Historic shop fronts restored

Restored and refreshed - the property at 17 Market Place in Sleaford. EMN-190207-144447001
Restored and refreshed - the property at 17 Market Place in Sleaford. EMN-190207-144447001

Work is now complete on restoration and re-instatement of another significant historic shop front in Sleaford.

Under the Partnership Scheme in Conservation Areas (PSiCA), jointly funded by North Kesteven District Council, Historic England and Sleaford Town Council, the appearance of the town is being improved through the funding of repair and reinstatement of historic shop fronts and other traditional architectural details.

The renovated shop frontage at 17 Market Place in Sleaford. EMN-190207-160024001

The renovated shop frontage at 17 Market Place in Sleaford. EMN-190207-160024001

At 17 Market Place, the original shop front and stone carriage arch to the side had been hacked away for a plain new front in the 1960s to become Smeeton’s furniture shop and later the Co-op Homemaker store, but it has stood empty and derelict for around two decades in the town centre.

In partnership with Sleaford-based heritage building redevelopment specialists J Hodgson and Sons, the stone archway and timber shop front have been carefully reinstated with reference to historic photographs dating back to the late 1800s.

While work is still continuing to the interior of the building, to create a number of business and office units, the great changes to the Market Place façade are now plain to see after the screens were removed last week.

Chris Hodgson said: “J Hodgson and Sons Ltd have completed restoration of the shop front. Other elements of the project are subject to ongoing discussion with the other parties involved. The Heart of Sleaford scheme is on the agenda for the next regeneration group meeting on July 8.”

The project is tied in with NKDC’s Heart of Sleaford project to open up public access across the river between the rear of this building and Money’s Yard. Last year, the District Council agreed to the £1.5million purchase of a 99-year lease for the land to develop a multi-screen cinema and public realm above the old Buttermarket cellars to the rear of the former Corn Exchange theatre which was demolished. Work continues to bring a scheme forward as soon as it is practicable.

Robert Hodgson added: “We’re extremely grateful to NKDC and Historic England for considering the works as part of their shop front improvement scheme as without their help and input it would not have been possible to reinstate a shop front of the original design and appearance.”

While the shop front grant scheme is now closed, a further half dozen sites in Southgate and Northgate will be seeing improvements over the coming months.

In total, 16 different addresses will have benefitted from £300,000 of grant aid w. Half are listed buildings and others are important to the character of the town centre and conservation area.