Grants available to convert empty floor space above shops into homes

Date published: 04 March 2019
Lord St, Gainsborough

Businesses and individuals are being encouraged to convert or reinstate residential properties within the town centre.

To help maximise the amount of unused floor space above shops in the town centre, a financial incentive is being offered to cover up to 50 per cent of the costs.

West Lindsey District Council, with funding granted from the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), has launched The Living Over The Shops (LOTS) scheme, to create more homes and boost footfall in the town centre, especially outside of the core shopping hours.

People can now apply for funding, which can offer a maximum grant of £25,000 per dwelling or a minimum of £10,001.

The LOTS scheme is part of an ambitious programme which has been planned for Gainsborough Town Centre to transform it into an attractive and thriving core which will entice potential residents to relocate to Gainsborough.

Cllr Sheila Bibb, Chairman of the Prosperous Communities Committee said the scheme follows the success of the Shop Pilot, carried out by Market Street Renewal.

She said: “The conversion of the shops and creation of flats by Market Street Renewal has been proven to be successful. The physical regeneration of the building has uplifted Market Street and completely transformed dilapidated buildings in a sympathetic way.

“Our approach to the town centre regeneration has been endorsed in the Grimsey Review 2, which is an industry review, into revitalising high streets.

“It recognises that seismic changes that are needed to help high streets adjust to the 21 century and I believe this scheme will help towards that.

“The presence of residential uses with the town centre is important and is increasingly being recognised nationally. I would encourage people to look into this opportunity.”

The scheme will be funded as part of the £4 million allocated to the council from The Greater Lincolnshire LEP, as part of the Gainsborough Growth Programme. 

  • Lord Street

  • Market Place

  • Market Street

  • North Street

  • Silver Street

 Ruth Carver, Director of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP: “'We are confident that our investment in the Gainsborough Growth Programme will make a substantial difference to the town centre once completed, and the LOTS scheme element demonstrates the type of innovative approaches that can be taken in partnership to enable good quality housing provision.”

Minister for Local Growth, Jake Berry MP, said:

“Through this £4 million investment from the Local Growth Fund, the roll out of a scheme to maximise residential space in the town centre of Gainsborough can be realised, with the offer of grants of up to £25,000 toward the cost of converting space above commercial space.

“This will support the regeneration of the high street alongside other town centre improvements that are taking place and will help make Gainsborough an even more vibrant town that residents can be proud of.”

Ward member for Gainsborough Cllr Trevor Young is delighted to see the grant scheme rolled out to even more businesses in the town.

He said: “Gainsborough’s historic town centre has a large number of vacant upper floors and some poorly maintained buildings. We recognise there is a significant potential to create additional homes in the town centre and transform some of the buildings. This is a fantastic opportunity and I would urge businesses and individuals to apply for this one off discretionary fund as soon as possible.”

The town centre place making programme includes: 

  • A shopfront refurbishment grant scheme  - to restore/ reinstate shopfronts to a historically sympathetic façade

  • A partnership with Dransfield Properties Limited to deliver a hotel within the town centre

  • Setting up Market Street Renewal to convert derelict shops with flats above

  • Delivery of a cinema and restaurant complex to boost the town’s night time economy offer through a development partnership with Muse

  • A Stage 2 Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) bid with the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore historic buildings within the ‘historic heart’ of Gainsborough

Leader of West Lindsey District Council, Cllr Jeff Summers said: “We are proud to be using a range of exciting delivery mechanisms through the development of partnerships with the private sector. Not only is this helping to realise our ambitious investment programme but it has helped increase the pace of development.”

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