‘Let’s drag the town into the 21st century’

Phil Shepherd
Phil Shepherd

Councillors in Horncastle are looking for ideas to ‘drag the town into the 21st century’.

It follows claims the town is missing out on thousands of pounds of income from tourism because it does not have an identity.

The comment was made by business owner Ben Smith at the latest meeting of the Town Council.

Mr Smith said Horncastle was regarded by many people as ‘just a thoroughfare on the way to Skegness’ .

His call for the council to draw up a positive marketing plan was backed by councillors.

Coun Phil Cantwell said: “Horncastle does have an image problem. There’s too much negativity. Visitors don’t stop here.

“We need to tell them. We need to drag ourselves into the 21st century.”

Mayor Coun Angela Birchall called for a public meeting at which people could put forward ideas to promote “all that’s good about our town”.

The comments made by Mr Smith have been echoed by other business owners and managers in the town.

Lynne Trollope, manager of the Fighting Cocks Inn on West Street, said: “It is about time something was done. I wouldn’t class this as a town at all. I would say it is a large village. On a Monday we close because it is like a ghost town. I don’t know why that is. You tell me?”

Lynne says she moved down to Lincolnshire from West Yorkshire to be closer to family and found it quite a culture shock.

She added: “We were in Little Gomersal. Although it was a village we found it busier. We also had celebrities.”

“If you go out here in the evenings you don’t see a soul on the streets. It doesn’t help with the shops closing on a Wednesday afternoon.

“It is so dated. This town needs to move forward.”

Phil Shepherd, manager of The Ship, in the Bull Ring, said: “This week has been really slack but everybody is in the same boat. There are lots of shops that are closing. The market is quiet. There were more people in the pub than in the town centre the other day.

“I get a lot of people coming in just passing through because we are on the main road - on their way to Mablethorpe or Skegness.

“We’ve wanted to put advertising on the side of the pub but the council won’t let us.”

Owner of Haltham Travel Group, Peter Stones, said having a larger supermarket could help keep business in the town.

He said: “There is a bit of tourism here in that people come for the antiques shops and we have the caravan sites. The biggest thing is that we don’t have a proper supermarket and people go out of town for their shopping.

“The Tesco here is small and I know a lot of people go to Lincoln or Boston for shopping. My wife goes out of Horncastle to do her shopping and I know if people go out and are using, say, Boston for its Tesco, they are more likely to stay in Boston town to do their shopping.

“It has a knock on effect.”