A TOP Government cabinet minister was in the area to observe and celebrate the ‘progress’ that was being made in Gainsborough, Hemswell and West Lindsey.
The Rt Hon Eric Pickles came to the district to see just how the community is working together to make a big difference.
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government said was keen to see how ‘localism and the big society’ policies were making an impact in the area - by visiting Hemswell, Marshall’s Yard and West Lindsey District Counil HQ.
Whilst in Hemswell, Coun Paul Howitt-Cowan gave a presentation highlighting the District’s unique position in having three former Ministry of Defence sites - including Hemswell, where much work is being done to help make the community more sustainable, but help is still needed securing land and buildings.
The first stop on his tour was a visit Hemswell Cliff Primary School where he was joined by Gainsborough MP Edward Leigh, WLDC leader Burt Keimach and other local dignitaries to open the brand new Hemswell Cliff ‘Room of Requirement’ which will be made available for community use.
After opening the new facility, Mr Pickles then toured the school to meet the children.
The library and meeting room was called the ‘Room of Requirement’ after pupils voted for the Harry Potter-themed name.
Speaking to The Standard, Mr Pickles said: “It’s a pleasure to see a school with so much heart and a commitment to the local community - and one that anyone would be proud to send their kids to.”
“They have done very well on integrating the school and community in opening it’s facilities in a safe way for everyone. Their ambition is impressive as well - When folks go away on holiday, I want them to be proud when they say ‘I’m from Hemswell and it’s a great place.’”
Mr Pickles also said that he was keen to put pressure on the MoD regarding the state of the former RAF facilities in Hemswell which he would like to see sold to the community, such as the Spar store which has fallen into disrepair.
“When I get back, I’m going to write a very strong letter - that Spar is right in front of a school and I would be pleased to see it sold off and tidied up.”
Gainsborough MP Edward Leigh agreed: “It is excellent that now Mr Pickles can go back to Whitehall having seen the dereliction and mess left by the MoD and pull some strings to do more to help the local area.”
“There have been problems with the MoD since they left Hemswell and West Lindsey are really trying to get to grips with approachable solutions.”
Headteacher Suzanne Scott said that it was a great honour to welcome the secretary of state to the school.
“We have 91 children here, and we have been telling them all about Mr Pickles and his work,” she said.
“It’s just such a great opportunity for us to show our lovely school off.”
She continued: “The children have been using the Room of Requirement for shared reading and for school council meetings. Local residents can also enjoy it now, as we’re the only public building in the vicinity, and what’s good for the community is good for the children.”
For more info and photos from the day you can visit www.gainsboroughstandard.co.uk