Issue - meetings

Meeting: 04/12/2019 - Corporate Policy and Resources Committee (Item 58)

58 5-7 Market Place Refurbishment pdf icon PDF 281 KB

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Members considered a report investigating the refurbishment of 5-7 Market Place, Gainsborough.


The Executive Director for Economic and Commercial Growth gave an introduction to the report.  The building was purchased back in 2013, and had been a cost to the Authority ever since.  Structural repairs were carried out in 2016, and helped formed the current overview of the building.


£75,000 of the capital budget spend was from the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Living Over the Shop fund; a minimum of £72,000 was from the Townscape Heritage Fund, and £15,000 was the grant for Gainsborough Shop Fronts.  The remaining £376,500 was funded from Capital Receipts. 


It was envisaged that the proposed refurbishment would lead to a payback for WLDC in 15-25 years.


Overview and Scrutiny Committee had made 5 recommendations at their meeting on 12 November.  Two of these recommendations (‘the report should be succinct with 3 clearly identified options’, and ‘a simplified cash flow’) were actioned within the report.  The remaining 3 recommendations were outlined and answered by the Executive Director for Economic and Commercial Growth and the Chairman of the Committee:


·         The scheme should have a cost plan – this scheme was at a pre-commencement stage of the works, so there was a good indication of costs.  If the report were approved, then the project would move onto the next stage, and there would be a detailed cost plan as part of the contract;


·         Using local labour – this would be selected using a framework scheme;


·         A site visit be undertaken prior to any decision being taken – this could potentially prejudice any decision taken by the Planning Committee should those Planning Members on Corporate Policy and Resources Committee be present.


Members then provided comment on the report, and asked questions of officers.  Comments against the proposals were provided:


·         A great deal of money had been spent on this property already;


·         It was hard to see who would want to live in the town centre in market square; conversion into flats was a risk;


·         The yearly rental returns were £6000;


·         Other options, such as de-listing the property or giving it away should be considered;


·         The Brexit process may cast doubts on current figures projected for the development.


Comments in favour of the report were provided:


·         A similar townscape heritage initiative in Caistor had been transformational in the town;


·         Heritage comes at a price; Market Street was in the process of regeneration, and now the buildings in Market Square needed to be looked at as it could be a platform for future development;


·         The project had some value over time, and could come with social benefits.  Having people in place in new flats in that area would be beneficial for the town;


Officers provided information on the points raised:


·         The Townscape Heritage bid has to be highly specific rather than broad.  The approach from WLDC would be specific and be about building repairs;


·         Regeneration on other projects in the town was progressing well; the new cinema would take up a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 58