Gainsborough: What now for Elswitha Quarter?

The old Guildhall in Gainsborough which is being prepared for demolition G130806-3b
The old Guildhall in Gainsborough which is being prepared for demolition G130806-3b

Plans for the Elswitha Quarter have been dealt a blow as West Lindsey District Council and developers failed to secure a hotel for the site.

The council and developers the Lindum Group had hoped to transform the area with a hotel, cinema and bowling alley.

The plans for the area have been controversial from the start, with campaigners angry that the development would spill across the road from the Old Guildhall site into Whittons Gardens.

Ian Mills, chairman of the Trinity Action Group said he was ‘over the moon’ to hear the hotel would not be going ahead.

“There are plenty of other derelict sites in the town that would be better suited for a hotel rather than using one of the few bits of green space we have,” he said.

“I would welcome the Old Guildhall site being developed into something that could be used for the good of the town.”

“Something like a bowling alley could help attract more visitors into town.”

“Gainsborough is a marvellous place and we need to tell people about it,” he added.

But the jubilation could be short-lived, as the council has not ruled out trying to attract hotel chain to the site in the future.

The leader of West Lindsey District Council, Coun Jeff Summers said the council is still keen to ‘push ahead’ with plans to develop the Elswitha Quarter.

“Ideally we would still love to attract a hotel to the town including a cinema and a bowling alley,” he said.

“The council is currently in the process of setting up an all party group to establish a way forward. The group will explore all options of land available at the Old Guildhall site and Whittons Gardens.”

“It will also discuss how the community will be engaged in future proposals.”

He said the initial meeting with all the group leaders particularly stressed the importance of the town centre and working hard on getting a hotel in Gainsborough.

“The council encourages local developers and we will try and ensure that any future plans encourage proposals from them,” he added.

In the meantime, the development plans have enabled the go-ahead to demolish the Old Guildhall, which the council says is saving tax payers £70,000 a year in business rates.

Contractors have also started stripping the inside of the building.

• How would you like to see the Eswitha Quarter developed? Email us at newsroom@gainsboroughstandard.co.uk and write to us at Britannia House, Marshall’s Yard, Gainsborough DN21 2NA.