Government agency Heritage England has been impressed with the positive take-up by businesses for a scheme to improve some of the historic shop fronts of Sleaford.
There was a good deal of interest among residents, shop keepers and landlords at a public consultation event at The Source in Sleaford last Wednesday, organised by North Kesteven District Council.
Public opinion was needed on three new initiatives to improve the appearance of the historic town centre.
The council is already working with businesses on improving and restoring historic shop fronts and has drafted a new design guide to advise on suitable shop frontages. There are now proposed changes to the shape of Sleaford’s Conservation Area, leaving out some of the less significant areas and changing what can be done to properties. People were being asked what is good and bad about the existing, 40-year-old conservation area.
The event had planning, conservation and economic development officers on hand to help with enquiries.
Historic England is co-funding, alongside NKDC and Sleaford Town Council, a programme of financial support to repair and replace historic shopfronts, with the first one already approved in Sleaford Market Place. Overall there is around £300,000 available to the town over three years.
Jennifer Sherlock represents the family business owning the mock Tudor shops and The Venue bar above, set for restoration.
She said: “The property is about 100 years old, not listed but within the conservation area and a number of changes have been made over the years, so some buildings have lost their historical identity.”
She said the grants from the council are allowing owners to renovate shop fronts to a level that would not be normally viable, reinstating a building to conservation area standards.
She said: “It is a very exciting scheme and an opportunity for the town.”
Conservation architect for Historic England Valeria Passetti said: “It is for the benefit of the community. People will enjoy the historic atmosphere, slow down and spend more in the shops. For a small investment the benefit will be phenomenal.”