What do you really think about Horncastle?

Horncastle Market Place. EMN-150810-132657001
Horncastle Market Place. EMN-150810-132657001

Do you think Horncastle is boring, unattractive and unkempt?

Or, do you think it’s beautiful, bustling, tidy and well serviced?

Whatever your thoughts, Horncastle Town Council would like to know.

The council has teamed up with the local History and Heritage Society and the town’s Business Federation to produce a survey.

It follows claims that Horncastle needs dragging into the 21st century and is missing out on lucrative income from tourism as a result.

The survey features questions ranging from ‘How well does Horncastle meet yours and your family needs?’ to ‘Where do you see Horncastle needing the most improvement?’

Anyone who completes the survey also has the chance to comment on a number of issues including ‘What impression has Horncastle made on you?’ and ‘What events would you like to see in the town?’

Town clerk Gillian Mauger explained the survey was designed to see what people really think about Horncastle.

She added: “We want as many people as possible to fill in the survey.

“It doesn’t matter what age they are or whether they are residents or first time visitors.

“All the feedback from the survey will be taken to a ‘three-way’ meeting between the Town Council, the History and Heritage Society and the Business Federation.

“If there are suggestions about how we can improve Horncastle then we will take them forward.

“It could just be about marketing the town better. Is it a market town? Is it an antiques town?

“We have to start somewhere and that’s the idea of the survey.”

The survey has been drawn up with the help of local businessman Ben Smith who addressed a recent Town Council meet about Horncastle’s image issues.

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

He said the town was losing out on potential revenue and business from visitors.

Mr Smith also called for the council to draw up a more positive marketing plan - designed to make Horncastle more appealing.

His comments were immediately backed by many other residents and business leaders who spoke to the News.

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.”

Other business owners said the town lacked a major supermarket and some blamed car park charges for driving business away.

Resident Mark Fowler said: “If you visit Horncastle on a Sunday or most evenings there’s no-one about.

“The place is deserted.

“You go to other towns like Louth and there’s a lot better buzz around the place.

“You’ve only got to look at the empty shops to see Horncastle is struggling.”

Pam Carter said she, her family and ‘all her friends’ shopped out of Horncastle.

She added: “There isn’t the range of shops any more. A lot of the traditional businesses are closing.

“If you park up for a couple of hours, you’re back at your car in 20 minutes because you’ve seen everything.

“I know they’ve just re-vamped Tesco but it’s still not as good as most of their stores.

“Something needs to be done because Horncastle is dying.”

Teenager Lucy Johnson said there was nothing for youngsters to do or to keep them in the area after they leave school.

She added: “I don’t know what the average age of people living in Horncastle is but it must be 40 or 50.

“It’s stuck in the Dark Ages. That’s why young people move away.”

However, several residents contacted the News to say they like Horncastle as it is.

Ian Stephenson said: “Why the need to change? People live here because it is quiet - it is a traditional market town.

“There’s a low crime rate and people are friendly. You feel safe on the streets.

“We’ve friends in a town in Yorkshire where they’ve built new houses and there’s lots of crime. Do we want that?”

○ The survey is available on line at http://linkz.mobi/sm/HorncastleTownSurvey.

Alternatively, copies are available at the town library.