Gainsborough extends a welcome
The thriving Lincolnshire market town has an ambitious vision for the future with plans for major growth, town centre regeneration and an improved visitor experience. By Melanie Burton
Tax relief incentives are on offer to businesses to locate to two key employment sites in the area, in a bid to unlock private sector investment into the district.
West Lindsey District Council has offered new or expanding businesses the opportunity to apply for up to 100 per cent discretionary business rate relief. Businesses are being invited to locate within two of West Lindsey’s strategic employment sites to benefit from this offer.
The Central Lincolnshire Food Enterprise Zone at Hemswell Cliff consists of 28 acres of new employment land to support the growth of the regional food and farming supply chain along the A15 corridor.
The site offers easy access to the A15, M180, A1 and M1 road networks.
Central Lincolnshire is placed at the heart of a food chain worth more than £4bn within a 50-mile radius. With a strong local supply base in agriculture, it is home to high-profile crop and seeds specialists such as Gleadell, Frontier and Limagrain, as well as leading food sector companies such as Ryvita, Faccenda, Caistor Seafoods and Kerry Ingredients.
Somerby Park (Gainsborough) has 20 acres of serviced employment land at the edge of town location with direct access to the A631, linking to the A1/A15 and motorway network.
Gainsborough is the focus of a major growth and investment programme, which will see 4,435 homes developed by 2036, together with commercial development and job creation.
Somerby Park Enterprise Initiative is part of this programme, led by West Lindsey District Council.
Chairman of the Policy & Resources Committee, Councillor Jeff Summers, said West Lindsey needed to position itself to compete effectively with other areas in order to secure business investment and support economic growth and job creation.
“We recognise that business rates are a significant cost to businesses and that discounting is a tool the council can employ pro-actively, in order to stimulate investment in land and premises,” he said.
Councillor Sheila Bibb, chairman of the Prosperous Communities Committee explained: “This offer will help us create a thriving business environment, to support sustainable communities and quality employment. However, we would like to promote genuine inward investment and business growth, creating new jobs (not displaced from elsewhere in the district) and investment in new or improved commercial floor space.”
Gainsborough is also one of the twenty Housing Zones outside London designed to accelerate housing development. The town will benefit from £18 million of public sector investment which will underpin heritage-led regeneration and housing-led economic growth.
Gainsborough is predicted to see an economic growth forecast of 12% which supports a 47% increase in the number of homes in the town, ultimately increasing the population to more than 30,000.
The town centre and historic river front will be revitalised and linkages to the first-class retail and food and drink offer in Marshall’s Yard will be enhanced, making Gainsborough a strong investment proposition.
A number of key sites have already been earmarked for housing investment. Gainsborough’s riverside will be transformed to offer retail and leisure units, boosting the economy and helping create more than 3,000 jobs.
The Greater Gainsborough Housing Zone presents an exciting opportunity for UK-wide developers, which is just the beginning of the next chapter for the town.
An expanding population will go hand-in-hand with the provision of more jobs, improved education, more and better services and facilities, an improved town centre and a generally better quality of life for all.
In twenty years Gainsborough is anticipated to have a well planned and vibrant town centre with a variety of high quality shops, services and leisure uses, developed heritage assets creating unique landmark attractions, building on the success of Marshall’s Yard and Whittons Mill, and an enhanced network of green spaces.
It is also expected to have its first sustainable Urban Extension, with a range of high quality housing and employment provision, a strong and connected economy providing a wide range of jobs to serve an expanded workforce and an improved transport network with enhanced rail provision which has capitalised on the links to the Humber Bank, Doncaster and Sheffield.
New posters signposting tourists to key locations throughout West Lindsey have been designed and unveiled, showcasing key places, to visit, stay and eat.
The posters feature unique drawings of Gainsborough Old Hall Medieval Manor House, Market Rasen Racecourse, golf course and much more.
The tourist information points are part of West Lindsey District Council’s strategy to boost tourism.
According to the latest figures, the economic value of tourism in West Lindsey was reported at £126.5 million in 2017. The figures were revealed in the most recent STEAM report (a measurement of tourism), which showed an increase of 7.2 per cent from 2016.
Councillor Paul Howitt-Cowan, member champion for tourism at West Lindsey District Council, said visitors play a vital role in supporting more than 1,700 full-time equivalent jobs locally.
“We have a number of great places to visit, so I am not surprised that we attracted more than 2.468 million visitors to West Lindsey in 2017.
“Our three historic market towns – Caistor, Market Rasen and Gainsborough – are all rich in heritage. And with events such as our Illuminate festival and the countdown to the Mayflower 400, I anticipate more visitors will follow.”
A new website called Discover Gainsborough has been launched to signpost visitors to places to see in the town. There is also a new Facebook page, which people can follow so they don’t miss out on the latest events taking place.
The STEAM (Scarborough Tourism Economic Assessment Model) report quantifies the local economic impact of tourism, from both staying and day visitors, through analysis and use of a variety of inputs including visitor attraction numbers, tourist accommodation bedstock, visitor expenditure levels, transport use levels and tourism-specific economic multipliers.
The regeneration of Gainsborough town centre is a step closer following the exchange of contracts between West Lindsey District Council and partner, Muse Developments.
The first phase of development will centre on Gainsborough’s historic town centre, where the team will look to develop a cinema with restaurant outlets, a new public square, along with extensive public realm improvements to the riverfront.
Future phases will include potential residential sites in Gainsborough and elsewhere in the council’s district.
The upcoming programme of regeneration will aim to create a series of permanent jobs in the local area, as well as up to 100 during the construction phase.
Marshall’s Yard is Gainsborough’s prime shopping centre, attracting thousands of shoppers every week.
The £39 million development opened in April 2007 and tenants include Next, Marks & Spencer Simply Food, Laura Ashley, The Body Shop, DW Sport and the independent department store Browns.
The centre has won four awards since opening including the prestigious British Council of Shopping Centres’ Gold Award for In Town Retail Schemes in December 2007. The development includes office space at first floor level as well as in the Pattern Store.
The Marshall’s Yard site was formerly occupied by the Marshall family’s Britannia Iron Works which was founded in 1848. The company built steam engines, threshing machines and agricultural machines which were exported all over the world.
The site is steeped in industrial heritage, and many of the original structures were listed. These have been refurbished and retained, with new architecture sensitively designed to blend the old with the new.
The heritage is celebrated throughout the site – an old steam crane from the engineering works provides a dramatic entrance to Marshall’s Yard, and information boards across the centre celebrate the history of this once internationally renowned hub of world class engineering.
Marshall’s Yard is owned and operated by Marshall’s Yard Ltd, a joint venture partnership of Prospect Estates and Dransfield Properties.
Dransfield Properties is also behind the brand new purpose-built 56-room Travelodge hotel in Gainsborough Town Centre. Situated in the Roseway Quarter, the stunning Edwardian style building, with entrances from Market Street and Roseway Car Park is Gainsborough’s first branded budget hotel and has created 16 new jobs within the community.
Dransfield Properties has brought the development together with support from West Lindsey District Council as part of its inward investment strategy.
Mark Dransfield, managing director of Dransfield Properties, said: “This is our company’s first hotel development and it will make a huge difference to the transformation of this part of Gainsborough.”
Engineering is a big part of the town’s heritage, so it is fitting that the town is home to the Gainsborough Centre of Engineering Excllence which opened last September.
The Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (GLLEP) is supporting the Made in Gainsborough initiative and has contributed £12,913 for the first phase of the project, and a provisional future allocation of £14,492 has been agreed for phase 2 which will support the relocation of milling and turning provision to Gainsborough.
Clare Hughes, who leads on skills at the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, said: “It’s easy to overlook the fantastic businesses we have right on our doorstep because they are hidden on industrial estates or behind large factory doors.
“The Made in Gainsborough initiative will change this by highlighting some of the products we engineer, right here in Lincolnshire, and by making training available for the skilled jobs on offer.
“It’s really great to see local employers, large and small, collaborating in this way, not only for the benefit of their own businesses, but also in support of local young people.”
Key engineering companies in the town, which manufacture products worldwide, said they were competing to fill vacancies and struggling to find local training.
The challenge is to sustain this important industrial sector in a difficult economic environment and a critical part of this will be to grow talent and skills within the area.
They teamed up with the GLLEP, West Lindsey District Council and Gainsborough College to come up with a training solution for their long-term economic sustainability.
The businesses include: A Schulman, AMP Rose, Clean Tech, Eminox, Hooton Engineering, Regal Manufacturing Ltd, Trepko and Wefco. Clare said it was great to see the centre open and filled with students.
“Before now, the closest apprenticeship schemes were in Lincoln and Scunthorpe. When the vacancies for Made in Gainsborough launched, we were inundated with applications – we were well over subscribed.
“This shows that there wasn’t just a demand for local companies, but for the young people of Gainsborough too.”
Chairman of West Lindsey District Council, Cllr Pat Mewis said Made in Gainsborough was a truly collaborative initiative, which has been led by engineering businesses in the town, with the support of the GLEEP, the college and the council.
“Together we have been able to secure this wonderful training facility, which will develop future engineering specialists and support the businesses as they continue to grow to support our economy,” she said.
RACETORATIONS – A & E FOR YOUR CLASSIC CAR
Racetorations Ltd has been trading as a TR sports car specialist in Gainsborough since 1986, starting in a rented 1,000 sq ft unit in a then small new industrial estate in Thornton Street. From inception Racetorations recruited locally, the first “paid” member of staff being a Gainsborough school leaver. Its expansion over 30+ years has always been by training Gainsborough school leavers working in motor apprenticeship schemes or recruiting local skilled staff. The latter in areas of bodyshop, painting and upholstery, fitting and manufacture. The administrative staff have also been locally recruited.
“We have a successful working relationship with The Academy where we support their events, usually by displaying Triumph Sports cars and supplying senior staff to talk with students. One of our senior managers is a recruit from The Academy, nine years ago. Also our longest serving member of staff, twenty-nine years, was from Beckingham Primary School!”
The company supports an apprenticeship scheme and is accredited as a University training workplace for Masters Degree level in autosport engineering from University of Central Lancashire.
“We enjoy good trading relationships with the many engineering companies throughout Gainsborough and the area, these companies being a very important part of being able to operate our business.”
The youthful management team (MD excepted!) is planning to expand the business beyond the rebuilding of Triumph TR sports cars. Its skilled and experienced staff, allied to its comprehensive workshop facilities, will be made available to support customers who currently own Classic Cars.
The situation – Racetorations is reaching out to Classic Car owners who require any mechanical assistance or advice. Particularly those who have never heard of Racetorations or have considered the company to be exclusive to the Triumph TR marque.
Racetorations is well placed for Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire and the company plans to offer this catchment area its skills and services that have been honed building and renovating classic cars over the past 30 years.
The workshop facilities – Racetorations’ premises is a clean 10,000 sq ft self-contained workshop, reception and car park. All the necessary skills and equipment are available “in house”. 3D computer aided design software is used in the production of their unique product range. They offer: servicing, rebuilding of engines, mechanical repairs and adjustments, axles and gearboxes, upholstery interiors and weather equipment, body repairs, chassis jigging, heated spray booth, engineering – lathe, milling and original wheeling machine. Wet or dry blasting, powder coating and ultrasonic cleaning. Trailer for car delivery/collect available. MOTs.
The staff – Established in 1986 the staff have been the critical element in the company’s success. There is negligible staff turnover and as a result Racetorations has retained skills and a good balance of enthusiastic youth tempered with measured experience.
PILGRIMS’ HERITAGE TRAIL
Linked to the Mayflower 400 initiative is the Pilgrims’ heritage trail commemorative project which has benefited from a £450,000 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant to a project to commemorate the Pilgrims’ heritage.
The investment has funded the appointment of two new roles to support heritage tourism and create learning opportunities around the Pilgrims’ story in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.
The roles will be funded for three years and include: a Heritage Engagement Officer and a Heritage Support Officer.
The Heritage Engagement Officer visits schools and groups across the Pilgrim Roots area equipped with dressing up costumes, learning boxes and lesson programmes, to increase knowledge and pride in the ownership of the Separatist part of the Mayflower story.
The Heritage Support Officer works with tour operators and independent visitors to advise about local Pilgrim heritage sites, organise tour guides, arrange transport and hotel and restaurant facilities bookings.
The ambitious plans also include a new Pilgrims’ Trail to enhance the existing trail, which marks out key Pilgrims’ heritage sites – including sites at the Old Hall and the United Reformed Church, new interpretation boards erected at eight key sites, each with their own stories to tell, and a new website with information on history, ancestry, news and events.
The project will help promote and share Gainsborough’s role in the story of the Pilgrims, some of whom sailed on the Mayflower to America in 1620, and will create a lasting legacy for the area building up to the 400th anniversary of the voyage in 2020 and beyond.
Dr Anna Scott, West Lindsey District Council’s Mayflower 400 Officer, said: “Although this is a story that is 400 years old, the resonance it continues to have today is profound. Our project will be focusing on core themes of freedom, tolerance and migration – which are things we can relate to and continue to debate, experience and fight for today.
“This story is incredibly meaningful for people who were descended from the original Mayflower passengers, but the story of what happened before the ship sailed from Plymouth has been much less well known.
“Our project helps us address that as we focus on where these people originally came from, how they came together and why they made the choices they did. One of the strengths of this project is the collaborative partnership which is making the project happen across county boundaries and includes a wide range of connected heritage sites.”
A year-long calendar of events has been planned to coincide with the Mayflower 400 commemorative year, starting with Illuminate in November this year and ending with a headline Illuminate event in 2020.
The official launch of the Pilgrims Trail will take place in the summer.
The Pilgrim Roots Heritage Project is a partnership led by Bassetlaw District Council with support from West Lindsey District Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, Bassetlaw Christian Heritage and the University of Lincoln. The project will run until September 2021.
VISUAL STRESS TESTING AT WALTERS OPTICIANS
Visual Stress is a term used to describe visual discomfort and perceptual distortions generally in printed text and is suffered by many people who struggle to read.
People who suffer from Visual Stress often complain of light sensitivity, headaches and migraines. It can be responsible for rapid fatigue when reading.
The severity of these symptoms can vary from person to person and occur despite normal vision, or continue when vision is corrected.
Many could be helped by overlays or Precision Tinted Lenses.
As a first step, it is important that anyone who struggles to read should have a full eye examination. It is important to rule out and treat other vision deficits before testing for Visual Stress.
Once an eye examination has been carried out, Walters can then test for the existence of Visual Stress. This is not a dyslexia test but there are strong links with dyslexia.
Whilst coloured overlays are useful when reading from a book, precision tints are more convenient when copying from the board or from another book – or for those individuals who are particularly light sensitive.
Overlay assessments are available at Walters’ Gainsborough and North Hykeham branches.Testing with the Colorimeter, for the precision tinted lenses, is only available at the Gainsborough branch.
Tel: 01427 616505 Gainsborough or 01522 686200 North Hykeham for more information or to book an assessment.
OLD HALL’S CONNECTIONS TO MAYFLOWER PILGRAIMS
Gainsborough is playing an important part in an international programme to mark the sailing of the Mayflower ship in 1620 from England to America.
The Mayflower 400 commemoration was launched in the House of Commons just before Christmas and will explore all aspects of the Mayflower history and legacy.
The programme encompasses a national visitor trail of 11 destinations in England, 12 months of cultural and events activity in addition to heritage, community, sporting and volunteering aspects.
Gainsborough Old Hall is the largest visitor attraction in the local area and is now regarded as one of the best preserved medieval manor houses in Britain.
It gives visitors a chance to explore the rooms and learn more about its royal connections and its role in the Separatists’ story which is linked to the Mayflower Pilgrims.
Some of the Separatists are thought to have worshipped clandestinely at the Old Hall with the permission of its sympathetic owner, merchant William Hickman.
Their preacher, John Smyth, was a strong influence on the Mayflower Pilgrims, and is generally considered to have later been a founder of the Baptist churches. Smyth had a large congregation of sixty or seventy people meeting secretly, thanks to the sympathies of William Hickman.
In 1606, they formally separated from the state church. Two groups formed – one in Gainsborough and one in Scrooby, across the Trent, under the care of a like-minded preacher Richard Clifton, the former rector of Babworth.
It cost them much hardship and heartache and ultimately their homes and their homeland. As the authorities intensified their crackdown on the Separatists, Smyth and a number of his followers resolved to emigrate in pursuit of their religious freedom. They slipped away from Gainsborough in 1607-08, heading for Holland.
Dr Anna Scott, West Lindsey’s Mayflower 400 Officer, was at the official launch which saw global representatives unite from all four nations involved in the programme, aiming to send a clear message regarding the strength and significance of the relationship between the UK, the Netherlands, the Native American Wampanoag and the United States of America.
“It was a brilliant event, with delegates in attendance from across the world. The countdown is now well underway for the Mayflower 2020 commemoration, and I’m excited about the part that West Lindsey has to play,” she said.
The Mayflower 400 commemoration programme in 2020 will comprise over 400 events that will span four nations – Britain, USA, the Netherlands and the Wampanoag – and is anticipated to yield a significant £440m impact on the business turnover across the UK Mayflower Compact destinations.