Town ‘needs new leisure facilities’

An example of the kind of building some people would like to see in Gainsborough
An example of the kind of building some people would like to see in Gainsborough

GAINSBOROUGH needs a cinema, bowling alley and better shops.

That is the view of young journalists at Trent Valley Academy who have been looking at suggestions for regeneration at the old Guildhall site.

The old Guildhall site on Caskegate Street G120313-3a

The old Guildhall site on Caskegate Street G120313-3a

The former town hall, in Caskgate Street, is set to be bulldozed to make way for a new development.

West Lindsey District Council are remaining tight-lipped about which businesses have already shown an interest in the site.

But the rumour mill has been turning among local people that a leisure complex featuring a hotel, cinema and possibly even a bowling alley could be on the way.

“We really like the idea of a cinema and think it would be really busy,” said the young journalists from TVA.

The old Guildhall site on Caskegate Street G120313-3b

The old Guildhall site on Caskegate Street G120313-3b

“We are not too sure about a bowling alley, but other young people might like it.”

“We would be really keen on a new restaurant like Nando’s, TGI Fridays or Damon’s. We think our friends and families would like this too.”

Director of regeneration and planning at WLDC Mark Sturgess told the Standard: “We are aware of a gap in leisure and recreational type facilities in Gainsborough.”

“Whereas our retail offer has been strengthened - particularly through Marshall’s Yard - the town still has fewer restaurants and leisure uses than other areas in the country.”

“Therefore we’d like to attract a quality, mixed use scheme incorporating leisure uses that are currently lacking in Gainsborough town centre.”

Although no designs have yet been revealed, one councillor - who has asked not to be named - has taken it upon himself to produce some images, to get people talking about what they DO and DON’T want to see.

He said: “I have seen what the council are planning to do and I think there could be much more done,” he said.

“The right development on the Guildhall site could set a precedent for bringing vibrant new schemes to the whole area.”

His images use Portsmouth’s futuristic skyscraping Gunwharf Tower as an example of the groundbreaking architecture we could see in the future.

“I think a modern building of this calibre could host a mixture of restaurants, a nightclub, casino, conference facilities etc,” he said.

“More office space, from which staff would spill out of at lunchtime, could be a huge benefit the town’s traders.”

“And a rooftop bistro with Wold views, or penthouse apartments would be the perfect opportunity to showcase our spectacular countryside.”

TVA’s young journalists said they were ‘unsure’ about the tower idea.

“We think it stands out too much in the town. We like the fact that Gainsborough has a lot of history and we don’t think this fits in with the town centre at the moment,” they said.

WLDC said it wanted to attract development which ‘ensures a high quality, contemporary built design that references and respects the characteristics of the location’.

“An iconic landmark building of high architectural merit should be considered on the north-west corner of the site,” it said.

The council is waiting for approval from the Secretary of State to demolish the iconic 1960s building, designed by Gainsborough architect Neil Taylor.

In the meantime The Standard understands plans are being drawn up and will be released for public consultation in the next few months.

• What would YOU like to see built in place of the old Guildhall? Get in touch using the contact details on the red panel at the side of this page.