How to help Caistor’s economy

Analysis by Roy Schofield

Why is Caistor’s economy so vulnerable and what should be done about it ?

 

Caistor’s Economy

Caistor was for many years the administrative centre for the whole North Lincolnshire area and was head of a rural district, a county court district and also a petty sessional division, instituted in 1890. All births, deaths and marriages for the Great Grimsby, Caistor and Market Rasen Districts were registered in Caistor until 1936.

Caistor Rural District Council had its offices in Caistor providing employment and supporting a whole range of shops and businesses. It was the biggest employer in the town with a chief executive officer and his staff running a wide range of services for the town and the district.

Following local government re-organisation in 1974, Caistor RDC was abolished and the urban districts of Gainsborough and Market Rasen, together with rural districts of Caistor, Gainsborough and Welton, were merged to create a new authority called West Lindsey District Council with its headquarters in Gainsborough, 27 miles away from Caistor.

This was a devastating blow to Caistor’s economy from which it has never recovered. The growth of ‘out of town’ supermarkets also contributed to the decline of the town, although this situation was ameliorated to a limited extent by Lincolnshire Co-operative Society and its predecessor’s grocery store in the Market Place

The Caistor RDC council offices, council chamber and depot in Mill Lane (the former depot is pictured below) still remain empty after more than 40 years! Surely it is time that situation was rectified and central government should bear its share of responsibility. No thought was given to the effect on Caistor’s economy and had it not been for the Townscape Heritage Initiative, the Multi Use Centre and the Arts and Heritage Centre, the situation would be considerably worse than it is today.

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What needs to be done ?

  1. The old council offices and council chamber off Southdale and depot in Mill Lane should be demolished. They were built to a standard which is no longer acceptable today. The land occupied by them would become brownfield sites available for development.
  2. Some years ago a planning application was approved for the old depot site but that development has never materialised. This site should be re-evaluated and made available for housing or commercial use.
  3. The old council offices and council chamber are located next to Caistor Health Centre and that site could be used for extensions to the health centre or preferably build a new medical centre which would enable a better and greater range of services to be provided for a rising population.
  4. Another Townscape Heritage Initiative. Phase 1 was very successful but did not go far enough and lacked sufficient funding to complete the process. Phase 2 would enable other property owners within the designated area to apply for grants to help refurbish their properties.
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The former council offices should make way for a new medical centre, suggests Roy Schofield

The Project

Would need support from the local member of parliament, N.H.S., Lincolnshire County Council, West Lindsey District Council and Caistor Town Council.

It would:

  • Clear derelict and sub-standard empty buildings created as a consequence of local government re-organisation in 1974, making it available for new investment in the town.
  • Create employment during the design, development and construction phases, bringing money into the town.
  • Provide a ‘state of the art’ medical centre which will bring major investment in to the town. It will create new jobs, provide new services and reduce the number of hospital visits.
  • Provide sites for housing and/or commercial use close to the town centre. A potential boost to the local economy.
  • Encourage property owners in the town centre to improve their properties and use local builders/contractors to carry out the work. This will create more jobs and add value to properties in the town.

    Top picture: A beautiful market town – but Caistor’s economy needs help.

8 Comments

  1. Bruce Curtis

    Good ideas but it won’t come off, no BIG money to be made for a few individuals.

    Reply
  2. JS

    What a very nice idea, however all the places in which he suggested we needed help from i.e the nhs and WLDC have no money! Caistor needs to attract private investment but because caistor town council and older residents are so against new ideas or big corporate firms moving in caistor basically has a black mark next to it. Everyone comes up with these rosy ideas but no one has the cash to put their money where their mouth is. A good example is the wolds lodges, he was desperate to invest in caistor with his log cabins, and how long did it take for caistor town council to finally decide that actually it was a investment in caistor which will actually do it some good. The money thrown at caistor in bloom, walkers are welcome and caistor civic society should be stopped and put towards these ideas that Mr Schofield has come up with instead of these ‘community’ groups that only 10% of the population of caistor actually care about.

    Reply
  3. Rosie May

    A “Picture” is worth a thousand words. What a beautiful scene.

    Reply
  4. Brian Ward

    From what I see of local issues being recognised at higher levels these days, a Town Council is a toothless beast, composed mainly of self centred individuals plus a sprinkling of the few who really try to achieve something, eg Caistor in Bloom. At WLDC level, who on earth has ever found a Council employee with brains or the will to achieve anything, before they take their cushy pension, having collected generous expenses along the way, and never having made a decision?

    Roy’s ideas are, as always, sensible and would serve the town well – but how on earth could they be brought to fruition? His perseverance in other areas is well known – are there people out there who can help to make these wholly sensible ideas work in practice?

    Reply
  5. Roy Schofield

    Thank you all for your comments. There is money out there but it needs pressure from you, the town council, the district council, the county council, your member of parliament and others. It is capital budgets that will pay for this type of work and someone somewhere sets those priorities.

    With regard to ‘Townscape Heritage Initiatives’ they mainly fund the ‘Heritage Deficit’ and the property owner funds the remainder.

    I would urge you to write to your councillors and your member of parliament. The more you write the more they will listen. Don’t forget to vote ‘Yes’ at the referendum for the Caistor Neighbourhood plan on 28th January. This will bring more power and control to the local community and is the first step in a long chain of events to ensure that Caistor continues to prosper.

    Thank you for your support.

    Reply
    1. Chris Carver

      I would love to write to my councillors, but the Town Council seems reluctant for us to do so. Our only point of contact is the Clerk who is supposedly overworked, so we get castigated if we contact her. Catch 22?

      Reply
  6. Rob chapman

    Hum!! I think you need to be offering the postman royalties, as this delightful picture is fast becoming the epitome of an idyllic Caistor scene,

    Reply
  7. Stewart Wall

    Thank you for liking the photograph Rob. I took it a couple of years ago. The postman really liked it and I gave him a complimentary canvas of the photograph.

    Reply

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