All go in Grantham
Glynis Fox examines how planned developments look set to give the town a welcome boost.
In common with many places across Lincolnshire, Grantham is a changing and growing destination and currently home to nearly 45,000 people.
There’s plenty of good reasons why it is so popular and, if further developments come to fruition, this destination could become even more attractive in the future.
Connections-wise, the town’s station is on the mainline to London, which is great for people needing to commute to the ‘big City’. Being on the doorstep of the A1 means Grantham is also convenient for drivers looking for easy access to the wider UK.
Its centre typically offers a range of facilities and is set to be boosted by millions of pounds of Government and private funding.
Earlier this year it was revealed that Grantham will benefit from a £5.56 million boost in Future High Streets (FHS) funding – allowing it to deliver infrastructure projects, with an additional £379,000 from SKDC.
A £300,000 grant for Westgate Hall will cover urgent repairs and necessary improvements to bring the former Corn Exchange (dating from 1852) back into use.
Grantham also sits at the heart of an area which is blessed with a wealth of beautiful countryside, tourist and fringe of town shopping attractions. This means it ticks all the boxes for travellers, shopaholics and leisure-seekers.
Shopping-wise, if you love finding outlets that always have interesting and changing stock, you’ll definitely want to pop into the Notions Antiques Centre in the High Street, where you could find the ideal piece of furniture or accessory for your home or garden.
Naturally, branches of the many multi-nationals can be found in the High Street but also within the Isaac Newton Centre, which boasts a quirky clock.
Westgate, which attracts a good mix of traders to its Saturday Market, is the place to find many independent businesses. These include the interior designer Laura Longden, ladies fashion outlet Kays of Grantham and the florist Glen Esk.
If you love making music or need new sheet music, family-run AH Music at 36 Westgate is worth a closer look. Ready to record a new song? Why not find out more about the town’s studios (www.melodymusicrooms.com) which are also nearby?
Grantham is certainly a place best explored on foot because there are many more shops, including more owner-managed businesses in Kings Walk, The Courtyard and Blue Court.
When you’re ready for a snack or a tasty meal, you are really spoilt for choice. Your biggest problem will be choosing where to go! Grantham has an amazing range of cafés, restaurants and pubs and offers cuisines ranging from British to Italian, Burmese and more.
They include Cinco Lounge, the Istanbul Grill (Turkish), Bela’s House (Portuguese), Knightingales and Digby’s Café, which is tucked inside The Guildhall Arts Centre. Digby’s has been trading for more than a year, is owned by Viv Reichelt and is proving very popular.
Plans for two major designer shopping outlets on the outskirts of Grantham continue to spark conversation.
The Downtown complex at Gonerby Moor comprises a huge unit bursting with everything from clothing to footwear, electrical and household goods and furniture and the Downtown Garden Centre is nearby.
For some years, there have been hopes of redeveloping this site and building the Downtown Grantham Designer Outlet which could have the power to create 1,700 jobs.
A Downtown spokesperson said: “Downtown continues to work on a variety of development opportunities to enhance the Grantham region and hopes to share more details in the near future.”
Another exciting prospect is Rioja’s proposed Grantham Designer Outlet Village, destined to go on land between the A1 and Spittlegate Level.
Rioja Estates managing director Giles Membrey said: “The project has taken longer than we had hoped to come to fruition because of Covid, Brexit and the war in Ukraine, with the latter having a significant effect on costings.
“However, contracts are now in place and leasing is going well, with over 30 per cent in legals. We have also been talking to funds and aim to have them in place by the end of November with a projected start date on site of January 2024.”
There are a lot of interesting places around Grantham, so you could treat yourself to an overnight or weekend stay. The Angel & Royal in High Street, reputedly known as England’s Oldest Inn, has been offering hospitality since 1203!
If you prefer something more modern and out of town, the Belton Woods Hotel (conveniently close to historic Belton House) is popular with guests who enjoy playing golf or taking time out in its spa.
Belton House will appeal if you want to step back in time and tour one of the area’s best-known National Trust properties and enjoy a walk in its parkland.
Nearby Belton Garden Centre sells much more than gardening essentials and plants, offering products for pet-lovers, aquarium owners and shoppers looking for local food and gifts. It also boasts a large busy restaurant, serving everything from snacks to hot meals.
People who love keeping fit or watching a game of football can do both in Grantham.
The Grantham Meres Leisure Centre, run by LeisureSK, has a 70-station gym suite with the latest equipment and offers a group fitness programme featuring both live and virtual instructor-led classes. These include indoor cycling and a wide range of Les Mills classes.
A 25-metre, eight-lane swimming pool provides temptation for serious and non-serious swimmers and there is also a 12-metre learner pool and two smaller leisure pools, with water sprays, bubble jets and flume.
Indoor and outdoor sports can be enjoyed across its three activity sports halls, outdoor running track and state-of-the-art 3G football pitch. The centre is also home to a large number of local community-based clubs.
Football-crazy? Then why not follow Grantham Town’s fortunes. Affectionately known as The Gingerbreads, the team plays in the Northern Premier League (East Division) and its home base is the SK Sports Stadium.
If you prefer a leisurely walk, why not take a closer look at Grantham’s parks and a very special tree.
TREE-LOVERS VOTE NOW!
Tree-lovers are urged to get voting to ensure a distinctive Lincolnshire Oak is crowned Tree of the Year in a special competition.
The Grantham Oak, which is situated on the east side of Belton Lane and surrounded by a crescent of houses, is recognised as one of the most impressive urban trees in the town and features in a contest run by the Woodland Trust.
This magnificent pedunculate, or English Oak (Quercus robur) has an amazing girth of 7.02 metres, when measured at a point 1.5m above the ground.
South Kesteven District Council (SKDC) has long supported the tree. Information signs direct visitors from Wyndham Park and Queen Elizabeth Park – after funding was awarded to the council when the tree achieved runner-up status in Tree of the Year 2021.
SKDC Councillors Patsy Ellis and Rhys Baker, who share the council’s Cabinet responsibilities for Environment and Waste said: “The Council worked with the Woodland Trust and campaigners to add a cordon and protective surface around this majestic tee to protect is roots from vehicle damage and ensure its continued health and safety.”
All nominations for the Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year awards – which this year has an urban theme – are ancient trees growing in urban areas around the UK. The idea of the contest is to raise awareness of the value of these Living Legends to people and wildlife in urban communities.
“We are very fortunate to have the Woodland Trust headquarters based in Grantham,” said Coun Ellis.
“Oak trees are undoubtedly England’s most iconic trees. A single tree can live up to 1,000 years and support more biodiversity than any other British plant.
“Trees are a vital component of our world as they cool the air and stabilise soils. It is our aim to plant more trees in Grantham as part of our Climate Action plan. In the meantime, we hope people will vote for our very lovely local oak tree.”
It the tree wins the current competition, it could go on to entered in the European Tree of the Year competition! Woodland Trust said people who love the special oak have left several reviews, including:
“An absolutely gorgeous tree which you simply can’t fail to notice. My little girl calls it the ‘fat and wrinkly tree’.”
“Driving past this tree recently, it was lovely to see a gentleman there with his hand on the tree’s belly showing it to his young child in a pushchair.”
VOTE NOW using the following web link: (Voting closes at midnight on 15th October) www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/tree-of-the-year
PUT THE FLAGS OUT!
South Kesteven District Council (SKDC) is delighted to announce that all three of its parks in Grantham have been awarded coveted Green Flag status – for the second year running!
Wyndham Park celebrates an impressive 12th consecutive award, joined by Queen Elizabeth Park, which adds its third accolade. Dysart Park proudly maintains its Green Flag status, earned for the first-time last year.
SKDC Cabinet Member for Leisure & Culture, Councillor Paul Stokes said: “We recognise the importance of providing green spaces that residents and visitors can enjoy. It is a true honour to, once again, receive Green Flag status and be recognised as among the best in the country.
“We proudly welcome both residents and visitors from far and wide into our parks and this accreditation is testament to the relentless efforts of both council staff and volunteers who uphold these parks to the highest standards for the enjoyment of all.”
If you’re interested in RAF Barkston’s military heritage, you may want to check out a new information board, which has been installed in the porch of Barkston’s St Nicholas Church.
Funded by a donation and designed by South Kesteven District Council, it traces the airfield’s origins, its roles in the 1944 milestones of D-Day and Operation Market Garden and the key wartime alliance between the British 1st Airborne Division and America’s Troop Transport Command.
Syston resident Liz Parkin used a bequest from her late father Eric Motley to fund the board in recognition of his service in the RAF and unveiled it with her brother Peter Motley. The ceremony coincided with the last week in office of the Rev Stuart Hadley, retiring as rector of the South Cliff Villages Group.
Attendees included SKDC Chair, Cllr Gloria Johnson, council Armed Forces Champion Cllr Richard Dixon-Warren, RAF and Parachute Regiment representatives and Terry Musson, whose Barkston Heath Research Group continues to unearth airfield wartime history.
Liz Parkin said: “Our father spent the last 11 years of his life here in Barkston and it was always my parents’ wishes to leave a small donation to the church and the local community. We felt we would like something specific to be done with the money. We are really pleased that my father’s donation has contributed to this wonderful notice board.
“We heard that work was being done around the concept of a military heritage information board and the part that RAF Barkston Heath played during the war. It’s such a beautiful and meaningful memorial to honour all those connected to Operation Market Garden. We know that our father would be absolutely thrilled.”
Liz and Rob Parkin train puppies for the Royal National Institute of Blind People, recognising the support her father received from military veteran charity ‘Blind Veterans’ in later life.
Cllr Dixon-Warren said: “Lincolnshire’s rightly venerated Bomber County history is much better known than the story of the British, American and Polish Airborne Forces’ presence in South Kesteven in 1944.
“This story, the part played by tens of thousands of paratroopers, glider pilots and crews of the aircraft that took them to Normandy and then Holland nearly 80 years ago should stand shoulder to shoulder alongside the story of Bomber County. As a council we are committed to promoting this heritage and pleased to have provided content and design for the board.”
JMP SOLICITORS: A STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE IN LEGAL SERVICES
For more than 23 years, JMP Solicitors has maintained a consistent standard of excellence in legal representation.
With extensive experience in both personal and business law, the firm has earned a reputation as a trusted partner for clients seeking comprehensive legal services.
Whether you’re in need of compensation following a serious injury or clinical negligence, seeking commercial advice, or require guidance related to property and wills, JMP Solicitors has a team of professionals ready to assist you.
The firm is founded on the principle of delivering exceptional client service, with a dedicated team of experts skilled in every aspect of legal representation. One of their distinguishing features is their meticulous and personal approach to claims involving serious injuries and clinical negligence. This commitment to achieving redress and compensation for clients has earned JMP Solicitors recognition in the esteemed Legal 500 directory of law firms, serving as a testament to their dedication.
Recently, JMP Solicitors has taken a strategic step forward by relocating to a central location in Guildhall Street and Kings Walk, Grantham. This move places them at the heart of the town, improving accessibility for clients and reiterating the firm’s commitment to being a reliable legal resource for Grantham and its surrounding areas.
In addition to claims and disputes, JMP Solicitors possesses a wealth of expertise in both commercial and private client matters. This ensures that clients receive comprehensive support not only for their litigation needs, but also for their business ventures, wills and conveyancing requirements. This approach sets them apart as a one-stop destination for all legal concerns.
At JMP Solicitors, the aim is one of dedication, expertise and a commitment to securing fairness for their clients.
With a centralised location and a team of skilled professionals, they are ready to assist with your legal requirements, both now and in the future.
For specialist legal advice, contact the team. Visit www.jmp-solicitors.com
RICHARD HOUSE CARE HOME OFFERS RESIDENTIAL AND DEMENTIA CARE
Located on Gorse Road in Grantham, Richard House is a 68-bed care home which was developed with residents in mind.
The care home boasts a range of facilities, including en suite wet-rooms, communal dining rooms and lounges, games room, hairdressers, wellbeing room, cinema and tearoom.
Richard House also provides 24/7 personalised care. “As part of our community, residents will be able to continue with their daily routines while having the day-to-day needs looked after. Our kitchen team provide nutritious meals and fine dining. If you have any specialist dietary requirements, our team can prepare and provide this.
“At Richard House we provide something for everybody. Our engaging activities are tailored with our residents’ preferences in mind. With personalised care plans, range of facilities and dedicated team members, you can be sure your loved one is in safe hands.
“At Richard House care home, comfort, safety, wellbeing and happiness are at the heart of all we do. Our personalised care plans will be tailored to include everything from medications to likes and dislikes. We acknowledge how hard the decision to move into care can be, our friendly team are on hand to support you.”
For more information visit www.tanglewoodcarehomes.co.uk
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTS AT GRANTHAM PREP
Grantham Preparatory International School is a non-denominational independent school for boys and girls aged 3-11.
The school fosters academic, musical and sporting excellence by creating a friendly learning environment using traditional teaching methods backed up by a dedicated and experienced teaching staff.
“We take pride in our outstanding academic reputation, ensuring that we provide the highest level of tuition to pupils of all abilities. The strict limitation on class size at the school guarantees that all children receive individual attention so they can reach their full potential in all aspects of school life.”
With the guidance and support offered, children will be prepared for secondary school by the end of their time at Grantham Prep, including public school entrance exams and grammar schools selection exams.
Grantham Prep has a unique Early Years Unit too, with a stimulating indoor and outdoor environment for the children to access all year.
Excellence in all areas
The school also offers an extensive range of extracurricular activities after school hours to supplement learning. Children can strengthen muscles, develop new skills and face new challenges while fostering a love for learning outside of the classroom.
“ISI visited our school in January 2023 and their report found us ‘Excellent’ in all areas. We were delighted that the inspection recognised the many strengths of our happy school.”
According to the ISI report, January 2023: ‘The quality of the pupils’ academic and other achievements is excellent’ and ‘The quality of the pupils’ personal development is excellent’.
“We are an international school welcoming children from different cultures and faiths. This brings opportunities to connect with our other schools around the world and this September we will take a group of children to a football camp at the Real Madrid training ground.
“Although we are a small school in Lincolnshire, we value the opportunity to be part of a larger family and play and learn alongside children from all over the world.”
To find out more please visit www.tgps.co.uk
Photographs: Mick Fox