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‘Politics is killing local initiatives’

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MR BIG has slammed Market Rasen Town Council, saying in a major report that “Local politics is killing local initiatives.”

The attack comes in a 24-page ‘Review and Strategy Report’ to record the business improvement group’s second year.

“Our District Council (WLDC) is engaged and supportive. However, we also have to deal with a Town Council that has a legacy of red tape and limited public support. Many of our projects cross over with the Town Council delivery in terms of public expectation. In addition, many of our initiatves require Town Council Support to proceed.(E.g Markets and green/gardening projects). Our Community Interest Company was set up in response to a failure of vision and delivery within this bureaucratic system. But now we are subject to (and limited by) their support and approval in many of our key projects.”

The report noted other issues affecting the group’s work in improving Market Rasen.

“The challenge of absentee landlords and high business rates is scuppering growth.”

Many Rasen properties were owned by landlords based outside the area making it hard for MR BIG to work with them on matters like investing in their Rasen properties.

“Additionally, some of our longer serving businesses struggle with high rates, set when the market was previously buoyant. It has been beyond our existing capabilities to tackle these deep rooted and complex issues.”

MR BIG also said it faced troubles with a lack of resources and volunteers, saying volunteering was its “Achilles heel” and “our volunteer board is exhausted.”

Nonetheless, MR Big was looking ahead with a change of focus.

“MR BIG believes that our group’s scope must expand from the High Street to encompass a broader agenda of regeneration and growth for our town.”

Future strategy included attracting new businesses to Market Rasen, improving the town’s offering to tourists and other vistors, and improving the technology in the town, such as encouraging businesses to offer wi-fi services to customers.

“We want to attract new business into our town. Specifically we want to draw in high ambition start-up businesses, successful freelance and SOHOs (single office/ home office) as well as any satellite operations of any established, network businesses.”

Mr BIG chair Sara Scott said the report was ‘retrospective’ and MR BIG looked forward to better relations ahead with the town council.

“We are collaborating on a project around markets and we’ll have to see how that goes.

Some of our councillors are positive and supportive, a few remain resistant,” she said.

 

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