Horncastle Federation of Small Businesses accused of ‘scaremongering’ by town council

West Street in Horncastle which Coun David Roark says has been transformed by new shops opening

West Street in Horncastle which Coun David Roark says has been transformed by new shops opening

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Councillors in Horncastle have hit back at a local business organisation and accused it of ‘scaremongering’ about the state of the town.

Flo Moore, chairman of the Horncastle Federation of Small Businesses, wrote to the Town Council raising a list of concerns.

The letter was discussed at a meeting of town councillors last week.

Although the exact content was not made public at the meeting, Mrs Moore has made the letter available to the News.

In it, she says: “Horncastle is experiencing a sharp decline in ‘footfall’ on its High Street. Many local businesses are concerned.

“I have been asked to contact the Town Council and ask what you are doing to help the town.”

Mrs Moore went on to list a number of concerns including graffiti, dirty and broken signage, uneven pavements, poor road surfaces, dog mess and vomit not being cleared away.

Coun Linda Baker asked whether Mrs Moore was representing the views of all town businesses.

Coun Matthew Wilkinson said the letter created an unfair impression of Horncastle and claimed it was ‘scaremongering.’

Coun Wilkinson claimed the letter only added to the ‘negativity’ surrounding Horncastle and was not helpful and added: “My question would be what is the Federation doing themselves?”

Councillors listed several positives about the town and said a number of issues raised by the Federation were being addressed.

Coun David Roark said Horncastle had less boarded-up retail premises than most other towns.

He added that West Street - formerly a ‘dead end’ - had been transformed by new businesses opening.

Mayor Coun Sandra Campbell-Wardman said: “Businesses are struggling, but people can’t blame the town council if a business closes. Horncastle is a unique and beautiful town.”

Speaking after the meeting, Mrs Moore denied she was being ’negative’ by raising issues, and was actively trying to do something positive to improve the town.

She is contacting all businesses to ask what they think about the condition of the town.