Plans have been unveiled for a major transformation project in Gainsborough town centre to create a hub of creative, independent traders.
West Lindsey District Council has announced a programme of investment and refurbishment of town centre shops, including new frontages, to create an attractive new “independent quarter”.
The council is working together with retail experts Dransfield Properties –the developers of Marshall’s Yard shopping complex –on the proposals to regenerate the historic Market Street and Market Place.
Councillor Jeff Summers, council leader, said: “We recognise we need to do something to strengthen the appeal of the town.
“The aim is to seek new tenants to widen the choices of shops, cafés and restaurants in Gainsborough.”
The council and Dransfield are to form a joint venture company, bringing vacant shops back into use and making them attractive for new businesses at affordable rents.
Coun Summers said: “The Association of Town Centre Management regard this type of public-private sector partnership as an innovative way to regenerate historic market towns.
“Dransfield has a proven history of regenerating through retail and we hope our combined experience and funds will help create a sustainable town centre.”
Mark Dransfield, Dransfield managing director, said: “We are really pleased to be working with the team at the council on this project.
“We pride ourselves on creating strong partnerships to strengthen the towns in which we work.
“This is a key part of the town centre and careful work and investment will create a strong link between the Market Place and Marshall’s Yard.”
The partnership is the latest move in a new economic community strategy driven by the council, focused on support for both new and existing businesses.
Eve Fawcett-Moralee, lead officer, said: “Our plans for the town have directed us to create a grant funding regime.
“The Gainsborough growth fund retail scheme is a pilot scheme to attract independent retailers with £50,000 earmarked to help with costs of physical works to premises.”
Grants up to £100,000 are available to support capital expenditure.
The council also plans to submit bids to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a scheme around North Street, worth about £2million.
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