A businessman has accused West Lindsey District Council of “neglecting” Market Rasen after new figures have been released showing a ‘dramatic’ decline in the town as a retail centre.
In 2007 Market Rasen was ranked in 1,540th place compared with other shopping centres - but by 2014 had sunk to 2,010th place, out of approximately 3,500 visited by inspectors.
In 2011, Market Rasen high street was ranked just 2,289th place.
The data shows the town’s £100,000 grant as part of the Portas Pilot scheme reversed the trend for one year, but it is now falling again.
Businessman Adrian Campbell, who owns documentary firm Planes TV, in King Street, says he made the shocking discovery as part of his research in his campaign against car parking charges.
Mr Campbell told the Rasen Mail: “I noticed in the draft [Central Lincolnshire] Local Plan how well Gainsborough was reported to have improved, from 611th place in 2007 to 354th place in 2011 and I was looking for evidence against car park charges and wondered what the equivalent figures for Market Rasen were.
“They are quite devastating and underpin what Rasen’s shopkeepers are always saying, that the town is dying.
“Parking charges can only make it worse surely?”
And Mr Campbell said something needed to be done to tackle the decline of the town centre.
He said: “It’s a dramatic decline.
“It’s really serious.
“West Lindsey District Council have had Market Rasen drop officially and dramatically.
“It shows our local authority is neglecting the town.
“I was born in Market Rasen, I love the place.
“Someone somewhere needs to do something about this.”
Back in February West Lindsey District Council announced it had set aside funds to support a multi-million pound investment in Gainsborough - where its main offices are based.
Council leaders backed a regeneration delivery plan, involving key partners, which could see £18 million invested in the town.
The council said the investment demonstrated it was committed to strengthening the town’s ability to improve and promote the riverside location to attract commercial developers.
And that it was committed to creating a mix of quality accommodation, a marina and new retail offers designed to entice families to relocate to the Gainsborough area.
A council statement, released in February, said: “It also heavily supports other initiatives already running in the town including the Governments first flagship Housing Zones to encourage the speedy redevelopment of sites known as brownfield land.
“It is hoped it will be a catalyst to help regenerate Gainsborough, bringing with it 750 new homes.”
In a statement to the Mail on Tuesday afternoon (May 10), West Lindsey District Council leader Coun Jeff Summers said the authority would welcome futher discussions on the matter.
He said: “The council likes to work with all partners including the town council and business and would welcome further discussion with key partners.”
At the time of going to press, Market Rasen mayor John Matthews had not responded to a request for a comment.
What do you think about Market Rasen high street?
Do you use the shops in the town centre?
Let us know on Facebook at facebook.com/rasenmail or email firstname.lastname@example.org