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Words: Melanie Burton
Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the September 2019 issue

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The town has long been famous as a centre of the bulb industry, located within a major region of flower and vegetable cultivation. And as Melanie Burton discovers, it is continuing to grow in many ways.

There are many garden centres and plant nurseries as well as a thriving agricultural industry and various vegetable packing plants in Spalding.

But it also has lots to offer visitors with a number of historic buildings and local attractions for tourists to enjoy and a retail offer that is heaven for the discerning shopper.

There is a popular, reasonably-sized, market every Tuesday and Saturday and on the first Saturday each month a farmers’ market.

There are plans for a new relief road to help reduce traffic congestion in the town centre which it is hoped will help attract more visitors to Spalding thus increasing footfall and boosting trade for retailers and businesses alike.

Spalding is also home to one of the leading shopping and leisure destinations in the East of England which brings more than 2.3 million visitors a year to the area and it is about to expand.

Earlier in the year, Springfields Outlet owners, the Triton Property Fund, announced proposals for a major new investment in the centre through improvements on Camel Gate, on the site of the NFU Mutual building and the car park next to Travelodge.

The proposed new development includes 15 new stores for well-known brands; up to four new restaurants and cafes; 236 additional parking spaces, and the introduction of more electric vehicle chargers.

Springfields Outlet has secured an agreement with NFU Mutual to relocate their offices to a new site next to Springfields. Additionally, the new building for NFU Mutual will help to retain jobs in Spalding and provide them with modern offices. Replacement car parking will be built further along Camel Gate.

It is expected that around 350 new jobs would be created, adding to the 650 jobs already at Springfields.

As part of plans, Springfields will work with the local authority and other stakeholders to identify ways to further encourage people to visit Spalding town centre.

Ian Sanderson of SLR Outlets, which operates Springfields, has been involved with Springfields Outlet since the very beginning.

“2018 was undoubtedly our most successful year, despite the challenging retail environment nationally,” he said. “During last year new retailers including Joules, Jack Wills, White Stuff and The Cosmetics Company Store have all opened stores here. Also the new family attraction Adventure Land has welcomed thousands of people since it opened in the summer.

“South East Lincolnshire’s new local plan supports the proposed expansion of the retail offer at Springfields. In addition, we’ve had interest from a number of new high-quality brands, none of which have existing local stores.

“Springfields is small in comparison to other outlet centres in the country, but by extending we can further improve the overall offer, helping to attract more visitors to the area and in turn creating more jobs for local people.”

Set over 45 acres and offering more than 50 top brand stores, eight restaurants, a 58,000 sq ft garden centre and a 43-bedroom hotel, Springfields has a wide principal catchment area and is attracting an increasing number of tourists to Spalding.

Its Adventure Land attraction, which only opened last year, boasts the UK’s largest JCB Young Drivers’ Zone, giving children an opportunity to drive around in bright yellow pedal diggers. They can also enjoy the huge JCB slide, and scaffold-themed climbing frame, and let their imaginations take over on a range of interactive play attractions.

No wonder then that it was shortlisted by a panel of judges for the prestigious ‘Visitor Attraction of the Year’ category in the 2019 Lincolnshire Tourism Excellence Awards.

A huge number of entries were received for this year’s awards, which celebrate the hard-working people who make Lincolnshire such an attractive place to visit.

Retail director of Springfields Outlet,

Simon Stone said: “It really is an honour to have been shortlisted for these prestigious awards alongside such distinguished attractions as the International Bomber Command Centre, Lincoln Cathedral and Rand Farm Park.

“Springfields Outlet is unique because of the special combination of shopping, dining and leisure which provides an attractive destination for people of all ages.

“We are proud to be part of what makes Lincolnshire a fantastic place to visit.”

In 2018 Springfields welcomed White Stuff, Joules and Jack Wills to the centre and the latest businesses to set up shop there are Crew Clothing and independent retailer Starlings.

Award-winning toy specialists Starlings have three stores in Norfolk and one in Suffolk and its new 3,800 sq ft store at Springfields stocks a huge selection of children’s indoor and outdoor toys from top brands including Lego, Playmobil, Hot Wheels, Barbie, Fisher Price and MB games. There will also be an experiential Lego corner, allowing children to let their imaginations run wild and unleash their creativity.

Jonathan Starling, managing director of Starlings, said: “Springfields Outlet is such a popular family destination and with the major investment in Adventure Land it is a perfect location for our first outlet store and our first store in Lincolnshire. The popularity of Springfields Outlet allows us to bring our brand to a wide audience and at great outlet prices.”

British fashion retailer Crew Clothing opened a 1,980 sq ft unit in the heart of the scheme just a couple of weeks ago and boosts the fashion offer at the destination.

Ian Sanderson said: “The two new signings demonstrate significant ongoing interest in Springfields and further illustrate its resilience.

“As a destination, we are leading the way, demonstrating that the outlet is going mainstream, attracting top brands and delivering consistently successful results.

“It’s very rewarding to see brands demonstrating their confidence in the scheme and signing to open here. We’re looking forward to the coming months as we finalise exciting plans for the future at Springfields.”

Springfields is not the only outlet in Spalding which helps bring in the visitors.

Baytree Garden Centre also plays its part in attracting people to the area. With one of the biggest selections of plants anywhere in the country, most of which are home grown in Baytree’s own nurseries, 16 acres of retail units offering everything from furniture, antiques and crafts to clothing, bags and accessories as well as books, stationery, gifts and homeware, it is the ideal place for a short shopping trip or a day visit.

It also has a pets and aquatic megastore, a licensed restaurant and coffee bar and even has an owl and wildlife centre for visitors to enjoy.

Spalding is the major town in the South Holland district of Lincolnshire which is at the very heart of the UK’s agri-food sector.

As the name suggests, the district has had close ties with Holland dating back to the seventeenth century when the land was reclaimed from the sea, resulting in the fertile land both in and around the area.

Known internationally for its strengths in agriculture, horticulture, food manufacturing and logistics, South Holland is home to some of the biggest industry names.

All this is underpinned by a strong and adaptable supply chain of local companies that make up more than 99% of the total business count.

Confidence in the local economy remains high with investment in projects like the Food Enterprise Zone (FEZ) at nearby Holbeach, a relief road for the west of Spalding and exciting plans for revitalising retail opportunities in town centres.

There are currently a total of 3,465 enterprises in South Holland and more than 50% of jobs are directly linked to the agri-food value chain.

Food manufacturing is thirteen times more significant as an employer in the district than the national average, while transport and storage is twice the national average in terms of employment.

Everything for your garden party
We are a family business with a passion for going the extra mile. Our customers tell us we’re good at listening and helping them create a really great event.

Since we began in 2013, we’ve been a key part of trade shows, village fairs, garden parties, open days, proms and countless weddings with our Marquees, Party Tents and the country’s largest collection of Traditional Garden, Fete and Carnival Games. Tilly is passionately innovative and has created a unique range of products and services to complement everything from a rural barn wedding to a Gatsby inspired Gala Ball.

From weddings to well-known high street brands, our experience and transparency gives customers confidence in our ability to get the job done right, first time, on time.

Everything starts with you telling us your vision and we’ll explain what we can do to help. Give us a call on 01775 711137. We’re listening.

Power station expansion
The £100 million expansion of Spalding Power Station is now complete, giving it the capacity to provide electricity to nearly 1.5million homes.

InterGen, which owns the West Marsh Road site, announced in July that its new 300 megawatt (MW) natural gas-fired Spalding Energy Expansion project had achieved commercial operation.

Constructed in partnership with Siemens, Atlantic Projects Company and Darke Engineering, the project began construction in March 2018 and comprises one Siemens F-class gas turbine in open cycle configuration, resulting in a highly flexible peaking plant that will provide essential back-up for renewable sources of generation such as wind and solar.

The Spalding Energy Expansion secured a 15-year capacity agreement in the T-4 December 2016 capacity auction.

The project is the first and, to date, only large scale thermal project to secure limited recourse financing and be built based on a capacity market award.

Jim Lightfoot, InterGen’s CEO said: “We are delighted that the Spalding Energy Expansion project has achieved commercial operations safely, ahead of schedule and within budget. 

“This plant will play an important role in providing essential power and system services during periods of peak demand. “

Recruitment with Integrity
If you are looking for a partner agency to help you with recruitment in the South Lincolnshire area contact Integrity Plus Ltd based in Donington near Spalding.

Established in 2005, the agency specialise in permanent and temporary staff for businesses in all sectors.

With the highest professional processes, GLAA licence and REC membership, Integrity Plus Ltd can be relied on to adhere to exceptional standards of operation. Confidence in their service has seen their business grow significantly in recent years.

As South Lincolnshire is a hub of food manufacturing and logistics, so it follows that a lot of temporary and permanent vacancies fulfilled by Integrity Plus Ltd are within this sector but not exclusively. Their permanent recruitment team cover a wide range of vacancies including technical management, logistics, fresh produce, engineering, HR, sales and accountancy.

Integrity Plus Ltd work with discretion and source relevant candidates through a multitude of channels and personally pre-interview any applicant.

Relief road planned
Plans are in the pipeline to help ease the problem of traffic congestion in Spalding and make the town a more attractive proposition for tourists, workers and residents alike.

A proposal to construct a new relief road for the town has been backed by Lincolnshire County Council.

The Spalding Western Relief Road is designed to encourage growth, reduce delays and congestion, improve journey times and support increased walking, cycling and use of public transport.

Karen Cassar, assistant director of LCC Highways, said: “This is great news for the people that live, work and travel in and around Spalding.

“Now that planning applications have been given the go-ahead, we are one step closer to making a start on building the new relief road.

“If we receive a positive response from Government, we’ll carry on with completing detailed design and obtaining legal orders, with a view to breaking ground on the north section this winter and the south section in 2022.”

The northern section of the road will be funded via a £12m Housing Infrastructure Fund contribution with the remaining £15m being funded by Lincolnshire County Council.

The south section will be paid for by developer contributions and county council funding, both of which are still being identified and secured.

Funding for the relief road’s central sections isn’t currently available. However, a feasibility study is currently being undertaken, looking into a number of route options.

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