A local contractor looks set to have been awarded the role of making the town’s Heart of Sleaford cinema and restaurant project a reality.
The Heart of Sleaford Regeneration Scheme is North Kesteven District Council’s plan to develop a £4m three-screen cinema and public food court on redundant land behind buildings fronting the Market Place that used to be the old Corn Exchange and Butter Market.
By acquiring neighbouring land, the scheme would further link to Bristol Arcade and via a new pedestrian bridge over the River Slea to Money’s Yard, creating public open space and improving circulation of shoppers.
At a meeting in private due to financial and contractual sensitivities, NKDC’s executive board councillors agreed to waive the normal tendering rules in order to select Sleaford-based specialist developer Robert Hodgson as prime contractor co-ordinating the construction of the cinema and restaurant development, subject to compliance with an agreed procurement framework that will be included in the contract.
As land owner, Mr Hodgson’s company is also currently restoring the shop fronts of the Market Place site and creating shop and business units behind.
He felt unable to comment at this stage until details and paperwork were signed off.
The council has committed £4 million to the cinema project in a decision earlier this year.
Work has since been proceeding on the design concepts for a planning application and a selection process will take place to find a cinema operator. No opening date has yet been scheduled.
On announcing the extra investment to increase the cinema from two to three screens to make it more commercially viable, leader of the council, Coun Richard Wright, said: “Local people continue to tell us that they want a modern multi-screen cinema and this proposal will deliver that as a central part of a major economic boost to Sleaford town centre.
“It is a game-changer for Sleaford and a massive investment for the whole district.”