Plans to help regenerate the Portland Street and the Sincil Bank area are taking a further step forward after plans to turn a former shop into a community hub were approved.
Councillors mostly spoke in favour of the designs, which will see the use of the now-vacant number 30 converted to include a ‘community hub’, two meeting rooms, an office, two toilets and a kitchen.
Councillor Bob Bushell called the application an ‘extremely good use of the building, given what’s taking place at Sincil Bank’ — referring to plans to target bringing empty homes back into use as part of a new strategy over the next four years.
Councillor Chris Burke also hoped it would relate to the redevelopment of the area.
“It will bring considerable benefit to that part of my ward,” he said.
Councillor Edmund Strengiel however, said he felt it was ‘a shame the property isn’t being turned into accommodation for young families’.
A report before councillors said the hub, set around 400m from the High Street, would ‘benefit the wider community’ and preserve the character and appearance of the nearby conservation area.
The plan will be to open between 9am-5pm, Monday to Saturday.
Councillors agreed in March to a new Empty Homes Strategy which aims to bring 50 empty homes a year back into use.
The council is planning to work with the Community Land Trust to regenerate Sincil Bank and reduce homelessness in the area in a bid to boost economic growth, reduce inequality by providing increased skills training, and cut down on anti-social behaviour such as fly-tipping and drug-taking.
It will be used for a range of collaborative projects between the university and the community.