July 13, 2022 10.13 am This story is over 16 months old

Historic building to go from ‘eyesore’ to ‘destination venue’

It’s current state is putting investors off from the area

The restoration of an ‘architecturally stunning’ building will help to revive Grantham’s marketplace, councillors have heard.

The historic Westgate Hall is set to get a major makeover into a destination venue.

£300,000 of public money will be invested through the High Street Heritage Action Zone programme, with a similar amount coming from private investors.

The identity of the tenant is being kept under wraps, although the council has confirmed that the tenant is a local “well-respected operator”, and 30 new jobs are expected to be created.

Council leader Kelham Cooke said the Grade II listed building’s restoration would drive investment into the area.

“This is currently an eyesore on that part of the high street. Until it’s dealt with, that area of the town won’t encourage other investment. [The new use] will only add to the increased interest in Grantham,” he told a meeting of South Kesteven District Council’s cabinet.

“It is an incredibly important building on Westgate, one that I am a great fan of architecturally.

“It is immediately noticeable from both the marketplace and Westgate, and its current condition has a disproportionate negative impact on the area.”

Westgate Hall during previous restoration works | Photo: Google

He added that there were hopes that the upper floor could also be used as business workspace.

Councillor Mark Whittington described Westgate Hall as an “architecturally stunning building” which Grantham had “never quite got the best out of.”

The building is suffering from water ingress, and the costs of making it usable again would continue to mount if there were delays in action.

The cabinet voted unanimously to recommend the £300,000 grant be awarded from the fund, which is jointly managed by the council and Historic England.

The building was built in 1852 as a corn exchange, and has also been used through the years as a nightclub.

Evan McDowell Architects have been appointed to oversee the design, planning application and building work.