Friday 18th October 2019
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Words: Melanie Burton
Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the November 2018 issue

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Investment in its heritage and projects to attract more economy-boosting footfall to the area is the forward plan of action for the Lincolnshire town, finds Melanie Burton.

Situated on the main Lincoln to Grimsby road, the town is one of the western gateways to the picturesque Lincolnshire Wolds and has plenty to offer visitors, not least its renowned historic racecourse, which continues to break records year on year.

A three-year strategic business plan has just been agreed by the town council with the aim of building on that fame and putting the town firmly on the national visitor destination map.

And West Lindsey District Council is supporting the implementation of that plan with grant funding of £200k over a three-year period, making the strategic priorities a reality.

The town council’s consultant, Nicola Marshall said: “This is great news for the town. Two elements of the strategy are investment in the town’s heritage and attracting visitors to the town.

“A lot of work has been done around this aspect of the strategy and the town council is looking forward to working with West Lindsey on achieving the strategy’s priorities and pushing forward the economic development of the town. Its vision is for a strong and vibrant community.”

That vision is organised around five strategic priorities: environment and heritage; health and wellbeing; leisure and culture; development and economy and transport and access. And there are four core capital projects within the strategy.

They include investment and modernisation of the Festival Hall to create a principal community hub; the development of the Old Police Station into the town’s community heritage and visitor information centre; reinvigorating the Market Place and High Street and a new-build leisure centre.

A programme of heritage and town events aimed at attracting visitors and boosting the town’s economy has been established and those that have already taken place have proved to be highly successful.

The Old Police Station & Magistrates Court is a Grade II listed building owned by the town council.

“As part of the Old Police Station project, a number of events and activities have taken place over recent months which have helped draw visitors in from out of the town as well as local residents,” said Nicola.

“The events we have organised there have demonstrated how the building can be re-imagined and become a draw for visitors to the town as well as giving a buzz to the town for the local residents themselves.”

A highly successful historical exhibition Wolds Women of Influence drew in more than 100 visitors over its two-month run in the Old Police Station.

The exhibition was researched and curated by colleagues from the Fawcett Society, University of Lincoln and the Rase Heritage Society.

“It featured local women who made their mark on the national stage – like Jessie Boucherett from Willingham Hall, who set up the Society for the Promotion of Employment of Women in the late 1800s (still going strong today as ‘Futures for Women’) – and her sister Louisa Boucherett, along with Ann Dixon from Holton le Moor and Margaret Wintringham – the first woman to be elected as a Liberal MP – in Louth,” said Nicola.

“The exhibition also featured local women such as Caroline Smith, who ran the White Hart Inn for many years – and it was fascinating to research historic trade directories and see the range of trades and businesses that Market Rasen women ran.”

Spreading the Market Rasen name further afield, the town took part in the UK parliament’s Vote 100 Equali-Tea events to celebrate the centenary of women winning the vote and the private viewing of the Wolds Women of Influence exhibition was attended by Dr Anne Bridger the co-author of Timely Assistance – the history of the Society that Jessie Boucherett set up – and the secretary of Futures for Women, Jane Hampson.

Hundreds of visitors also visited the town for the Heritage Open Days event which saw the Old Police Station host an exhibition of past and present photos of Market Rasen and a police cutout, for people to take selfies.

“The Old Police Station and Magistrates Court is now on the map and we are building up a reputation for high quality and sometimes quirky exhibitions,” said Nicola.

“This is a fantastic use of the Courtroom and the council is delighted to see the exhibitions and events drawing in people from all over the county and even further afield.”

But it isn’t just the Old Police Station where there is a buzz about town. One of its more iconic buildings, the 400-seater Festival Hall, which was built in 1972 from subscriptions raised by the town, has benefitted from a major regeneration project and a new lease of life.

“The Festival Hall continues to host great music and theatre events,” said Nicola.

“Our next live music night is Kelly Oliver in concert on 9th November and we are delighted to welcome her back since she was our first booking two years ago when we launched live music at the Festival Hall.”

Market Rasen Racecourse also continues to play its part in putting the town on the national map, not only through its popular and record-breaking racedays but also through its open-air shows, Rasen Rocks.

Market Rasen Racecourse is part of The Jockey Club and is known as one of the friendliest places in the country to watch jump racing.

Such is the esteem in which the racecourse is held by racing industry professionals, it has been chosen by the Racehorse Owners’ Association as one of the top six smaller racecourses in Britain for three years running.

It is also a leading conference and events centre in the East Midlands and has its own caravan and camping site located inside the grounds of the racecourse making it an ideal base for holidaymakers to visit the local area and the surrounding Lincolnshire Wolds.

Not only has Market Rasen got £200k funding from West Lindsey District Council, it is also set to get another £24,000 cash injection.

Money left over from Market Rasen’s £200k Portas Pilot funding awards in 2012-13 is due to be handed back to the town with a new Town Centre Partnership (TCP) group overseeing where the cash is spent.

Residents have also been given the chance to have a say on what the money should be spent on.

Back in 2014, Market Rasen Business Improvement Group (MR BIG) beat off competition from hundreds of entries to secure cash in the government’s Portas Pilot project to transform struggling high streets. But the group disbanded in 2015 and the unspent money has been in the safekeeping of West Lindsey District Council ever since.

DUCKWORTH LAND ROVER READY FOR WINTER CHALLENGES
As the largest independent Land Rover dealership in the UK, Duckworth Land Rover of Market Rasen continue to uphold the values which have won them loyal customers throughout the county as well as invest in innovation and the expertise of their staff.

Managing director, Ben Duckworth is still as excited by the marque as his father Martin and grandfather James, who first built a strong reputation as Land Rover specialists and established their dealership in Market Rasen in 1980.

“The Land Rover range is still recognised as both the workhorse and the luxury vehicle of choice compatible with country life. Our location is at the heart of the Lincolnshire agricultural community and it’s to them we dedicate our engineering expertise and professionalism,” said Ben.

As the model range and appeal of Land Rover has grown so has Duckworths, to include a further refurbishment to their showrooms at Market Rasen shortly and two years ago a purpose-built premises at Kirton, Boston with superb facilities for Land Rover and Jaguar customers.

The Market Rasen site continues to be the flagship with high demand for new vehicles, parts and servicing. They are now also a Jaguar Authorised Repairer. Land Rover endures as the manufacturer of first choice for rural residents as well as those wanting to make a statement when urban driving. This winter could well bring more challenging weather conditions and the team at Duckworth Land Rover will not only be on hand to keep customers on the road but also support the community, as they did in 2017, when other transport could not beat the snow.

During November, Duckworth Land Rover will be launching some exclusive Black Friday offers. Keep an eye on the website and on social media for more details.

For more information and a test drive contact:
Duckworth Land Rover, Market Rasen
Racecourse Garage, Willingham Road,
Market Rasen, Lincolnshire LN8 3RE
Tel: 01673 842101
www.duckworth.co.uk

MARKET RASEN RACECOURSE
Market Rasen racecourse has been helping to spread the town name far and wide and attracting visitors to the area for about 190 years and it is still continuing to bring in the crowds.

From 1828 racing was run on various sites on the outskirts of the town until 1924, when it found its permanent home.

It continues to go from strength to strength with increased attendances, entries and events.

So far this year it has hosted sixteen racedays and has seen an average increase of ten per cent in admissions for its fixtures.

Racecourse general manager, Nadia Powell said the popularity of its Summer Plate Ladies Day grows year on year.

“2018 saw a record crowd with attendances in excess of 10,000. We have held two music night racedays featuring Plan B and Paloma Faith, respectively, and Paloma Faith proved to be one of Market Rasen Racecourse’s bestselling artistes to date.”

The racecourse has hosted two family fun days over the summer and a horseplay raceday aimed at giving the public the opportunity to engage and interact with horses from all equine activities to include dressage and show jumping demonstrations.

“Family Days at the races are on the up and this can be attributed to the varied entertainment we put on, not forgetting the horse racing itself,” said Nadia.

“We also hosted a horseplay raceday and due to the success of the event this will now become an annual fixture.”

As well as a rise in crowd numbers there has also been a jump in the number of entries.

“Not only have we noted an increase in attendances, we have been delighted with the number of runners across all fixtures.

“The average field size is up 1.5 compared to last year, this would averagely equate to an additional ten-plus horses every race meeting, so credit goes to Jack Pryor, the clerk of the course, Steve Bakin, head groundsman, and his team for their continued efforts to produce the best ground conditions throughout the summer and winter.”

New developments and initiatives have proved to be successful with excellent feedback and increased numbers, not only through the gates but in the field as well.

“Our ongoing focus on horse welfare and equine facilities has attracted an increase in the number of runners and racing professionals travelling to Market Rasen. Feedback attained has been excellent,” said Nadia.

“We have built a new playground inside a lawn enclosure which in turn has increased admissions to that enclosure by twelve per cent year to date and new toilets have been installed into the County enclosure and have increased in capacity, providing even better facilities for customers.”

Plans are well advanced for the coming year too with even more initiatives to attract more footfall to the area.

“In March next year we will be launching our first ‘Love Market Rasen Raceday’ which will host and promote local businesses in Market Rasen and aim to bring the community together and celebrate everything we love about Market Rasen and the surrounding areas,” said Nadia.

“We will also be launching the Market Rasen Business and Community Awards, which will include an awards dinner in November. Both members of the community and businesses will be recognised for the success and achievements during 2019.”

Proposals are also in the pipeline for the county bar to be refurbished into a new and upgraded bar facility which will be named in honour of Grand National winner Tiger Roll, who gained his first winning success at Market Rasen Racecourse.

MARKET RASEN STATION
The results of a £700,000 restoration project to breathe new life into a dilapidated Lincolnshire train station has reached fruition and it is hoped it will help increase footfall to the town and in turn boost the local economy.

A three-year scheme, supported by the National Lottery, to turn the Grade II listed Market Rasen Train Station into a heritage and community centre and business units is now complete, creating a valuable tourism asset to the town.

Since closing in 1997, the landmark Victorian building had fallen into disrepair and had been placed on the Buildings at Risk Register. It stood empty for twenty-one years before it was bought at auction for £50,000 in 2015 by Lincolnshire construction company Lindum Group Ltd.

Now, thanks to significant investment from the National Lottery, and the efforts of dedicated volunteers who make up the Market Rasen Station Community Project Ltd, the building has been given a new lease of life.

While no longer serving as a waiting room for travellers, the building is home to a heritage centre which charts the history of the station, a community room for use by local people and business space, which is home to two local companies, employing ten people between them.

Chair of the Market Rasen Station Community Project Ltd, Emma Wardell said: “The Market Rasen Station Community Project is delighted with this restoration project which has been funded thanks to National Lottery players.

“The station is fondly remembered by so many people in the town and has languished for too long. It is so rewarding to see this heritage asset being brought back into sustainable use.

“The newly-created commercial units in the building have been occupied by established Lincolnshire shipping company Torbulk and a start-up enterprise, which will operate a new café called Platform 2.”

Building work at the station began in in June 2016 thanks to an initial development grant of £71,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The first stage involved restoration of the roof, which saw all of the original slates stripped off and the water-ravaged rafters repaired, before new slates were fitted to ensure the building was watertight. Then, following confirmed National Lottery funding of £463,900 from HLF in November 2016, work to restore the rest of the building began in June 2017.

This included replacing the stonework at the entrance with locally sourced Ancaster Stone, restoring brickwork (replacing it where needed) and refurbishing windows. Internally new partitions were erected, plasterboard fitted to the walls and new flooring was laid.

Lindum is leasing the finished building to the Market Rasen Station Community Project for a peppercorn rent for the next twenty-five years.

Station facilities manager, Lynn Ritson said the project had become a labour of love for the construction team.

“As a Lincolnshire business, which employs local people, Lindum has an interest in helping to save important community landmarks such as this. It has been very rewarding to see it transform back into its former glory,” she said.

Throughout the three-year renovation, the group behind the project shared its progress with the local community. Tours of the site were given to schools and Scout groups and a number of open days were held to demonstrate the construction skills and expertise involved in the restoration.

“As funding for this project has been made possible by the general public through playing the National Lottery the Market Rasen Station Community Project Ltd and Lindum felt it was important to share the journey,” said Mrs Ritson.

“We took part in heritage open days as well as the Wolds Walking festival and opened up the site to visits from interested community groups.”
Market Rasen Train Station was first opened in 1848 as part of the Great Grimsby and Sheffield Junction Railway. The waiting rooms and ticket office closed in 1997 although the station remains a popular stop on the Grimsby - Lincoln - Newark line, which is managed by East Midlands Trains. It is used by 65,000 people a year.

Head of HLF East Midlands, Jonathan Platt said: “Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we are delighted to see this project completed and are proud to have been involved…

“This project is an excellent example of how volunteers, apprentices, organisations and the local community can work together to protect their heritage and create a valuable asset to boost their economy.”

LINCOLNSHIRE POND PLANTS CONTINUES DEVELOPMENT ON OLD RAF BINBROOK SITE
The Nissen huts have been stripped of all of the metal and the plastic sheet has been placed over the top, turning them into perfect polytunnels. As the sun finally begins to shine our next task has been to create pools to house the forty different types of water lilies that we hold in stock, ranging from dwarf for the ornamental bowls including small water features, through to the large that have a two- to three-metre spread. Water lilies throughout the summer give immense colour to a pond, but also provide vital shade to prevent the build-up of blanket weed. The range of lily flowers vary from almost black to the purest white and many variations between.

For any wildlife pond it is important to think about the submerged, floating, emerged and marginal plants. Looking at the submerged plants, these provide oxygen as well as safety for small fry. Native varieties consist of: Common Water-starwort Callitriche stagnalis, Spiked Water-milfoil, Myriophyllum spicatum, Hornwort Ceratophyllum demersum, Water-crowfoots Ranunculus aquatilis and Water-violet Hottonia palustris.

We finally move from our packing place at Market Rasen to the new nursery, and as the excitement builds so do the amount of jobs; pruning and potting, with some decorating of the new offices inbetween. Steam pipes are being laid and finally the watering system is sorted.

We take pride in growing plants that love to be in the water, at the edge of the water or just like to be in the area on damp ground. Our range of moist, damp ground, plants can help solve that awkward corner where very little grows.

Come and see us at the Harrogate and RHS shows next year.

We are a family nursery and take great pride in providing a personal service.

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