Town with independent appeal

Words by:
Melanie Burton
Featured in:
February 2017

Regeneration and a new lease of life for the town centre will continue to be the focus for 2017, in the traditional Lincolnshire market town of Gainsborough.
Plans have already been unveiled for a programme of investment and refurbishment of town centre shops, including new frontages to create an attractive new ‘independent quarter’.

And a number of new leisure-related projects have been set up boosting the local economy and visitor numbers to the town.

West Lindsey District Council is working together with retail experts Dransfield Properties Ltd – the developers of Marshall’s Yard – on exciting new plans to regenerate Gainsborough’s historic Market Street and Market Place areas of the town centre.

A joint venture company will be formed, which will see both partners investing on an equal basis with the aim of breathing new life into this part of the town, bringing vacant shops back into use and making them attractive for independent businesses, at affordable rents.

The project will involve refurbishing shopfronts to a high standard as well as upgrading the internal space.

Eve Fawcett-Moralee, strategic lead for Economic Developments and Neighbourhood at the council, explained the Joint Venture Company would continue to position Gainsborough as a retail destination.

“We have produced a heritage masterplan for the town, which has directed us to create a grant funding regime. This includes the Gainsborough Growth Fund to facilitate and enable new development through the Masterplan and Gainsborough Growth Programme Delivery Plan.

“The Gainsborough Growth Fund Retail Scheme is a pilot scheme, which has been rolled out to attract independent retailers. £50,000 has been earmarked to help with costs of physical works to premises.

“In addition, we are submitting bids to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a Townscape Heritage Initiative scheme for Lord Street and a partnership. The total value of these schemes will be circa £2 million.”

Leader of West Lindsey District Council, Councillor Jeff Summers said the vision was to create a hub of independent businesses in this part of the town centre.

“We recognise we need to do something to strengthen the appeal of the town,” he said.

“The Association of Town Centre Management regards this type of public and private sector partnership as an innovative way forward to regenerate historic market towns.

“The aim is to seek new tenants to widen the choices of shops, cafes and restaurants in Gainsborough.

“Dransfield Properties has a proven history of regenerating through retail as we have seen with Marshall’s Yard and we hope that our combined experience and funds will help create a sustainable town centre.”

Mark Dransfield, managing director of Dransfield Properties, said: “We pride ourselves on creating strong partnerships to strengthen the towns in which we work.

“This is a key part of the town centre and careful work and investment will create a strong linkage between the market place and Marshall’s Yard.”

In the meantime, the council is continuing to promote sites in its ownership including the former Guildhall, Bridge Street and the Baltic Mill through a procurement process.

This follows the successful INVEST Gainsborough launch last autumn.

Councillor Summers said the launch event brought together developers to listen to the plans for the area’s regeneration.

“We had a lot of positive interest in revitalising the town including proposals for a number of Brownfield sites,” he said. “Working in partnership to do the best for our district is vital and boosting the economy and finding employment for local people are priorities.”

There have been a few changes at Marshall’s Yard over the past twelve months, with new retailers setting up shop and others expanding.

“Root opened early in the autumn offering a fantastic range of healthy food on the go and we also welcomed Clarks to the centre,” a spokesman said.

“The local fashion retailer Chic also relocated to one of the larger units offering a wider range of fashion brands in the store’s new location. Seasalt also opened its first full Lincolnshire store a few days before Christmas, in the former Chic unit, after trialling a pop-up shop over the summer.

“We had a strong Christmas trading period and a busy post-Christmas winter sale. This year the Yard celebrates its 10th anniversary, which is a real opportunity to celebrate and reflect on what has been achieved since the development opened in April 2007.”

According to a recent independent study into perceptions and opportunities in the town, Gainsborough is the place to be for forward thinking and ambitious businesses.

The study questioned people’s general perceptions of Gainsborough and found that 78 per cent agreed the town is family orientated and 61 per cent felt it is both forward thinking and business focused.

Councillor Sheila Bibb said Gainsborough was gaining ground as the place to invest.

“Gainsborough is one of the Midlands’ best kept secrets,” she said. “This research supplies us with a benchmark to further improve the town’s offering; however it is great that people already recognise what opportunities Gainsborough presents.

“Business growth in the area is stable, but as a designated growth area with Housing Zone status this can be improved and Gainsborough offers affordable land for up to 4,350 homes and 19 hectares of prime commercial land to drive economic growth.

“Developers and investors are beginning to take advantage of the significant return on investment that our land has to offer and there are a number of major initiatives underway to regenerate the town, boost the retail, leisure and tourism offering and create up to 3,000 jobs.

Two initiatives set to benefit the people of Gainsborough are the opening of a new £85,000 Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) and a new skating facility, SK8Z, which is the first of its kind in the country. The MUGA was developed thanks to the work of six dedicated volunteers, who formed the Uphills MUGA Group Ltd.

The new facility allows residents to freely play ball sports in the Uphills area of the town. It also includes some outdoor gym equipment for the all the community to use. WREN, a not-for-profit business that awards grants to community projects from funds donated by FCC Environment through the Landfill Communities Fund, contributed £72,00 to the project.

SK8Z community ice skating rink, off Heapham Road, is the first off-ice centre in the UK and was developed and operated by MDSC.

It offers a first-class facility with public skating sessions, skating lessons and birthday party packages, as well as a cafe and car park for customers.

Utilising the ‘off-ice’ skate, visitors will have the ability to skate without the need for an ice rink, while still being offered the same level of experience gained by ice skating.

Paralympian Matt Lloyd, who came up with the idea, said: “It has always been our intention to make SK8Z a community hub, something for the people of Gainsborough and an addition to what is already on offer. As part of this, we are committed to using local companies and suppliers where possible.

“It is our long-term aim to make Gainsborough’s facility the head office and the first in a chain of similar skating hubs across the UK, creating excellent opportunities for our team members here.”
2016 was also a good year for the town’s existing sports and leisure facilities.

West Lindsey Leisure Centre was named Leisure Centre of the Year (multi-use) at the ukactive and Matrix Flame Awards, which is the health and fitness sector’s largest celebration of innovation and excellence.

And its operator Everyone Active also scooped the most coveted award of the night, Operator of the Year, which recognises high levels of performance from across the organisation.

The Flame Awards recognise leisure centres, health clubs, group operators and individuals that have demonstrated exceptional standards across all areas of the operation.

Kerry O’ Neill, contract manager at West Lindsey Leisure Centre, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won this fantastic award. There were some great centres on the shortlist, so to be named Leisure Centre of the Year is a huge achievement.

“Winning Operator of the Year topped off what has been a fantastic year for West Lindsey and Everyone Active as a whole.”

Walters Opticians is an independent family business established by Roy Walters in January 1998 with practices located in Market Place, Gainsborough and Hykeham Green Shopping Centre, North Hykeham, Lincoln.

Its aim is to always put the patient first and offer the sort of personal and high quality service that is rarely found these days.

It offers a comprehensive eye examination, backed up with an extensive range of ophthalmic equipment including retinal photograph.

Contact lens specialist Karen Everatt is on hand to offer expert advice and recommend the best contact lens, both clinically and to suit a customer’s needs and lifestyle. Contact lenses have many advantages, especially when taking part in sports and outdoors activities. They can be particularly good for children and teenagers, helping with self-esteem issues often associated with spectacle wear.

Walters maintains an extensive range of spectacle frames ranging from budget to designer and include Tom Ford, Gucci, Radley, Tiffany & Co to name but a few. Popular with the gents is Starck and Tag Heuer.

One of Walters’ qualified dispensing opticians will help the customer choose the right frame and will give advice on the best lenses to choose from, which may include anti-reflection coatings that will cut down on the glare from headlights and artificial lights, or transition lenses that change with the light.

Prescription sunglasses as well as non-prescription designer sunglasses are also available. Ray Ban and Oakley are among Walters’ most popular ranges.

New for 2017 is Walters’ Dry Eye Clinic.

“Dry eye disease is a reduction in the volume of tears and the quality of the tear film,” explained Walters’ Reagan Wright. “It affects a third of the UK population.

“There are many different possible causes of dry eye disease, such as lifestyle, prolonged computer use, stress and poor diet, extended contact lens wear and certain eye surgeries.”

The Delvers blue plaque trail originally consisted of small engraved plaques placed on timber plinths. The first of these was unveiled twenty years ago this year by Thelma and Darron Childs. It was the first memorial in the town to honour Gainsborough born writer Thomas Miller, to commemorate the 190th anniversary of Miller’s birth. The next two plaques celebrated, artist Karl Wood, in Curtis Walk and author, George Elliot, which can be found at the United Services Club.

Over the years the original plaques had become faded. It was therefore decided to launch a project to have new plaques made, this time cast in metal, replacing some from the original series, and others dedicated to new places and faces connected with Old Gainsborough. The last plaque was unveiled in 2015 by Thelma Childs and Phyllis Peart at Elswitha Hall, today the Caskgate Street surgery. Phyllis Peart was born in 1919 and had her first book Reminiscences published by The Delvers, which was followed up with a further publication, featuring Gainsborough’s original ‘call the midwife’. The Delvers, have been involved in many publications promoting and preserving the history of Old Gainsborough, including All Our Yesterdays, which tells the story in images, of the massive changes to the layout of the town after the Second World War. The Delvers’ latest publication, due out later this year, will tell the story of their twenty-year blue plaque trail.

Many people of Gainsborough and the surrounding area are familiar with the location of Drovers Call Care Home situated on Lea Road, as it is built on the site of a popular public house. As with many inns, time was called several years ago and the building fell by the wayside becoming derelict. The site looks very different now.

Purchased and demolished by Adam Knights, the director of Knights Care Ltd, a fabulous purpose-built, three storey care home now stands. Utilising his nineteen years’ experience within the care sector, Adam has created this quality purpose-built care facility for the residents of Gainsborough. His vision, to deliver exceptional standards of care to residents in a family like environment.

Judging from recent testimonials from clients, Adam and his team appear to be achieving this. Adam said: “It’s the positive comments and feedback I receive from our residents and family members which make it all worthwhile.”

This also seems to be emulated by last month’s visit from the Care Quality Commission, which rated the home as good.

As well as the building Adam has focused on the structure of his team to create an exceptional skilled care and nursing team.

He said: “Development of staff is paramount to the quality of care provided, we relish the opportunities that Lincolnshire has to offer young people. As a company we are very proud to support apprenticeships and mentoring programmes.”

Just this month care assistant Megan Bogg commenced on a two-year Advanced Practitioner foundation degree at Lincoln University.

Megan told us: “As well as attending university, I will complete my work based placement at Drovers Call. I am so pleased with the opportunity of pursuing a nursing career, one which I would never have had if it wasn’t for the support of Lisa McFarlane, the manager at Drovers Call.”

Adam, Lisa and the whole team at Drovers Call look forward to a very successful 2017. If you are interested in joining the team or would like to arrange a visit to view the home, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01427 678300 or you can email

Hemswell Kitchens Ltd is a small, friendly, family-run business based at Hemswell Cliff Business Centre. They are committed to providing customers with the right kitchen to fit their needs and budget.

As an independent business, they are able to combine a wide variety of products. They have recently introduced free-standing European oak pieces to their range, including islands and larders with internal wine racks and bread drawers.

Ruth Elliott, who owns and operates the business says: “I worked for many years in catering, where workflow was essential to the smooth running of a busy kitchen. I believe this insight into how we cook enables me to ask the right questions and make suggestions that improve the efficiency of the design.

“We start our free, no obligation design service with the client explaining to me what they like about their existing layout and what frustrates them. I produce a plan and 3D images with my ideas. They then come into the showroom to sit with me to tweak the design on the big screen until it is spot on.

“We itemise our quotations so our clients can see exactly how the costs are built up and make informed decisions to achieve their budget.

“We believe it is this personal one-to-one service that sets us apart from the high street brands.”

Sheree and her team at Accent on Home Design have been helping local families create their own bespoke space for over 20 years. From an initial home consultation, through to creation and fitting, the team will interpret your ideas. From classic to contemporary, velvets, brocades, plaids and checks there are plenty of ideas to choose from.

The showroom also offers a range of decorative accessories which can be made bespoke for your space.

Visit Accent on Home Design at 3 Southolme, Gainsborough DN21 2EQ or call 01427 679494.

Situated just north of Gainsborough, in the pleasant village of East Stockwith on the banks of the River Trent, Grosvenor House Care Home enjoys all the benefits of village life including regular outings to our superb village pub.

The home offers some of the best accommodation that you can find anywhere in the county.

If you are needing either short or long-term care, it would be time well spent just seeing for yourself, this beautiful home and the great care that the home’s residents enjoy.

Our short-term stay bed can be booked throughout the year for people who just need a little respite or holiday care. It is also an ideal opportunity to try the home first.

For more information visit or call Barbara Bussey on 01427 616950.

Social housing provider Acis is one of Gainsborough’s largest employers – and does more than you might think.

The organisation, which owns and manages more than 6,500 properties across four counties, operates in the main from its base on Bridge Street in the town.

It believes that everyone deserves to have the security of a decent home and offers a wide range of housing options to suit people’s needs, including quality, affordable homes for rent, full home ownership, shared ownership and sheltered accommodation.

Acis is committed to continually improving communities – whether that’s in the areas where it currently works and helps its customers, or new areas. It now supports more than 15,000 people across 14 different local authority areas – and you could be next.

With an annual turnover of £30m and an asset base of £220m, it aims to invest in communities and aims to build at least 150 new homes each year.

Shared ownership is a great way to get on the property ladder. It is a part-buy, part-rent scheme designed to help people who are not in a position to buy a home outright on the open market.

Shared ownership allows you to buy a share of a home (a minimum of 25%) through cash or a mortgage and make repayments on the rest, with the opportunity to increase your share over time. And what’s more, you can progress to full ownership in most homes.

To find out more about Acis and see their available homes, visit and follow Acis on Twitter at @AcisGroup or go to their Facebook page.

One of Gainsborough’s iconic buildings, the Trinity Arts Centre, is facing an exciting 2017. Not only is work almost complete on a £155,000 revamp of the town’s Grade II listed building but it looks set to be busier than it has ever been, with a varied programme of entertainment to suit all tastes.

Lisa Weller, manager of the Trinity Arts Centre, said a lot of work had been carried out at the centre, which was once the gothic Holy Trinity Church opened in 1843 because of the town’s increasing population.

“We have had all 200 seats in the auditorium taken out and replaced and brand new carpets in the auditorium and box office as well. It has been totally revamped and looks beautiful.”

Work has been ongoing since May last year when the roof repairs began. Since then, the vestry, which is one of the meeting rooms, has been painted and a kitchen added, so it has a self-contained eating area now.

A new floor has also been put in the studio meeting room and the toilets have been upgraded with hand dryers, new taps and new sinks.

“It does make a difference and adds a bit more of a luxury feel to the centre,” said Lisa. “It is just amazing. Everyone has been so patient during the work and everyone has been so supportive throughout, it is fantastic.

“We are so busy. The work can put people off coming but it hasn’t done and people have been so patient. We are selling out on so many things and we are even having to put on extra screenings to meet demand.

“It is an exciting feeling and 2017 looks like it is going to be another amazing year.”

Chairman of the council’s Prosperous Communities Committee, Councillor Sheila Bibb said: “The Trinity Arts Centre is a valued community facility and this work will help secure its future for years to come.”

Advanced Windows and Doors manufacture and install matching windows, doors and bifold doors. As a family run business based in the Midlands, we aim to provide a quality product and service nationwide. We are Fensa registered and offer the option of an Insurance Backed Guarantee on all our installations.

We specialise in aluminum frames, but also supply composite and uPVC. Aluminum is both highly durable and low maintenance, ensuring the windows will last 40 years or more. Visit our website at or call 01476 810708.

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