Horncastle needs a ‘spruce up’ to attract new visitors

Graffiti on walls and a boarded up shop window - is this the image Horncastle should project EMN-151214-130411001
Graffiti on walls and a boarded up shop window - is this the image Horncastle should project EMN-151214-130411001

Horncastle should ‘spruce itself up’ before it looks to lauch a promotion drive to attract tract new visitors .

That is the view of town councillor and business owner Phil Cantwell.

He was commenting on a recent survey to discover what people really think about Horncastle.

It follows concern that thousands of potential visitors by-pass Horncastle on their way to either the coast or Lincoln without being aware of the town’s attractions.

Councillors are considering putting up new signs on the main approaches in a bid to lure people.

However, Coun Cantwell said certain parts of the town needed to be improved ahead of any promotional campaign.

He admitted some shops and other premises - including some in the Market Place area - did not present a very positive image.

And, speaking at a town council meeting, he also called for a more sympathetic approach from planners towards business owners who wanted to improve their premises.

Coun Cantwell said: “I am all for bringing in more people but we have to ensure everything is right.

“Derelict and empty shops don’t present a good image.”

Coun Cantwell revealed one business owner wanted to replace his shop windows but was facing a ‘horrendous bill for thousands and thousands of pounds’ because of planning regulations.

He added planners had also insisted he used a certain paint for his own new premises costing £60 a litre, instead of the ‘usual’ £15 a litre.

Ben Smith, who put the survey together for the council, said more than 200 people had responded.

He revealed answers to questions indicated residents were proud to live in a ‘historic market town’, while many visitors had indicated they ‘liked Horncastle’.

Mr Smith revealed there were calls for more community events - including a gala - but only 18 per cent of people had indicated they were willingto volunteer to help.

Councillors have already baulked at spending around £4,000 on four tourist information signs. However, they did vote to set up a committee - including Mr Smith - to look at improving communications and the way the town is marketed.