Commercial prospects for Sleaford currently look very healthy if the level of interest in six new retail and craft units in the heart of town is anything to go by.
The units, in Navigation Yard, have been acquired by North Kesteven District Council and within hours of finalising the purchase, and without any promotion, the council had interest from businesses for three of the six units.
Formerly they had been leased by the council from the previous owners for use exclusively in support of craft-based businesses, but the plan is now to use them for new retail, craft or office use in support of the local craft industry and the nearby National Centre for Craft and Design.
The council’s longer term plan is for Navigation Yard to play an active part in its Sleaford Masterplan vision, which includes developing an east-west walking route linking leisure interests throughout the town along the course of the River Slea.
Coun Marion Brighton, the council’s executive board member for economic growth, said: “To have been able to bring these units into council ownership strengthens our capacity to extend the work we do in supporting and promoting fresh opportunities for new and expanding businesses in Sleaford.
“Given the town’s growing reputation for fostering excellence in the craft and design sector and its historical legacy as a seed-bed of quality production and manufacture, we had anticipated significant interest in these units once we began to market them, but this initial enthusiasm from businesses wanting to get a foot in the door is astounding.
“It highlights our foresightedness in acquiring these six central units in order to broaden the options for small start-up retailers at a time when shop vacancies across the town are at an all-time low.”
The units are being let and managed by Hodgson Elkington LLP.
Marie Gutteridge, a partner with Hodgson Elkington, said: “We look forward to working with the council in bringing forward opportunities which the availability of these units will provide within this distinct area of the town centre.”