‘Landmark gateway’ bid

The corner of Station Road in town where there are plans for a new leisure and retail complex by Melbourne Holdings. EMN-161005-091605001

The corner of Station Road in town where there are plans for a new leisure and retail complex by Melbourne Holdings. EMN-161005-091605001

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A major new shopping and leisure complex could transform the southern entry to Sleaford town centre if plans get the go-ahead.

Melbourne Holdings have announced plans to refurbish and redevelop the buildings from 82-90 Southgate, as well as a section of building on Station Road to form retail space and three first-floor apartments in the scheme described by the developer’s architects as a ‘landmark gateway’ to the town.

An architect's view of how the redeveloped shopping and food complex could look at the southern end of Southgate in Sleaford. Courtesy of Robert Doughty Consultancy. EMN-161005-105840001

An architect's view of how the redeveloped shopping and food complex could look at the southern end of Southgate in Sleaford. Courtesy of Robert Doughty Consultancy. EMN-161005-105840001

The company has owned the buildings since 2008 and says the timing of tenancy agreements has prompted it to review their condition and usage.

Property manager Jane Thomas believed the designs fit the aspirations for regeneration of this part of Sleaford proposed by the district council in its masterplan.

She said: “The intention is to phase the development, starting with the old Job Centre as it stands much by itself.”

The redevelopment of the main building would follow later in consultation with current tenants. The majority are on short term leases or units are vacant, said the developers.

According to plans submitted to North Kesteven District Council, the main series of buildings on the corner of Southgate and Station Road, from Darmon’s Bar to the It’s So Me boutique, is to be redeveloped, with the old Job Centre building on Southgate to be refurbished inside and out.

Mrs Thomas said: “I would like to start sooner rather than later, as soon as we get planning permission. There will be a discussion with each tenant to see what they want to do. If we get the concept agreed and know who is interested in taking it on we can probably tweak things.”

She added: “It is the first parade of shops you will see when you enter Sleaford from Grantham Road and London Road and from the station.”

The refurbishment of the old Job Centre building will see the two existing shop units remain, with the Job Centre becoming two extra retail units. Upstairs would be converted into three apartments.

The vacant motorcycle shop around to Darmon’s Bar would be rebuilt to create a new shopping centre with a striking, three-storey tower at the corner reflecting the art-deco style of neighbouring buildings. A food court with up to three food outlets would be within the open plan foyer, leading into a plaza of four more retail units plus ‘market stall’ central sales area. On the first floor would be another five retail units around a balcony and the second floor could be used as a function room or restaurant.