North Kesteven District Councillors have given their backing for a plan to lease land to develop a cinema.
The full council meeting on Thursday supported a recommendation to purchase a 99-year lease for the land and around £1.5 million could be invested by the council to create a cinema and associated areas of public space for the core of the council’s ‘Heart of Sleaford’ project.
It would include a pedestrian footbridge over the River Slea connecting Money’s Yard to Market Place, subject to a viable business plan including construction costs and a commercial lease with a third party cinema operator.
The open space would have to be delivered in phases and it was realised that the cinema could only be delivered with investment by the public sector.
It is land and buildings to the rear of 17-19 Market Place, which is being regenerated by J. Hodgson and Sons into a number of business units and flats, restoring the old frontages.
A spokesman for landowners J. Hodgson and Sons, said: “The potential involvement of NKDC in purchasing a lease on part of the site will allow us to concentrate on refurbishing what remains of the former Buttermarket which formed the basement to the old Corn Exchange. To see this building put back into use, we feel, is an exciting opportunity and together with the proposed cinema development, provides an important focal point for the Heart of Sleaford project.”
Members heard the landmark regeneration project would deliver key masterplan objectives to attract residents to spend more time and money in the town centre, as well as encouraging further investment from other businesses in the area.
Coun Richard Wright, Leader of the Council, said previously: “One of the key aspects picked up on when the masterplan for the town was created was the need to give residents more of a reason to spend their money in the Sleaford area rather than going elsewhere.
“The Heart of Sleaford project would not only do this, but also attract visitors from further afield as well, boosting the local economy and supporting local businesses.”