Community spirit, beautiful surroundings, a transformative Town project, and residential involvement in the community are just some of the reasons the town of Caistor has become such a desirable place to live.
This is according to local authority leaders for the area, after recent media coverage demonstrated that the town’s housing market is thriving, with many people seeking to live in such a “fantastic community.”
Cllr Angela Lawrence, Vice Chairman of West Lindsey District Council and a Ward Councillor for the Caistor and Yarborough ward area, believes that being a part of a self-sufficient community is a major attraction for the town.
She said: “Many residents who live here never have to leave the town, if they so choose. We have an excellent amount of local and quality shops, highly-rated schools, and an incredible amount of history, heritage and leisure attractions.
“We have a self-sufficient, proud community who look after each other, and that spirit envelopes itself everywhere. For instance, when the Talbot closed down – one of our well-known local public houses – one of our major local businesses in the area stepped in to save it from being knocked down completely. This is because of the awareness of how proud our community is of the area around them, and the need to get involved with being part of that community spirit.”
That Caistor community spirit is shown clearly with the example of 2-4 Market Place. Following the building becoming surplus-to-requirements, and the buildings no longer having a business within them, local residents themselves have come together to plan the future of the listed buildings.
Cllr Owen Bierley, also a ward councillor for Caistor and Yarborough, added: “The community are now at an advanced stage with deciding what is next with this project. This is hugely encouraging and the council will support local residents throughout the process. Some of the building is now out-of-bounds, and is not fit-for-purpose, but I know there is a deep desire to bring the building back into life once more.”
The turning point for the town however, came in the form of a Townscape Heritage Initiative which took place ten-years-ago, similar to the one currently being planned in the town of Gainsborough to begin this year.
This was the transformative turning-point with the benefits still being clearly seen today, according to the Leader of the Council, Cllr Bierley.
He said: “Caistor went through this restoration project on the town and it completely transformed it. I do believe that the scheme was completely transformational, and the benefits of it are still in evidence today.
“The success of the Saturday market for instance, and the incredible amount of local, independent shops – which sell products that people can buy no-where else – this has all come on leaps and bounds since the work was done in the town centre. I believe this was incredibly important.”
Local Councillor, Cllr Michael Galligan – who has worked on the town council for almost 20-years - echoes those thoughts, particularly on the strong community spirit - and he also believes that the town’s pride in its surroundings is a major attraction. He added that keeping the town clean and tidy and free of litter were of paramount importance.
Key buildings such as the former Magistrates Courthouse – now a charity shop – and the old Methodist Church – now an Arts and Heritage Centre – had both been renovated and are now seen as major assets within the town, Cllr Galligan remarked.
He added: “I can give you many examples of this magnificent community spirit. From May to the end of October the town is adorned with beautiful flowers all planted up and maintained by Caistor-in-Bloom volunteers– where people come together to help make the town look attractive for residents and visitors alike. One of our local builders, James Leadbeater of Rustic Construction Ltd is a prime example of this wonderful community spirit; for instance, he fully sponsors and makes many of the lovely flower planters that adorn the town. This together with his father Phil who is about to turn 80-years-old, and also sponsors and maintains a beautiful flower bed within a key location of the town, is inspirational.
“When Caistor is in bloom, it is incredible. I am a true believer that community spirit is key, when everyone comes and “pulls on the oar together”, things happen, and Caistor-in-Bloom is a massive example of that.
“By-the-way, we have an incredible amount of volunteers with various other groups such as Caistor Lions, Caistor Cares, Caistor Goes…, Caistor Community Cinema, all of which help to produce overall better results and shared goals for the town – particularly so during the global pandemic. We have up-to 60 volunteers delivering food parcels – including meals-on-wheels; - you would have to go a long way to beat the community spirit of Caistor.”
Local volunteers – including Ernie Allison who does major work at the local Sports ground maintaining the cricket field – and Mike and Pam Cluff, who founded the Caistor Amateur Theatrical Society and recently won a West Lindsey Community Award, as well as Neil Burkes – who also won an award for his contribution to the Environment in Caistor – demonstrate this abundance of community selflessness further.
It is all of this combined that all three councillors believe will see Caistor thrive as a community and as a town over the next few years. This community social togetherness, they believe, will make Caistor a better place for residents and tourists to work, live and play.
Cllr Galligan remarked: “People have seen things improve and now they have joined in in that enthusiasm. Nothing flourishes more than success – and we are beginning to see more and more people become inspired by the great annual incremental improvement in our lovely town.”
For more information on the plan for the future of the town, and for further reading, please visit the Caistor Neighbourhood Plan.
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