Ambitious £1m plan to revamp historic warehouse in Gainsborough
A community hall, health centre and pharmacy will be created under plans for a £1 million makeover of a Gainsborough landmark.
Developers have unveiled a blueprint to restore the town's Fanny Marshall Memorial Institute.
The former warehouse building on the junction of Church Street and Acland Street played a key role in the temperance movement when it was opened in 1896.
Church leaders and concerned industrialists believed it would provide a far better recreational activity than the alehouses of the busy inland port of Gainsborough at the end of the 19th century.
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Now, the Gelder Group, based at Sturton-by-Stow, is seeking consent from West Lindsey District Council to restore the 220sq metre hall to its former glory.
It has called in Newark architects Guy St John Taylor Associates to design a modern mix of rooms by introducing a second floor and enlarge the building by demolishing a 1920s extension.
Gelder Group design manager Matthew Carter said: "The building was utilised for a variety of uses including offices in the 1970s.
"The last known use of the building was as a furniture warehouse, but in recent years the building has been empty and has fallen into disrepair.
"Historically, planning permission has been granted for 15 apartments – but our current proposals will provide a medical centre, pharmacy and community hall.
"It is in a well-established residential area with existing school, shops and good transport links.
"A high-quality medical centre and pharmacy would provide a valuable resource for the local residents, as would the provision of a community hall at ground floor level.
"This community hall would
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also provide an additional space for Gainsborough Parish Church School situated on Acland Street.
"There will be controlled parking provision on site and the proposals will involve the restoration and re-use of a key historic building which is likely to become a target of antisocial behaviour if left empty for much longer.
"And the total estimated costs for the redevelopment would be just shy of £1 million."
The scheme includes the removal of a small section of the existing building to create an access to the new 13-car parking area.
And the car park entrance will have a timber security gate.
The Church Street elevation is to have the low level wall reinstated with decorative metal railings above to enclose a small area of landscaping.
Where possible, original features are to be retained and the character of the building preserved.
Architect Keith Rodgers, of Guy St John Taylor Associates, said: "We are delighted to be involved in this exciting project to restore this important historic building – and put it back into public use as originally intended.
"It will once again support the health of the local community and provide a valuable community space for the local school and community groups, as well as offering health classes.
"All this will be in the spirit of James Marshall's original gift to the town."