The Salvation Army Citadel could be transformed into the town’s very own ‘Gingerbread House’, if a planning application is approved.
Plans have been submitted to convert the former place of worship into a new, larger manufacturing base by Alistair Hawken, owner of Grantham Gingerbread as well as catering business The Lincolnshire Larder Co, set up six months ago.
Excited about the prospect, Mr Hawken said: “It’s a beautiful building, with fantastic character, with the space that will enable us to grow our product and provide a greater product range.”
Mr Hawken currently operates his businesses from Westgate, at the site of his former café Panini which closed this summer. With the company baking in the region of 10,000 biscuits a day, they have been looking for a bigger premises for two years, but were struggling to find somewhere of the right size.
The application states: “They were therefore starting to search elsewhere which would have resulted in the relocation of their manufacturing business out of Grantham, but they were reluctant to move out of the town.
“The sale of the Citadel presented an ideal opportunity for the applicants as it is a building which will lend itself to conversion to the type of use required and its prominence and character would provide the kind of prestige building that the applicants had been looking for and which will contribute to their brand.”
Speaking to the Journal, Mr Hawken added: “Grantham Gingerbread deserves a building of prominence, and it needs to be in the heart of Grantham, accessible to the people of Grantham.”
The company proudly creates the town’s famous gingerbread, which dates back to 1740. If the plans are approved they would bake, cater, store, package and dispatch from the premises, as well as having office space to house the sales team and account staff. Mr Hawken added that such a space would allow the company to grow, and in time take on more staff.
The local branch of the Salvation Army moved out of the Citadel in May, as they could no longer afford the upkeep of the building. It has since been bought and restored.