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 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.
What needs to be done ?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Would need support from the local member of parliament, N.H.S., Lincolnshire County Council, West Lindsey District Council and Caistor Town Council.
- 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.