Don’t get me wrong, although living in Ryhall, I am a Stamfordian through and through, and living in our fantastic town has so many plusses, that my observations here need to be taken with balance.
But as I get a little older I look around the town and wonder if councillors/businesses see the same things as myself?
So here are mine, and I would be interested to hear readers’ thoughts . . .
1 Double yellow lines all the way along St Paul’s Street and down to High Street up as far as the pedestrian precinct. This area is an absolute nightmare when pulling out of Broad Street every day of the week.
2 The removal of the taxi rank that makes Broad Street on Thursday Friday and Saturday nights the property of taxi companies, not the ratepayers. Make them park in High Street if necessary, where there is no through traffic, again a nightmare at weekends.
3 Outdoor seated eating and drinking areas in High Street as part of the restaurants that provide food and drink. Furniture to be supplied to an approved quality agreed by the local council.
4 Same in Red Lion Square, with a sizeable, all-weather flatscreen TV that covers news during daylight hours, and occasional special events and sporting occasions.
5 Not the council’s area, but a High Street pub would be great, again with outdoor seating.
6 Encourage, not discourage, boutique hotels. Try booking a room from Wednesday onwards in Stamford, let alone the weekend. We need to make Stamford a destination to visit and “stay awhile amid its ancient charm” not one you can’t get into. The new William Cecil hotel will help on this.
7 Coffee shop/ice cream/bar adjacent (or on) The Meadows area. I realise flooding maybe an issue, but so is litter on any summer evening, from cans/bottles etc.
8 A proper arts week, away from the traditional festival week. We have two theatres and can put events on outdoors, with great artists, over nine nights, catering to a wide range of audiences.
9 Find the budget for a truly spectacular set of Christmas lights. To everyone’s credit these have got better, but still need to go a step or two further.
10) Finally, and probably most controversially a JD Wetherspoon public house in Stamford.
This may not be popular with publicans and restaurateurs, and I can understand why.
My take is every other small, popular market town has one . . . and it is another option (low-cost food and drink) that is hard to find in the town . . .
Beer festival, food festival, what else would add to our great mix, or are the majority happy with what we have got?
Like I say, I love our town, but I reckon these would add to the great experience of living here, and attract visitors and interest to Stamford that would see benefit to all.
What do your readers think, and do they have any improvements they would like to see?
Rutland Way, Ryhall.
A recent educational review and discussions in high places have pointed out that it is people’s perception of Stamford Queen Eleanor School that deters some parents from sending their children there. There has also been a suggestion that the perception is based on where it is rather than what it is. I would like to offer a number of suggestions of my own as to how we might help to change things in a way that would hold QE in a more positive light.
Access could be from the north of the school. This means the construction of a much-needed relief road from east to west which would provide many more benefits than access to the school.
Burghley wants to resite Stamford Town Football Club. Resite it off the relief road near to QE so that the school has access to the facility and its coaching staff.
The rugby club need a new clubhouse and changing facility, along with pitches, a dual use rubber crumb and 3G training pitches.
The town survey revealed a desire for a tank swimming pool.
A four tennis court size sports hall would double as a hall for five-a-side, basketball, volleyball etc as well as an venue for such things as antique fairs, film shoots and shows of various types.
Have a trouble-free skate park with a BMX track and put some of it indoors.
Build an energy-from-waste recycling centre to provide the heat and light for the facilities.
Landscape the whole area so that everyone has the opportunity to run, walk, cycle around the area.
Even put in an outdoor green gym so that those of us who are getting on in years can do a bit of anaerobic exercise.
I could go on but I can already hear people saying it will be impossible. Impossible for one man, yes, but not for a determined community. Not if business people can see opportunities in it. Not if educationists can see the added value and enrichment to academic studies. Not if voluntary organisations can see the worth.
I recall a line from the film Field of Dreams “Build it and they will come”. As with any major project there are of course many difficulties to be overcome but there are also starting points and there are people and organisations who would be willing to get involved and see if such a scheme could be put together. You might have already recognised a European model here but what town wouldn’t want to emulate Barcelona, what parent wouldn’t want to send their child to a school with access to those sorts of facilities?
If QE can achieve an outstanding Ofsted grade to follow its 2007 and 2010 good grades then it will be heading in the right direction but until that time when such excellence is achieved the statutory rights of our more able children must be maintain through the scholarships to the endowed schools.
Lincolnshire county councillor (Ind),
Drift Road, Stamford