be let out for rent. The work is set to begin this month (January).

Holbeach’s economy has been based on the food processing industry and bulb growing so there is no wonder that it is home to some of the UK’s top suppliers.

Taylors Bulbs is the UK’s leading producer of flower bulbs supplying pre-packed and loose bulbs to garden centres, nurseries and landscapers throughout the UK.

It has held the The Royal Warrant as Bulb Growers to Her Majesty The Queen since 1985 and this year the award-winning company is celebrating its centenary.

In 2018, Taylors won its 25th consecutive RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal for the Walkers Daffodil Collection and prior to that has been awarded the Garden Centre Association Associate Member of the Year award six times since 2008, as well as being voted Garden Industry Manufacturer Association Supplier of the Year three times since 2013.

Holbeach is also the base for the UK’s leading fresh prepared foods manufacturer.

Bakkavor makes a wide range of fresh prepared foods from ready meals, pizzas and soups through to salads, dips and breads.

It is also the largest producer of cream cakes in Europe, makes over 190 million ready meals every year and can take a potato from the field and convert it to ready-made mash within four hours.

If you shop in any of the major UK grocery retailers you are more than likely to have bought one of its products – but are less likely to be familiar with the company name.

This is because the vast majority of the products it makes are marketed under the own-label brands of its customers such as Tesco, M&S, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Asda.

The National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM) and the University of Lincoln, Holbeach Campus, which is a leading UK c entre for food industry innovation, education and skills development, is also located in the town and will be at the forefront of the new Food Enterprise Zone.

The importance of the food industry to the economy of Holbeach is well understood, with several major food processing and farming businesses including Bakkavor, QV Foods, DGM and Jepco amongst others based in the vicinity and directly employing many of Holbeach’s residents.

However, for food manufacturing businesses across the UK, Holbeach is synonymous with the University of Lincoln’s National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM). Some 250 businesses in the UK access the campus’ services annually, including major brands and major own label manufacturers.

As the largest manufacturing sector in the UK, food production accounts for 16 per cent of all manufacturing output and in Lincolnshire agri-food accounts for 24 per cent of all employment.

MEET, EAT AND ENJOY
Nestled on the High Street in Holbeach you will find owners Cormac, Sophie and Poppy O’Hara producing homemade creations at Caffè Aurora. Their menus offer a wide range of freshly prepared Italian Roast coffees, teas and cold drinks alongside their sandwiches and wraps, paninis and toasties, pies, quiches and soups. And if that wasn’t enough to tempt you they also offer a full breakfast menu and plenty of options for children.

They also offer vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options which is prepared in their kitchen using quality-tested produce and innovative recipes and all delivered in a modern, relaxed, very clean and extremely friendly coffee house style café. Constantly rated in the top 3 on TripAdvisor across the county they have also repeatedly been awarded 5* Food Hygiene since opening in 2015.

Great comfort, great food, great service awaits on High Street Holbeach.

Meet, Eat, Enjoy. Caffè Aurora – It’s not to be missed!

Caffè Aurora, 52 High Street, Holbeach

MEADOWS DAY CENTRE
The Holbeach unit dealing in preloved furniture was set up seven years ago to help bridge a funding gap. The money it raises helps to get local people the benefits they are entitled to and also goes towards funds for running the day centre in Spalding for local elderly people who need some support. This service is open to the residents of the Holbeach area with transport being provided on a Monday. Donations of good quality furniture are welcomed with free collection and everyone is welcome to purchase again with free delivery in the local area.

For any donations or enquiries please call Richard on 079 468 371 33 to arrange a visit. The unit along with the Pinchbeck unit is open Monday to Friday 9.30am to 3.30pm. A selection of furniture is always available and changing regularly so its always worth a visit to see what’s in store. The unit at Holbeach is at Fleet Road Industrial Estate PE12 8LA and Pinchbeck is Flaxmill Buildings PE11 3XN.

MARKETS
Towns grew up around the site of regular markets and many of today’s thriving communities owe their existence to the market in their midst. Holbeach is no exception.

It has had a market since 1252 when it was awarded a market charter by local baron Thomas de Moulton and now holds two weekly markets on a Thursday and a Saturday while the third Saturday of the month is given over to the popular Farmers’ Market offering a large selection of local produce.

The granting of the charter made it a centre for trade in the South Holland area. The prosperity from that trade helped pay for the 14th-century church of All Saints, built partly upon the foundations of De Moulton’s castle.

Holbeach businesses are represented by the Spalding & District Chamber of Commerce which continues to lobby widely for better infrastructure in the county.

Tel: 01406 490545

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