Town’s picture is positive
Bright ideas and a liberal dose of entrepreneurial spirit are injecting extra life into the historic market town of Bourne. With Christmas rapidly approaching, shoppers and visitors are being encouraged to check out the latest developments on the business scene and catch up with some real movers and shakers.
The town’s £2.4 million pound Wherry’s Lane improvement project, with its living accommodation and shop units, is on track for completion this autumn and has already been attracting good interest.
Recent business arrivals have boosted services on the edge of Bourne and independent and niche traders have been playing ‘Monopoly’ in the town centre.
At the same time there is a drive underway to recognise Bourne’s great motoring history, with plans for a town trail – which is exciting news in the wake of the crowdpulling BRM Celebration Day in October 2012.
And, in the face of the uncertainty facing libraries countywide, it is great to note that Bourne’s – which is now under the management of South Kesteven District Council – appears to be safe for the future.
Bourne Town Clerk, Nelly Jacobs said: “I think Bourne as a whole is doing quite well compared to other similarly sized towns. We have had new businesses open, others have moved into more appropriately-sized accommodation and, of course, there have been some closures, but overall the picture is positive.
“Bourne maintained its Silver Gilt status in the East Midlands in Bloom competition, although we were disappointed that we dropped some points. However, we gained points for our community involvement and we are hoping to do better next year with more input from local businesses.”
Bourne is now gearing up for a lively Christmas season, which will kick off with the switching on of the town’s lights on 30th November.
Back on the street, it is good to catch up with those trading at the sharp end, who have been sharing their stories of success and growth.
Claire Saunders of holistic, fitness and beauty studios ReNU has fulfilled an ambition by moving into her own premises.
Claire, who until recently was based in rented accommodation in West Street, moved her team into the former Marquis of Granby pub in Abbey Road, after transforming the premises into a swish centre which has allowed her to offer customers more services.
A spokeswoman said: “We have much more space than previously and have created a better layout for our beauty rooms, fitness studio and ladies-only gym. We have also installed a fast-tanning sunbed and new instructors have joined us and are offering Iyengar Yoga, the GI Jane Bootcamp, T’ai Chi, indoor cycling and other classes.
“Our new location has given us a much higher profile and also helped to attract new customers. The Attic Hair Salon has also moved into our new site.”
One of Bourne’s latest arrivals is Sassi’s in South Street, and customers should prepare to be greeted by a bright blast of colour when they step through this café’s doors.
Sassi’s is the brainchild of Amornrat Haugheon and offers locals and visitors a tempting taste of both Thai and British foods, with dine-in and takeaway options.
“This is my first business and I felt there was a gap in the market to offer people a flavour of authentic Thai cooking,” said Amornrat.
On the wall is an eye-popping display of strikingly colourful paintings by Lincolnshire artists which diners are able to browse and buy.
Amornrat, who is being helped by family members, including her sister and daughter, along with her son when he is not at college, starts her day early and trades from 7.30am to 4.30pm six days a week.
Earlier this year Amanda Fowler decided that it might be worthwhile to move her business a few yards down the same street and she is very glad she did.
Amanda, who runs Buckles & Bows, which was tucked deep inside Angel Precinct, moved into a larger unit at the entrance to this popular mall which leads into Crown Walk, so that she would have more space and a window overlooking bustling North Street.
“I switched premises in April because I wanted a presence on North Street and I gained more space at the same time. My move has allowed me to expand my ranges and stock new brands of bags and shoes,” said Amanda.
“I am attracting more footfall. People don’t forget you, so this move has been good for business and I am attracting shoppers from Stamford, Spalding and Peterborough, as well as local residents.”
The incredibly popular Angel Precinct is also home to Wild Heart Music and Café and ArtisAnD Framing and Art. Simon Burn opened Wild Heart Music in Angel Precinct about nine months ago and his wife Sally followed hot on his heels by opening the café in the summer.
“We always wanted to have a music shop and a café and it was intended that the cafe should come first, but it happened the other way around,” said Sally, who explained how they had knocked two units into one to create their ideal premises.
Both Simon and Sally, who are from a traditional catering background, are delighted that everything has taken off and that one business naturally complements the other, because people can enjoy browsing and buying instruments and then linger over coffee and cake.
“We sometimes do lunchtime acoustic sessions, where people can listen to music and eat, and we would like to expand this idea into evening bistro-style sessions in the future,” said Sally.
Art lovers in search of originals and limited editions should not miss the chance to pop in to ArtisAnD Framing and Art where owner Andy Rossiter, who also sells work by local artists such as Edward Waite, is happy to source individual requirements for customers. Andy is also the person to talk to if you are looking for a framing specialist who can tackle anything from an embroidery which requires stretching, to a valuable piece of artwork or a treasure which requires a box-frame. Andy can work to museum standard.
Other favourite stores in town include family jeweller Hoppers – a business which was started in 1926 and which is now in its fourth generation. The business is a popular place to find everything from smart watches to diamonds and gifts.
Jeweller Moore & Scrupps, which sells a wide range of popular brands, also has a branch in Bourne, where an expert is able to carry out valuations for insurance and probate purposes.
Mushrooming development on the Peterborough side of Bourne has seen the opening of another petrol station for the town, complete with an onsite Budgen’s store. These are close to Elsea Park and opposite The Sugar Mill pub. Now McDonalds is seeking planning permission to put up a new restaurant and drive-thru in this part of town, signalling the promise of sixty-five new full and part-time jobs, provided planners give the green light.
The phenomenal growth of housing at Elsea Park and Abbeyfields has been good news for many businesses, encouraging new ideas and entrepreneurial moves. A good example is the Cherry Holt Garden Centre where owners Jackie Markley and her sons Kevin and Chris are doing far more than simply supplying gardening essentials, sheds, summerhouses pergolas, fencing and landscaping services.
The Markleys, whose team includes carpentry and joinery apprentice, Tom Edwards, have taken a really creative approach to maximising the potential of their 1.45 acre site in Cherry Holt Road.
A building in front of the garden centre will hopefully get South Kesteven District Council agreement for a change of use, allowing a prospective tenant to invest in creating a twenty-seater café, with extra summertime seating outside.
Lincolnshire Removals is already based onsite and the garden centre also offers its own general storage facility. BS Motor Trading Ltd is about to begin selling new motorbikes from the site and Nitrosport UK is expected to move in and start selling remote control cars, helicopters and bikes, before Christmas.
Kevin Markley said: “We want to complement Nitrosport’s sale by setting up a remote control vehicle track where these vehicles can be tried out and we should have this ready to go in the New Year.
“We are also really keen to encourage more entrepreneurs, which is why we are going to create seven mini shops within our centre and let these spaces to individuals, at affordable prices, and give them the opportunity to run their own small businesses.”
About £10,000 has been splashed on Bourne Leisure Centre, giving users more good reasons to keep fit. The gym in the pool and leisure facility, which is open to the public seven days a week, has been kitted out with new equipment. New lighting has also been installed and the swimming pool has undergone repairs.
South Kesteven District Council’s portfolio holder for leisure and arts, Councillor Bob Adams said: “Work carried out includes new flooring and lighting in the gym and it has improved the leisure experience for users of the facility.
“The work is part of our ongoing priority to promote leisure, arts and culture throughout South Kesteven.”
The Queen’s Road centre boasts a leisure pool with wave machine and beach, a fully-equipped gym and sports hall.
BRM TOWN TRAIL
Bourne Academy is leading the way in an exciting drive to develop a special Town Trail designed to educate more people about its great motorsport history.
When Bourne held its British Racing Motors (BRM) Celebration Day in October 2012, Academy pupils were amazed to learn about its ‘famous son’ Raymond Mays and the town’s strong motor racing roots. So, together with the BRM Association, Bourne Civic Society and Bourne Preservation Society and support from the Town Council, the school has co-ordinated a bid for Heritage Lorry Funding, to increase awareness.
The school’s Community Links Co-ordinator, Isobel Copley said: “The idea is to create a BRM Town Trail, which will run from Baldock’s Mill to the former BRM site in Spalding Road – now used by Delaines buses – which people will be able to follow and see where the BRM factory was based. Some buildings are still there.
“The trail might take the form of bronze plaques in the pavement and we would run a competition between our students and others from the Bourne Grammar, Bourne Abbey Primary, Westfield Primary and Willoughby Schools, to decide the design of the plaques,” said Isobel.
“We are also keen to put together a living history element in Baldock’s Mill (which already contains a lasting exhibition about Raymond Mays) in the form of plasma screens which will hopefully feature interactive videos.”
Bourne Academy pupils do media studies and can make videos as part of their coursework.
“This is very much a town project, but we are co-ordinating it and we are hoping to hear the outcome of our bid before Christmas and be able to run this project from January 2014 to 2015.
Bourne Academy has 1,200 students, including 200 sixth formers. Its latest results reveal that sixty-eight per cent of its students attained 5A* to C grades in their GCSEs, including Maths and English. The school’s pass rate for A-level students rose six per cent to ninety-eight per cent.
Bourne’s £2.14 million Wherry’s Lane improvement project is on course for completion. The new look Wherry’s Mill and adjoining apartments and retail units are now for sale and letting.
Work on this Bourne Core Area development started at the end of last year and will have taken less than a year to finish. The project has involved the complete refurbishment of Wherry’s Mill and a new building, featuring ground floor shop and commercial units and ten apartments, has been constructed next door.
The Wherry’s Lane development is the first stage in a much-wider regeneration scheme, which will include the creation of an area of serviced land which could be used for future development. As we went to press, we learned that the four apartments in the mill itself had already been sold and that there is significant interest in the new build homes.
South Kesteven District Council leader, Councillor Linda Neal said: “I am certain that, before long, there will be no apartments left for sale and businesses will be banging on our door to let these prime town centre units.”
JOIN THE CLUB
New faces have recently joined and strengthened the membership of Bourne Business Club, reflecting the growth of local enterprises and organisations.
As the town welcomes new businesses and the Wherry’s Mill development – which will feature seven retail units as well as apartments – more traders and organisations are showing an active interest in the Club.
Chairman Paul Ross, of wealth management consultancy Landmark IFA Ltd, who has taken on two new employees over the last couple of months, believes the Wherry’s regeneration project will be good for the town. He also said it is good to see the Business Club expanding.
“More people are starting to talk about the club. It is very friendly and businesses and organisations are discovering that becoming a member is a good way for them to promote their products and services. We now have getting on for sixty members,” said Paul.
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