Businesses air concerns as key Quadrant meeting date looms

Boston Chamber Quadrant meeting. Chestnut Homes' David Newton and Neil Kempster with Simon Beardsley and Harry Drury

Boston Chamber Quadrant meeting. Chestnut Homes' David Newton and Neil Kempster with Simon Beardsley and Harry Drury

Concerns have been raised over the impact of the Quadrant on town centre businesses amid claims trade in Boston is already struggling.

During a presentation to businesses and residents at the Assembly Rooms, Chestnut Homes managing director David Newon and land and development director Neil Kempster relayed the findings of a business report carried out by Signet Planning.

The Quadrant plans contain a supermarket, hotel and retail units.

In the presentation Mr Newton said the report found 80 per cent of the planned supermarket’s custom would come from within a 15 minute drive.

About 25 per cent would come from the new housing development, visitors to the stadium and those living outside of Boston.

In terms of ‘convenience goods’ he said that Asda could have a ‘17 per cent impact’ which equates to £7.775m of its project £45.67m turnover.

The report states Tesco could suffer a 20.7 per cent (a loss of £8.723m).

Mr Newton said much of the shopping could end up being ‘top-up’ shopping.

In terms of other goods it was thought the impact on the town centre would be no more than a two per cent loss.

He said that there was a forecast additional growth of consumers expenditure could reduce it to 0.8 per cent.

In terms of ‘leisure’ he said the retail area would primarily provide support services to the stadium and a large proportion of turnover would come from visitors.

He said the report had found Boston had a ‘good range of bars, restaurants and premises’.

He felt there would be no significant impact and instead cited ‘significant economic benefits’.

However, Matt Clark, the owner of the Assembly Rooms disagreed.

He said: “That is absolutely incorrect. Walk around town and see how many there are and how many have closed. There’s not a huge demand for leisure anymore in this town.”

He questioned the number of people the site was predicted to draw and compared it to Springfields which he said ‘had ripped the heart out of Spalding’.

He also asked what would happen if the site didn’t attract interest from supermarkets.

Mr Newton reaffirmed that that was the one and only aim at the moment and that they would only look again if no interest was forthcoming.

He said Springfields was different in that it had a variety of shops which drew visitors out of town.

Pescod Square manager Andy Pottle pointed out that the 100,000 sq ft retail section was bigger than Pescord and Oldrids.

He said: “I have worked in the town centre for a number of years and over the last five years the footfall has gone down 18 per cent. Our car park is on its knees.

“I’m not against the development and the football stadium but in terms of the commercial aspect I do have serious concerns for Boston as a whole. Despite what people say Boston is going through a pretty difficult time.

“We need that development, but within half a mile of the Market Place – that’s where our town centre is.”

He later told The Standard there needed to be a ‘serious conversation’ about the retail aspects of the plans.

Chestnut Homes’ Neil Kempster said the report was a viable assessment which showed it was an ‘appropriate level of investment’.

All eyes will now fall on the special planning meeting on August 5, at Haven High Academy. Applications to speak at the meeting can be made from 10am July 28. Those interested should call 01205 314226 and request an official registration form.




Back to the top of the page