Improving A British Market Town

Tempting people to come to a town for a Staycation can be difficult when it's residents themselves are battling parking charges, ratruns, lethargic authorities and absentee landlords.
Classic Stobart artic negotiating ornamental white fenced Bain car park bridge To some extent it's arguable that the wasteful hippy generation didn't know what they had - with railway stations and canal links in every town. The move to cars, and roads for heavy transport, put interminable stresses and dangers into pedestrian lives. The noise, particulate pollution of diesel engines and just the physical crowding of narrow streets made them into dire straits.

aftermath of pedestrian knockdown on crossing with doctor and police in attendence

Getting any change is usually difficult with vested interests and Councillors rarely living in the Towns they're supposed to serve. The Human Condition of putting up with stress and dis-satisfaction for 85% of the time, as long as there's 15% Jollies to be had later, is also a subtle invisible barrier to fresh ideas.
That's why if I had to outline ideas for improvement I'd probably have to start with:

7.5Tn Limit or Pedestrianisation.

That doesn't mean excluding cars, especially disabled badged vehicles. (But then we're all disabled and incapable of walking 100 yds into a town center from a car park.) The Jubilee Bypass just isn't working while there's an easy rat run still through the town. Changing the surfacing and including    street furniture , with a speed limit and weight limit for delivery vehicles would open up the town to shoppers, as it does on Lincoln City's High street.Stanhope Memorial in center of Market Square I'd envisage the market short term parking remaining unchanged, with occasional parking bays the length of the High st to West st. It would also mean relegating the double-deck buses to the bay on Jubilee Way, with the provision of a new West bound stop, thus cutting around 30 miles a day from their commutes, and keeping the large diesels away from the shoppers lungs.

Spruce Up The Center-Piece

As I said to the girl sent from Manby this morning to promote the area (on a market stall), the Arabs take great care to look after their minarets and towers. If we're going to have something osten-tatious in the middle of Horncastle then a scrub, and painting the metallic top bronze, of the Horncastle center piece would do wonders for the town center. While they're at it, they could install wifi in there to make the Market a hotspot area; and maybe a 360° webcam to put the town more firmly on the Web. Speaking of 'web', it's not hard to find thorough surveys going back to the dawn of Google. Many culture centers and towns realised they relied on tourism to an extent and instituted common sense plans to keep themselves    welcoming and pleasant .

North - South Bypass

ambulance blocked by narrow impasse

Yes, that's a blues and twos stuck waiting for a long line of traffic to use the (narrow) pavements to make a space. The A153 wouldn't be carrying so much traffic if the Lincoln turn-off was better signposted, past the Golf club to the North... what are the odds..? With a cut through the bizarre folly of Hemingby Lane park to give a bridge over the Bain into Tesco from the North - and an egress onto Prospect St to the Lincoln Rd, no-one need sit in queues ever again...or is that part of the 85% Hell you need to make another 15% of your life Heaven?

Utilise Office Space Currently Vacant

Vacant is a kind word; dereliction is probably more apt, with several High st names having empty space between the years. Allowing council offices, currently housed on North st, to share-space / rent-space, would allow the Job-centre back into the heart of Lincolnshire, or give the Library facilities a better building. Just having these 2nd and 3rd floors with clean windows, painted and maintained, would be a boon to the town. One or two high street names keep large 4 storey, multi-roomed buildings, semi-derelict at a time when Josef Publicz is being penalised for having an extra broom cupboard. Perhaps a tax on office space would fit in with the lean bean counters that inhabit our tax offices, or so we're lead to believe.

Paying For Their Jollies

This isn't a pop at authority - it's outlining the policy of being able to take out a rake of 18 rated dvd's tonight for free - well, not for free; actually You'll be subsidising my jollies tonight from the library. Since when did 18 and 15 get confused with 'E' for EDUCATIONAL - which is, I thought, what Libraries were for... The fact that 3 very good dvd shops in the town have had to close since Council Tax became a euphenism for Adult Entertainment, shows the policy of libraries to be somewhat populist and mis-guided. This also goes for the Internet; by all means have a couple of research computers in there, but 6 machines used almost exclusively for Facebook, Heavy Rock videos and Gaming, isn't perhaps what Carnegie envisaged when he helped bequeath the British Library Structure. The fact the town is crying out for a decent internet cafe / amusement complex / creche, should make the removal of tax-payer funded half measures all the more urgent.


Police roadblock in Bullring of the town

It's as though keeping 4 or 5 vital shops from opening in the town is much preferable. Yes, libraries should be somewhat sacrosanct, but not if the eye is taken off the ball regarding the costs, abuse and effects on the towns they're supposed to be serving. Now that the 'internet' has all but rolled out, and everyone and their Grandma has a web enabled phone, it isn't at all cost effective to tax-payer fund freebies. Especially when the council can't be bothered to download    Flash  to the computers / keep the software (licence) current / keep them clear of malware. It'd be much better all round to have an IT enthusiast open his shop / cafe dream.

Ooops, too late...

As we can see, the ability to buy cheaply from the web (fewer overheads) is affecting these High St brands, how long before the library succumbs to the market forces being 'kindled', excuse the pun. Some interesting essays have cropped up since library closures were mooted, questioning the very premise of    Govt. intervention , and the devestating financial effect of    giving away  works.

Other Groups working for better towns are somewhat of a mixed bag:
  action for market towns  reporting on successes around the country, with some high profile ones having large catchments and / or a wealthy resident base. Would that the     Town & Country Planning Association   be as realistic, hands on and less quango-ish...bearing more than a glancing resemblance to this    Corporate Generator  site...
The welcoming & pleasant Insights essay linked to earlier still as relevant as when the groundwork was layed in the late nineties, and hopefully as inspiring as ever. It's been known since before the dawn of the age of the Newtowns, like Milton Keynes, just exactly what makes a healthy and happy town experience. I hadn't seen this    BBC News  report on Cardigan's successes prior to writing my tuppence worth here, but alot of peoples' wishes seem to be close to common sense.

In The Year 2525..

....or manaña as the pueblans say, meaning 'in the morning, when they can be bothered, when circumstances permit, when Siesta's over'. Moving into 2016 and Horncastle is dying on it's feet; both greengrocer's selling up, a jewellers, cafés, 3 or 4 licensed premises all closed.
They will complain it's 'footfall', and council parking charges, and, and....And I've neved seen any of these shop owners shopping in Horncastle to any extent.If they needed provisions for their business, the Cash & Carry and out of town Supermarkets got their trade. And they all have super-lovely cars (from their pricing & rates holiday) Grandfather was one of the first Co-Op manager's, yet a humble Austin A35 was all he ever ran. And they all actively avoided the internet or filling in a Free search engine business page, whilst Skeggy & Lincoln light-up like illuminations after a 'Lincolnshire+*' search... So maybe there's a few lessons there about marketing, helping Horncastle and one another, instead of miser-able practices. What could the next business owners do for Horncastle...

v.small animated critter eating stalks

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