I read with interest about the new planned housing developments in our town, the vibrant and dynamic activity generated from the onset of Market Rasen’s involvement in the Mary Portas initiative and decisions such as our town council purchasing the land on Willingham road as a secured amenity for our town, are all indicative of a forward thinking community and should be supported.
The details surrounding these initiatives which will, without doubt, provide a well needed benefit to Market Rasen and the surrounding area, quite rightly instigate much debate. Where the housing is situated? How many? How will our services cope? What type of shops do we want? Are the rates too high? Want do we want to see on De Aston field? Can we fit a swimming pool? Can we fund a swimming pool? What about the future cemetery size? What about activities for the young people? Shouldn’t we be looking for activities so support the elderly?
This list of questions and suggestions will eventually morph itself into a specification outlining a need and an opportunity that is achievable and affordable.
What I fail to see in all of this activity is a coherent plan for this area that provides any opportunity for sustainable employment.
I personally despair when I recall the areas in this community that have been designated as “ Industrial estates” and how they have been managed. I have spent a great number of years involved in manufacturing.
A role in the eighties that, were you to be introduced at a social event and you responded, “ I’m involved in manufacturing of widgets “ when asked, what it was you did, you would have been looked down on in such a manner as to suggest that it was a shame you didn’t manage to achieve something better.
Had you been able to reply that you were,” Involved in financial services”, well what a glow you would have received.
Fast forward 20 years, my goodness. This world is now tripping up trying to court manufacturers and who is prepared to publicly admit that they have anything to do with the financial sector for fear of derision.
In the eighties I spent at least eight hours a week “working” with the local authorities over noise, fork lifts, radios, people chattering in a continual battle to keep our factory open in Pasture Lane. Our argument that this was an industrial site long before the houses on Anglian Way were built carried little weight.
Pasture lane is now a small island of industrial activity surrounded by a sea of houses. Next we developed Gallamore lane, which now, over time has become a defiant rump of industrial activity besieged by houses which, in the natural course of events, will shrink and be marginalised.
Where is the opportunity for growth here? It doesn’t exist. A forward thinking set of planners would have extended the industrial area along Gallamore lane but no, we built more houses that could have easily have been situated elsewhere.
This area with its large road and access past the main town was an ideal industrial site that would have provided a solid base to attract sustainable employment for our community.
Solid plans, offering ample housing opportunities, have been proposed in the past with the plan for houses around the Legsby Road racecourse area just one that was workable.
This is now all history and I can see that our window of opportunity to attract sustainable employment is fast shrinking.
I have attended many workshops, forums and groups who are happy to write down their wish list, swimming pools, more shops, parks, free parking, more markets, this list goes on but I have never heard or seen anyone call for industrial units.
I’m sorry, I know that out of choice we wouldn’t want to live near them but the days of hammering steel and smoke bellowing from chimneys has gone.
That said, we could be proud when we say that we have a vibrant industrial estate offering a variety of support services some producing widgets.
There is a planned industrial site going into the Humber that will need various widgets and services supplied as part of what it does. It’s not too far away and who wouldn’t rather live in Market Rasen, just one idea.
So please, dear decision makers, keep one eye on employment as well as the rates revenue from the houses. Remember, employed people pay more tax, spend more money in our shops and yes, buy houses.
Caistor Road, Market Rasen