Precinct poised for major refit

The Riverside Precinct, Sleaford. EMN-150818-112758001

The Riverside Precinct, Sleaford. EMN-150818-112758001

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A Sleaford shopping precinct is in-line for a £500,000 makeover if planners give it the green light.

Lincolnshire Co-op, which owns the Riverside Shopping Centre, is keen to breathe extra vitality into the pedestrianised precinct, off Southgate.

The proposed shop unit layout for the Riverside Precinct. EMN-150819-105140001

The proposed shop unit layout for the Riverside Precinct. EMN-150819-105140001

The work which involves the modernisation and extension of the centre would be carried out in two phases.

The Society’s agents, Banks Long and Co, have confirmed that a planning application has now been submitted to North Kesteven District Council, for the proposed alterations after announcing their intentions earlier this year.

This follows discussions between the firm, Lincolnshire Co-op, architects Framework, and the council’s planning and economic development officers. It is hoped councillors will agree to the proposals designed to breathe new life into the precinct, where a number units have stood empty for months.

Banks Long and Co director James Butcher said: “We want to begin the first phase of work – which will cost over £250,000 – as soon as possible after the grant of planning permission. The aim is to inject fresh impetus into this important development, which is made up of 17 retail and office units, plus some first floor flats.

“The phase one proposals include opening up the central courtyard area, by removing the existing bandstand, a display unit and the colonnades fronting the shops along the southern side of the development.

“The idea is to improve these shops substantially by removing the existing, dated cladding on the front of the units and revamping them to create a more modern contemporary environment for shoppers.

“The second phase of the work will see the extension of the western block of the centre to create a large anchor unit to attract a strong retailer, that will act as a draw to shoppers from Southgate and the Sainsbury’s car park to the rear.

“We are at an advanced stage in discussions with a national retailer interested in taking this and another unit in the centre, which would be great for both shoppers and the existing retailers within the centre,” said Mr Butcher.

“We’re phasing the work to ensure that it causes the minimum possible disruption to the existing retailers as well as shoppers.”

Lincolnshire Co-op’s Senior Estates and Property Manager Liz Welbourn said: “We expect the first phase of work to take about 13 weeks to complete. Existing Riverside businesses will be able to continue trading as normal throughout.”