Neighbourhood plan’s ‘local list’ can help preserve historic buildings in Gainsborough

Kings Theatre in Gainsborough. Photo: Barry Coward
Kings Theatre in Gainsborough. Photo: Barry Coward

Recently, the Gainsborough neighbourhood Plan steering group was presented with a substantial complete draft copy of the plan by its consultant, writes Michael Hopper, chairman of RAGE.

Before the plan reaches the consultative stages the steering group needs to fill the blanks and refine parts of the plan to ensure it closely reflects the wishes of Gainsborough residents .

One aspect of the plan is to devise a ‘local list’ of buildings that fail to qualify to formal listed building status but are of significance to the townscape.

Notable buildings that fall into this category include the Town Hall in Lord Street, the former NatWest bank and the Methodist Church in Ropey Road.

As these are 20th century buildings, they are unlikely ever to achieve listed building status.

They are, however, significant to the appearance of our town, but there is nothing tostop these buildings being demolished in the future.

Being on a local list does not automatically protect them but when West Lindsey Council receives any planning applications for these sites they will be obliged to take note of the ‘local list’ status.

Other notable buildings on the draft list include the Queen Elizabeth High School, John Coupland Hospital, Kings Theatre, Parish Church Primary School, The Plough Inn and John Robinson Memorial Hal.

All are 20th century buildings except Kings Theatre.

Opened in 1885 it is built on the foundations of an earlier building, possibly a music hall from early in the 19th century.

This demonstrates that the buildings we see today may hide traces of former buildings occupying the site.

Having knowledge the town’s historic environment is therefore another element to incorporate into the Neighbourhood Plan.

At last meeting of the steering group, there was an informative presentation by Ian Marsham, a historic environment officer at Lincolnshire County Council, who is kindly assisting the group on a number of aspects of the plan.

The Neighbourhood Plan is developed under a new organisation called RAGE (Rediscovering A Gainsborough for Everyone) to reflect the wide range of organisations that have contributed to the plan’s creation.

The process gives local people a voice through the creation of a people’s panel, which meets to sign off each stage of theplan.

Support from the panel is vital for the plan to move to the next stage and prevents the plan straying away from the results of the many consultations carried out last year.