Plans for town centre eyesore

Facelift in the offing? The properties at 17-19 Market Place, Sleaford. EMN-170619-141200001
Facelift in the offing? The properties at 17-19 Market Place, Sleaford. EMN-170619-141200001

Restoration work could begin on one of Sleaford’s long-standing eyesore buildings within a matter of months, according to owners.

Detailed plans for alterations to the properties at 17-19 Market Place have been submitted by owners and building restoration experts J. Hodgson and Son of Carre Street, with future plans indicated including a cinema complex and further shopping units to the rear.

It would see new shop fronts and minor rear storage extensions to the Italian Connection and India Garden (19 and 19A Market Place) and creation of a new shop front in the neighbouring former Co-op Homemaker building (17 Market Place). To the rear of that would be another ground floor shop unit, with offices, storage area, two flats and a maisonette on the first and second floors of the buildings.

To the side of this, an alley would lead to the rear of the buildings as part of a grander scheme yet to be put forward within North Kesteven District Council’s Heart of Sleaford project.

The project looks to revitalise that part of the town centre, linking it via a footbridge from Money’s Yard,and including new access from Bristol Arcade where three more shop units could also be added in future, subject to planning permission.

A spokesman for J. Hodgson and Sons said this application was specifically for the shop fronts and rear storage areas. He said: “This application is trying to smarten up the front and back of the two restaurants. We are trying to get the building as close as we can to how it was when it was originally put up.”

No. 17 was originally a draper’s shop and house dating from 1825. He said: “We have spoken closely with the conservation and planning officers together with the Economic development team at NKDC and they have been extremely helpful and proactive in pushing the project forward.”

If permission is given it is simply a matter of fixing contractors to start.

There are more interesting plans on land to the rear.

The company spokesman said: “The plans are only indicative but that is what all parties want to see there. It all hinges on finding funding.

“We would like to preserve some of the cellars of the old Buttermarket that stood under the rear of the Corn Exchange (the site of the two restaurants).”

This would see the cellars incorporated into three more units. He said the NKDC officers had been supportive of this too. On land directly behind the old Co-op store a two screen cinema is proposed.

They hope to have Listed Building consent for these additional schemes before Christmas.