A Message from the Mayor: Gainsborough Pound could ignite trade

Last week’s Standard featured Gainsborough Town Centre Partnership’s proposal to bring our town centre back to life with a bid for a £100,000 grant from the Government. I wish them well.

Friday, 24th February 2012, 4:30 pm

Recently I learned of a similar situation faced by the historic market town of Lewes in Sussex.

They were losing trade to out of town shopping centres. In 2008 the town’s retailers fought back by printing the Lewes Pound for use in the town’s independent shops.

People soon got to like the idea of town money. They issued 30,000 one pound notes in the first year.

There are 10 Lewes Pound issuing (exchange) points and over 150 traders in the town and surrounding area currently accept the notes.

The Lewes Pound even makes a surplus which goes as grants to community groups. The cost of the scheme is modest, most of it going on printing the money, posters and flyers.

People love the idea of showing loyalty to their town by using the notes. It will certainly promote trading in Gainsborough and strengthen the town’s economy because the money stays in the town.

So come on Gainsborough why not give it a try. Let me know if you think it’s a good idea.

The Lewes pound features Tom Paine as their foremost historical character and their ancient castle.

The Gainsborough pound could feature the Old Hall and Sweyn Forkbeard the Danish king who made Gainsborough the capital of England in 1013.

We are fast approaching the millennium so it seems to me to be a good time to put Gainsborough and Forkbeard on the map with our own pound.

Meanwhile I hope the Town Centre Partnership are successful in finding sponsors for lots of hanging baskets in our town centre in this her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee summer.

I’m working with West Lindsey District Council to try and provide public clock in our market square in time for the Diamond Jubilee.

It is some years now since we had a working clock in our town centre.

Harry Clarke