Grantham gets into gear
Glynis Fox finds a town with a renewed air of confidence and the drive to rise to new challenges.
If you haven’t visited Grantham lately, now could be a good time to check out some of the town’s newest arrivals on the shopping and leisure fronts.
You will also be able to see Grantham’s new cinema taking shape and you are likely to hear people talking about the latest state of play on plans for edge-of-town designer shopping outlets and an exciting ‘garden village’.
It’s clear this is a destination with a renewed air of confidence and the drive to ensure it rides out today’s challenges and develops to the benefit of residents, businesses, shoppers, day and longer-staying visitors.
There’s no doubt that Grantham, in common with towns countrywide, has been buffeted by the winds of change in recent times – but it’s good to see that new enterprises have been popping up over the past few months and it still has a popular Saturday market.
Grantham is also home to some great companies, visitor attractions and excellent schools and it has the capacity to host crowdpulling events – including the successful Gravity Fields festival.
But South Kesteven District Council Leader Councillor Matthew Lee said the future cannot be left to chance. That is why the authority started taking action to create a more economically vibrant future for everyone by launching InvestSK a year ago.
Now SKDC’s Cabinet has just given the thumbs up to a complementary initiative, DeliverSK. This has to be ratified by the full Council, which is being asked to approve investment of up to £100,000 in start-up costs and a further £500,000 working capital. Successful projects would return this for use on future schemes.
InvestSK is a wholly-owned independent company, and its Board. This is currently made-up of councillors, but it will soon include private sector representation.
The team behind the company believes that its strategies for success will make it a gamechanger for Grantham, by helping to supercharge economic and physical regeneration by attracting further inward investment.
InvestSK’s team is already talking to businesses and organisations about their needs and ambitions and what else they want to see happening in Grantham.
SKDC Leader Councillor Matthew Lee said: “There are a huge number of opportunities to boost the town. We want to turn these into the reality so that everyone can benefit.
“We have a unique offer. Grantham is on the East Coast mainline and on the doorstep of the A1. We want more businesses to bring their names here and to encourage people to commute to work here.
“It’s all about placemaking and InvestSK is working on nine key themes. These are Commercial, Arts and Heritage, Leisure and the Visitor Economy, Retail and Markets, the Public Realm, Living, Gateways, Transport and Skills,” said Coun Lee.
“On the retail front, it is no longer all about towns having big department stores. Today’s trend is towards people buying online. The days of towns being all about shopping have gone. They need to become leisure destinations in their own right.”
Ideally that means local specialist shops, other independent retailers, coffee shops, restaurants and small retail chain outlets. People will have a choice of attractions to visit, events to enjoy and be encouraged to spend several hours in town.
“We also want to see more office accommodation in the town centre, so that people working there can pop out at lunchtimes for a bite to eat and visit the shops.”
Grantham continues to make headlines with plans for two high-end designer outlets and a ‘garden village’ development on Spitalgate Heath, which would include 3,700 new homes, 110,000 hectares of employment space (creating up to 4,000 new jobs), schools, shops, a health centre and sports facilities.
The council has already given final approval for the proposed £100 million Grantham Designer Outlet, put forward by Buckminster and Rioja Developments, which could create up to 1,500 new jobs.
It will go at the southern end of the town and will incorporate cafes, restaurants, public spaces, parking and a visitor and tourism centre. A bus service will connect it with Grantham town centre. A railway station has also been talked about.
Another designer outlet application – put forward by Downtown – is due to go before SKDC’s Development Management Committee in October. The application for the Garden Village project will be discussed further by the council’s Development Management Committee before the end of the year.
On the leisure front, construction of the town’s new five-screen Savoy Cinema, which will also have two shop units on site, is well underway. It is due to welcome its first cinema-goers next Easter.
A new public walkway is also being created between SKDC’s offices and the new cinema complex and nearby shops. It is designed to improve access between St Peter’s Hill and the new cinema for walkers and cyclists, helping to boost footfall in this part of the town centre.
The DeliverSK scheme (awaiting full council ratification as we went to press) will be a joint venture between SKDC and a private company, which has experience of managing, funding and bringing large-scale developments to fruition.
It will be responsible for creating a pipeline of development and regeneration projects, from the point of concept through to completion.
DeliverSK could get involved in anything from medium to large-scale housing developments, including social and affordable homes, office and employment space, leisure facilities and mixed-used regeneration schemes.
“The DeliverSK fund will help us to bring partnership projects on stream by allowing us to bring forward development sites and work with the private sector to turn our ambitions for the future into reality,” said Coun Lee.
Detailed business plans would need to be produced for preferred schemes, and proposals which needed to use council-owned land or the investment of council money would require council scrutiny.
“DeliverSK will complement the work of InvestSK, helping Grantham to grow by attracting new companies into the district and supporting existing businesses to grow and thrive. It will also promote art, culture and the visitor economy,” added Coun Lee.
InvestSK strategic lead, Steve Bowyer said: “In terms of our role, we are here to help grow South Kesteven’s economy and prosperity and help to make it a better place for its businesses and citizens.
“We will focus not just on growing our companies and attracting new investment, which will create more jobs, but also driving the arts, cultural, visitor, town centre and heritage experience. We will also be working to improve skills in the area to ensure that we retain and build talent.
“Grantham is a fascinating town with a genuinely rich heritage and so much opportunity to grow. Our role will be to ensure that we make the best of the town’s qualities – which are numerous and diverse – and bring in new and exciting activities,” said Mr Bowyer.
“We’ve already started to breathe new life into Grantham’s Saturday market; we’re working with local heritage attractions to help tell some of the stories of the town’s past and we’re looking to the future by helping our companies to grow,” he added.
GRANTHAM COLLEGE LAUNCHES BRAND NEW UNIVERSITY CENTRE
Grantham College is proud to announce the expansion of its higher education provision by investing in a new University Centre. The centre will be located in the College’s historic Elsham House building. The bespoke centre will see a transformation of the building, designed to serve the needs of the College’s HE university level students and further enhance the student experience.
The College has also recently welcomed a new assistant principal for higher education: Dr Steven Peacock. Steven has worked in higher education for a number of years and is looking forward to taking on new challenges stating: “I’m excited to join Grantham College at a time of expansion in higher education. The development of the University Centre will provide better facilities and a dedicated space for our higher education students. We already have a significant number of university students studying at the college in collaboration with our partner body, Bishop Grosseteste University.”
Grantham College’s higher education provision recently received a silver Teaching Excellence and Framework (TEF) award. TEF measures the things students care about; students invest significant amounts of time and money in higher education and expect a high-quality academic experience. The TEF judging panel considers evidence including continuation rates, student satisfaction, employment data, and further study outcomes.
Higher Education subjects currently offered at Grantham College include Biology, Media, Engineering, Art & Design, Health & Social Care, Computing, Performing Arts, Business, Sport, and Professional Studies. The College offers a range of HE course levels, including Foundation Degrees, HNC (Level 4) and HND (Level 5), and Higher Level Degree Apprenticeships. Some of these courses are awarded in partnership with Bishop Grosseteste University.
Grantham College are hosting their next open evening on 1st November, 5pm–8pm. The University Centre will be open for tours and staff will be on hand to answer any questions or take applications. Alternatively, apply online at www.grantham.ac.uk, pick up an application form or call 01476 400200.
REINVENTED TRADITIONAL JEWELLERY
James Rudge has built an excellent reputation as a leading goldsmith and jewellery designer for the last ten years. He and his wife Natalie took over the retail jewellers and workshop in Welby Street, Grantham in June 2018.
MD Jewellers offer bespoke and unique pieces created for clients using the traditional skills James first learnt as an apprentice in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. Twenty-first-century technology is now part of his fresh approach to traditional jewellery retail with the use of CAD design to illustrate and create fine quality, individual commissions.
James’ passion for jewellery was born at the bench in Birmingham’s historic heart of jewellery, The Jewellery Quarter.
James apprenticed in and mastered the techniques of traditional craftsmanship, working in environments where skill was of greatest importance and perfection was the only acceptable standard.
This foundation of traditional technical excellence combined with experiences in bespoke design and retail management has led James to endeavour to challenge preconceptions of traditional jewellers and the experiences they offer their customers.
As well as jewellery design, MD Jewellers also offer jewellery repair and restoration, valuations, pre- owned luxury watches, vintage and antique jewellery. Be sure to visit to discuss your special commission or gift.
GRANTHAM SHOPPING AND LEISURE
Grantham has welcomed a variety of new shops and eateries in recent months and other established businesses have been investing in expansion.
Among the names to look out for are Cinco Lounge, Bon Patisserie, the Katana Japanese Restaurant, The Works and Feelgood Fitness.
The ‘home from home-style’ restaurant Cinco Lounge opened in the Isaac Newton Centre in May and serves up tasty food and drinks all day, between the hours of 9am and 10pm.
Assistant manager Maggie Howe said the lounge, whose windows open on to London Road, which runs through the centre of Grantham, is a licensed venue which also welcomes vegans and caters for people with gluten-free diets.
“We have had an excellent response since our arrival in the town,” said Maggie.
The Katana Japanese Restaurant moved into The George Shopping Centre six months ago, bringing locals and visitors another fresh experience in eating out.
Owner Deepak Chatri said: “We wanted to bring something new to Grantham. So far everything is going well.
The restaurant, which has about ninety seats, offers extra choice for family and friends, who can enjoy watching a chef cooking food at their table. The Katana has attracted some good feedback on social media.
Feelgood Fitness, which is also based in The George Shopping Centre, prides itself on offering the sort of personal, attentive service which has gained it a loyal following.
The gym has been in Grantham for eleven years, but has just undergone an exciting expansion, with the aim of offering fitness fans and potential new members something new.
Manager Helen Egan said: “One of the things that makes me unique is that we have a ‘ladies only’ area.
“We have also created a boutique functional group training room on our ground floor. It is designed to be swish and exclusive and it features the latest technology and lighting.”
Feelgood Fitness’ owner is also the brains behind Myzone, the wearable tracking belt which monitors people’s heart rates when they are working out.
The system, which uses a changing coloured lighting system to reflect the intensity of group workouts, will be used in the gym’s new training room.
Helen added that Feelgood Fitness is excited about its latest investment.
“Grantham is evolving and changing. We are going along with that trend and keen to show confidence in the town’s future,” she said.
LOCALLY SOURCED AND FRESHLY PREPARED AT THE STAG
Visiting a traditional country pub is one of the pleasures of the autumn and winter months and a warm welcome awaits drinkers and diners at The Stag Inn, Barkston near Grantham.
The Stag is a heritage building with charming beamed ceilings, slate floors and all the comforts expected of contemporary hospitality.
The Loveridge family own The Stag. Mike Loveridge is chef/patron, working alongside Sam his wife, who is landlady and their manager Ben Stanley, to ensure the smooth running of front of house.
Mike produces the menus alongside his head chef Josh Deehan, and takes great pride in featuring a broad range of locally sourced produce. All food is freshly prepared to order and there are local ales too to sip as you eat. There are pub classics such as steak and Tiger Ale pie, homemade burger with Cropwell Bishop Stilton or beer battered haddock and chips. The menu includes wild mushroom risotto, roast rump of lamb or duck breast with beetroot puree and Bordelaise sauce and new additions lamb shank, belly pork and Goan fish curry. With menus changed seasonally, look on the website for current choices where you will also find details of the sandwich, Bambi and Sunday Lunch options. With the festive period approaching there is a Christmas Fayre menu available from 30th November to 21st December. Book now to celebrate in style with friends and family.
Stag Inn, Church Street, Barkston, Grantham NG32 2NB. Tel: 01400 250363, www.thestagbarkston.co.uk
DISCOVER DOWNTOWN JUST OFF THE A1
“Our stores have a lot of history – in fact, we are over 200 years in the making! 1804 saw the beginning of the retail dynasty when John Oldrid and Richard Hyde purchased a small retail unit in the Lincolnshire town of Boston. Since then, we have grown to become one of the only family owned chains of department stores in the UK and are proud to serve the local community with stores located across the Lincolnshire area, including the remarkable Downtown Grantham site.”
With over 250,000 product lines at the site, Downtown Superstore and Garden Centre are filled with your favourite brands. From White Stuff to Weber, Le Creuset to Landmann, Bosch to Benefit, Radley to Ruby Shoo, and Ted Baker to Tempur; both stores bring you department after department of the top brands synonymous with quality and excellence. Explore each of the floors and discover the dreamy Denby dinner sets that can be accompanied by the gorgeous glassware collection. Search for your warm winter coat with Barbour and wrap it up with a snuggly scarf from well-loved Joules. You can truly get it all.
Just a stone’s throw away from each other, the stores are a must-visit destination for all the family. Downtown Superstore presents fashion, furniture and fabulous pieces to add character to your living space whilst Downtown Garden Centre offers you inspiration for your home both inside and out, a centre of excellence for machinery, BBQs and tools and even a place that is perfect for your pets. Both stores provide a spot to relax whether for a cup of coffee and cake; afternoon tea with prosecco or even a good old baked potato; the two first floor cafés offer a warm and friendly environment perfect for a mid-shop ‘pit stop’.
Don’t forget the free parking, Price Match Guarantee, Interest Free Credit and even a regular bus service to and from Grantham Town Centre, just a handful of the benefits of shopping at the Downtown Grantham site.
Discover Downtown Grantham, often referred to as “Lincolnshire’s John Lewis.”
ATTRACTIONS IN AND AROUND GRANTHAM
Grantham makes the perfect base for day and staying visitors keen to explore the town and nearby attractions.
Grantham Museum, in St Peter’s Hill, is a good place to start to get a flavour of its history and discover more about key figures associated with the town, such as Britain’s first woman Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the eminent mathematician, scientist, theologian and author Sir Isaac Newton.
The late Mrs Thatcher was born in Grantham and you can see a black plaque on the wall of her birthplace at the corner of North Parade and Broad Street. There is also a blue plaque honouring Sir Isaac Newton on the wall of his old school, The King’s School.
Whilst in town, there’s a chance to visit the National Trust property Grantham House, a former wool merchant’s residence built around 1380 and St Wulfram’s Parish Church, a medieval building put up over a period of 400 years, thanks to the wealth of the wool trade.
Other local National Trust properties worth exploring are Belton House at nearby Belton, which is also home to a herd of fallow deer. The house is open year-round and hosts events to suit the whole family.
Also in the ownership of the National Trust is Woolsthorpe Manor, the birthplace of Sir Isaac Newton. This old Lincolnshire farmhouse dates back to the seventeenth century.
Visitors can still stand in the room where Newton used a prism to split sunlight into the colours of the rainbow as he explored the nature of light. The famous apple tree linked to his discovery of the law of gravity still thrives in the farmhouse grounds.
CORNUCOPIA OF DIVINE TREASURES
The Antiques Store (Grantham), one of Lincolnshire’s “must go to stores” has just celebrated its 2nd birthday.
Located on Union Street (adjacent to LIDL car park) the store is a three-storey haven of delights to tempt you – from furniture to jewellery, vintage clothing, collectables, mid-century, modern art, and much more. The experienced team that run the store are always on hand to help and advise.
“One five-star review summed us up as ‘…an amazing cornucopia of sublime treasures’ and its easy to see why. Charlotte Milford, owner of The Antiques Store (and director of Field Dog Fairs Ltd, Antiques & Vintage Fairs) has a passion for antiques, vintage and interiors and this is evident to see in the store. The range of dealers in the store is varied and the layout within is stylish, inviting, and spacious.”
Open 7 days a week and visitors are always guaranteed a warm welcome.