Calls to transform Horncastle’s historic Market Place into a pedestrianised community facility have met with a largely positive residents and visitors.
Town-based businessman and charity worker Paul Scott revealed his vision for the future of the Market Place in the Horncastle News last month.
Mr Scott said he believed the site should be made traffic-free and the current pay-for-parking bays scrapped.
Instead, he wants to see the Market Place landscaped with seating, sculptures and information boards - highlighting Horncastle’s rich history.
He also believes the new-look Market Place could stage community events, including concerts, markets and festivals.
Mr Scott suggested local traders could sell their goods from stalls in a ‘Mediterranean-style cafe/market culture’ - particularly during the summer.
He also indicated funding for the renovation could largely come from grants, including the EU.
Gemma Ward (25) said she thought Mr Scott’s ideas were ‘brilliant’.
She added: “At the moment, the Market Place is something and nothing.
“It’s just a car park - and a place for kids to gather at night and sit on the memorial.
“To be honest, so much more can be done with it and it would be really good to see more events there.
“People come out for the markets and the So Festival so why not hold a few more things like that.
“I’d like to see more live entertainment - especially music.
“The trouble is, I suppose it would be the same old fuddy-duddies who would complain.
“They seem to want to hold this town back in the dark ages.”
Steve Collinson also backed the idea of a new-look Market Place and explained: “I’ve only lived here five years but Horncastle doesn’t make the most of the many attractions and features it has.
“At the moment, visitors come off the by-pass - if they bother to stop - and then struggle to find somewhere to park.
“There a lack of clear signs. When they see the Market Place and all the pigeon mess, they probably drive straight back out to the by-pass.
“If the Market Place was landscaped and made a real focal point, it would big help.
“There could be a few trees, a few benches and some boards pointing people to all the interesting buildings - things like the Roman Wall.
“It’s got to be worth a go. I suppose, as ever, it all comes down to money.”
Sally Wright said she thought Horncastle was ‘just as pretty’ as many rival towns which were more established tourist locations.
She added: “I’m sure if you moved Horncastle to the other end of the country, a lot more would be made of it.
“People just think there’s antique shops and nothing else. There’s the river, the history. the heritage...some great cafes and restaurants but what is the main feature of the Marker Place? The bus stop. It just about says everything.
“I’d like to see the Market Place made to look a bit more welcoming but they’ll never do away with the car parking.”
Alec Driver said he felt Mr Scott’s ideas were ‘unrealistic.’ He said: “All the councils are cutting back so they aren’t going to throw money at something like this.
“Anyway, we can’t afford to lose the car parking that’s there at the moment.
“It’s the only place you can park and pop into the bank or a local shop- without one of the wardens sticking a ticket on your screen.
“As for music and festivals, there’s surely much better places than the Market Place. What about the sports field off Coronation Walk or The Wong? They’re hardly used.”
Anne Charlton said she had ‘mixed feelings’ about the proposals.
She added: “I and my husband are disabled and if we come into Horncastle it is nice to park in the Market Place, do our shopping and sit on the seats for a few minutes.
“If we had to park further away, we’d probably go somewhere else.”
Teenagers Paul Storey and Mark Jackson said they would like to see something in the town for their age group.
They added: “There’s nothing going on and kids get bored and just hang about.
“I think the Market Place would look really good if they didn’t have the cars.
“You could have music, places to sit and chill. What about a fountain? That would be neat.”
Mr Scott said he had received lots of positive feedback and was adamant any concerns and issues could be overcome.
For example, he admitted businesses were worried about access for deliveries but said special bays could be introduced at set times of the day.