Work set to start on renovating long-standing Sleaford eyesore

Vast improvement. The designs for how the Market Place buildings will look. EMN-180801-172858001
Vast improvement. The designs for how the Market Place buildings will look. EMN-180801-172858001

Detailed plans for a two-screen cinema in Sleaford should be revealed in the next few weeks as part of the second phase of a major restoration project of a town eyesore.

Building restoration experts, J. Hodgson and Son of Carre Street have revealed work is progressing with the derelict 17-18 Market Place which they intend to convert into shop and business units at the front with a cinema complex and further shopping units to the rear.

Renovations due to begin on the frontages of 17-19 Market Place with plans for a two screen cinema set to be unveiled. EMN-180901-123202001

Renovations due to begin on the frontages of 17-19 Market Place with plans for a two screen cinema set to be unveiled. EMN-180901-123202001

Robert Hodgson from the company said: “Regarding the cinema, North Kesteven District Council are now putting the scheme forward to the various committees and everyone seems very positive about it. The architect is putting the finishing touches to the cinema designs now.”

The firm was granted planning permission for the initial phase of refurbishment of the frontages of 17-18 Market Place (the old Co-op building) in August and also the refurbishment of the rear of 19 and 19a (the new Gurka 19 restaurant and the Italian Connection restaurant).

Mr Hodgson said: “This work will start early this year.”

The scheme will see new shopfronts in period style at 17-18 Market Place, complete with curved cylinder glass windows either side of the doorway. There will be new shopfronts for the restaurants too, along with storage improvements to the rear.

Mr Hodgson said there are no potential tenants yet for the new units, choosing to wait until the new shopfront is completed to begin marketing.

He said: “The company is very appreciative of all the help and support it has received from the Planning, Conservation and Economic Development teams at NKDC in helping to continue to drive the project forward.”

To the rear and above 17-18 Market Place there will also be offices, storage and flats.

The alley way being created to the side will lead through to the cinema complex as part of a grander scheme under North Kesteven District Council’s Heart of Sleaford project. This 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.

Mr Hodgson told The Standard last year when the plans were first unveiled: “We are trying to get the building as close as we can to how it was when it was originally put up.”

Number 17 was originally a draper’s shop and house dating from 1825.

They would also 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.