Thursday, November 12, 2009


I've just unearthed an interesting 1993 press release from Coun Dick Long (Wrawby), leader of Brigg-based Glanford Borough Council, in which he hit back at 'a small band' of people in our town for attacking what his authority's pedestrianisation scheme and total refurbishment of the Buttercross.
This information follows on nicely from the other day's posting about Brigg licensees objecting to the removal of through traffic and the way the pedestrianisation was being planned.
Dick, writing 16 years ago, said: "Millions of pounds are currently being invested to bring Brigg back to life as an attractive, high quality country town which people will want to visit and where they will choose to shop.
"Taking heavy traffic out of the narrow roads of the town centre is such an obvious first step as to be scarcely worthy of comment. It will create the conditions in which it is safe and pleasant to stroll in the Market Place and surrounding streets, to visit the shops, restaurants and pubs. The idea is scarcely revolutionary - pedestrianisation is happening in towns and cities up and down the country, with excellent results."
Coun Long said an impartial report by leading consultants suggested 60 per cent of trade which ought to be coming to Brigg was 'haemorrhaging away to other major towns such as Grimsby and Scunthorpe - not least because of the better supermarket facilities there'.
Turning to the Corn Exchange he pointed out taxpayers from all over the borough were subsidising it to the tune of £25,000 a year, with much more needing to be spent 'to get the building up to even basic public safety standards'.
Coun Long claimed Brigg had been 'in fairly steady decline' since the end of the Second World War in 1945 'and it has taken Glanford Borough Council to do something about it'.
Of the Buttecross, he said Glanford had, with the aid of grants from the European Commission and the Tourist Board, turned it from a 'vandalised, rubbish-strewn, unofficial public urinal into one of the most successful tourist information offices in the region.'
"The fact is that farming has changed dramatically and it is no longer necessary for farmers to come to market regularly," he continued. "Modern out-of-town shopping developments have made life difficult for town centre traders almost everywhere."
He ended by calling on everyone to 'get behind the efforts to bring Brigg back to life as an attractive and prosperous country town with a high quality centre'.
Coun Long was prompted to write in defence of Glanford Borough Council - a very unusual step - after publication in the local press of a letter from Edward Dodd, of St Helen's Road, former member of Brigg Urban District Council and veteran journalist with both The Star and the Lincolnshire and South Humberside Times.
"In his article Mr Dodd attacks planners, professionals, consultants, Glanford Borough Council and every councillor who does not live in Brigg," said Coun Long. "I think it is rather sad - everyone is out of step expect Mr Dodd and the small band of his fellow critics."
Yet, in defence of my former journalistic collegue, I'd add that the town was most certainly divided over pedestrianisation - with a large body of opposition - and very concerned about the Corn Exchange. Ted Dodd, and older Brigg residents, could remember when the town centre was much, much busier and feared radical change would make things worse - not that there was any chance of turning the clock back several decades.
I'd also point out that Ted had a point about the lavish refurbishment of the Buttercross, regardless of whose 'pot' the public money came from. Dick Long said of the building: "There is also a first floor function room available for letting to anyone."
That would be the small, lavishly decorated but tiny upstairs room with its magnificent chandeliers. There was also talk at the time of high quality crockery being purchased. I've been to just two small exhibitions on the top floor since the Buttercross re-opened. Which perhaps helps to demonstrate Doddy's point.
It was never going to be a facility enjoying regular patronage by the general public of Brigg...the ordinary man in the street.

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