New training centre plans for landmark Gainsborough building

Fanny Marshall Institute Gainsborough.
Fanny Marshall Institute Gainsborough.

A landmark Gainsborough building which has become derelict and a magnet for vandals could be transformed into a new training care home.

A planning application has been submitted to West Lindsey District Council to demolish part of the Fanny Marshall Institute, on Church Street.

The institute is a disused gymnasium which was built in 1895 and later used for retail and as a warehouse.

Now “dilapidated and redundant”, the application seeks demolition of all but the Church Street frontage of the building.

The Gainsborough Development Trust, which has submitted the application, is now working with partners, including Lincoln College, to redevelop the site as a training care home.

Roger Eyres, company secretary and trust project manager, said: “There’s a big gap in the care industry for the training of care workers and at the Fanny Marshall Institute they would be able to get the practical experience.

“We have the idea and the building and are now trying to turn it into a reality.

“We’re putting this together, but are in the very early stages.

“We are keeping the frontage of the building but the rest will be a completely new building.

“There is an awful lot of work that needs to be done before we can start raising a new building out of the ground.

“This is like a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle and we don’t know what all the pieces look like yet and what the finished puzzle will be.”

The 220 sq metres building played a key role in the temperance movement when it was opened in 1896.

Church leaders and industrialists believed it would provide a better recreational activity than the alehouses of Gainsborough at the end of the 19th Century.

There have been several other attempts to bring the hall back into use, including plans to create a community centre and pharmacy at the site in 2012.

Mr Eyres says the latest plans will need financial backing to become a reality.

He said: “The building has been empty for a long time and it will nice to see it turn around.

“We now need financial support. We have already had grant aid from the Gainsborough Growth Fund and are very grateful for that.”

The building is deteriorating to such an extent it is becoming dangerous and has suffered vandalism and break-ins.

A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said: “Anti-social behaviour, vandalism and people putting themselves at risk by accessing the property are some of the concerns we can be called upon to deal with.

“So, in general terms, we welcome regeneration.”