July 5, 2022 6.00 pm This story is over 16 months old

Plans unveiled to restore iconic Grantham building

A catalyst for regeneration in the town centre

Plans have been revealed to restore the historic Westgate Hall in Grantham into a destination venue.

The work would unlock “genuine and significant investment” for the town centre, the council claims, with more than 30 jobs created.

South Kesteven District Council will request a grant of £300,000 from the High Street Heritage Action Zone programme, which is jointly funded by the council and Historic England.

A similar sum would also be invested by the property owner and tenant.

Details of the eventual use haven’t been revealed, although the council report says: “The tenant is a well-respected operator who aims to create a destination venue in Grantham which will attract people to visit the district, supporting the visitor economy, and enhancing and diversifying the evening/ night time economy of the town centre.”

Council officers have warned that the Grade II listed building is suffering from water ingress and repair costs will continue to spiral if no steps are taken to restore it.

Westgate Hall during restoration works | Photo: Google

It’s estimated that it could take up to £490,000 to get the building back into a usable condition, and the restoration is said to be impossible without public investment.

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

South Kesteven District Council claims that the plans would act as a catalyst for further regeneration. Restoration work has recently been completed on the exterior stonework.

The report says: “With the options work complete on Westgate Hall, the window for the potential of additional support from Historic England to support the repairs is narrowing. Therefore, the preferred option is for cabinet to approve the allocation of £300,000 grant to restore Westgate Hall and bring it back into use.”

The Heritage Action Zone fund is earmarked for a variety of projects to revitalise Grantham town centre. Historic England have contributed £886,540, with the council putting in £375,660 for the four-year project.

The council will ask for permission to award Westgate Hall the £300,000 grant at next Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.

Grantham residents have previously been asked to contribute their memories and photos of the building to explore its history.

The building was built in 1852 as a corn exchange, and has also been used through the years for Suffrage meetings, weddings and nightclubs. More information can be found at the Westgate Hall Facebook page.