National Lottery grant could lead to £1.8 million boost for Lincolnshire market town

Following a highly competitive national application process, West Lindsey District Council has been successful in achieving a National Lottery development grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

This award recognises the hard work and dedication the council and the project steering group have contributed over the last year to the proposed Townscape Heritage scheme.

The money will be used to restore the ‘historic heart’ of Gainsborough and will focus on the restoration of historic buildings and heritage assets in our town centre, specifically focusing on Lord Street and the Market Place.

The project will be supported by a steering group made up of local stakeholders who have received a development phase grant of £54,000.This will be match-funded by West Lindsey District Council, creating an overall fund of £71,300.

This news gives the ‘green light’ for the partnership to develop a Stage Two funding application to the Heritage Lottery Fund. It is the precursor to a scheme which could have a total value of around £1.8 million and will run up until 2024.

The steering group is made up of representatives from the Gainsborough Heritage Association, Lincolnshire County Council, Gainsborough Town Council, Gainsborough Place Board, the University of Lincoln, Gainsborough Queen Elizabeth’s High School and West Lindsey District Council.

Chairman of the Prosperous Communities Committee at West Lindsey District Council, Cllr Sheila Bibb said: “I am very excited about this project as Lord Street and Market Place have a wealth of under-appreciated historic buildings, which have sadly deteriorated in condition over the past decade.

“This grant funding could physically transform the town centre, potentially making it an extremely attractive place to live, work and invest.

“The passion and dedication of the steering group for the town’s heritage has been a vital ingredient in our initial success and I would like to congratulate everyone involved.”

The development phase of the project will include a programme of public consultation and the development of detailed plans for the delivery of the capital work in the town centre. It will facilitate the strengthening of the partnership and work with business owners to scope out potential projects for the delivery phase.

Executive Director for Economic and Commercial Growth at West Lindsey District Council, Eve Fawcett-Moralee said: “The scale and ambition of this project is to be praised, staff and partners have worked hard over the past year to deliver this funding bid for the town of Gainsborough.

“The success of this project means that our urban core remains at the absolute heart of our ambitions for the town and is at the centre of our growth programme.”

Liz Mayle, Conservation Officer for West Lindsey District Council and chairman of the East Midlands Institute for Historic Building Conservation has been working on the bid.

She said: “Securing a stage one bid from the (HLF) for a townscape heritage scheme in the historic core of Gainsborough is a crucial step to secure its long-term survival.

“The recently completed exemplar commercial and residential unit in Market Street, shows the truly transformational power of heritage-led regeneration. With support from the HLF we now have the potential to similarly transform a large number of buildings in the Lord Street and Market Place.

“This will be an amazing opportunity to bring alive our heritage and make it once again the focus of daily life for all who live, work and visit.”