Cllr Richard Davies explains the county council’s role in the district council-led scheme.

Cllr Richard Davies, executive member for highways and local member for Grantham West, said: “Since starting on-site earlier this month, we’ve received countless queries from residents and businesses about the Grantham Market Place project, most which have been anything but positive.

“With that said, I’d like to take the opportunity to set the record straight on a number of questions and concerns people have raised to us.”

The project’s background and our role

Cllr Davies said: “I want to reiterate that the Market Place project is solely funded by South Kesteven District Council and that we advised against it in its current form. Despite this, the district moved ahead with the scheme anyway.

“Our role in these Market Place works has always been as a delivery partner, which means the district chose us to turn the project they dreamed up into reality. We assisted in the technical element of the project, or the how. We can’t answer for the why.

“Despite our differences in opinion, we’re committed to helping ensure the Future High Street Fund money the district council received is spent as outlined in their bid to central Government. If it’s not spent, it must be sent back to central government, no questions asked.”

Completion date

Cllr Davies said: “When the project was announced earlier this year, we were planning for it to take five months to complete. But, now that we’ve got a contractor on-site with a detailed programme of works, we’ve brought the end date forward.

“We’re still less than a month into the works and there are still some risks we need to overcome, but, all being well, we now expect to have the scheme completed by the middle of August.”

Traffic management and disruption to businesses

Cllr Davies said: “Unfortunately, the nature and timescales of this project mean a full closure of Market Place, Narrow Westgate and Conduit Lane is the only way to safely carry it out. Although this is far from ideal, the safety of our workforce and members of the public comes first no matter what.

“We’d hoped the district might have engaged with local businesses about the scheme before taking it forward. This would have provided valuable insight into how the proposed plans would affect their trade. We also hoped more information would have been shared with businesses earlier so they could better prepare for the disruption caused by construction.

“With that said, hopefully the district council hears my plea for supporting a rate reduction or rate relief for directly-affected businesses. This would help mitigate any economic hardships thrust upon them due to the district’s improvement plan.

“In the meantime, we’ll continue doing our best to help businesses however we can. This includes placing more ‘Businesses open as usual’ signs and removing some of the bollards in the area to improve access for deliveries.

“All I really want to do is try and get the best outcome for my residents and the businesses that serve them. If we can do something to help soften the blow, that can only be a good thing.”

Workforce size

Cllr Davies said: “We’ve also received several queries asking why we don’t have more construction staff working on-site. The answer is simple – having more people wouldn’t actually speed things up. This is because the site itself is quite small and all of the planned works need to be carried out at specific locations in a specific order.

“More staff at this stage would be a waste of money and would no doubt lead to people asking why we have workers standing around without anything to do.”

Moving forward

Cllr Davies said: “As with any other road project not funded by us, we’ve left all of the communications and engagement with the scheme promoter to manage. However, businesses and local people still feel in the dark about the works so the county council will now be taking control of keeping people informed.

“Starting in early June, we’ll be publishing a monthly progress update on our website with information about recent achievements, upcoming works and any changes to traffic management.

“I also want to remind local businesses that we now have a dedicated public liaison officer for the project who will continue serving as your main point-of-contact for any construction-related queries or arrangements. Her name is Joanne Plews, and she can be reached on 07768 940187 or [email protected].”

For more information about this and other major highways projects, visit