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Grantham 'public realm' project 'shape of things to come'

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A £1.66million ‘public realm’ for St Peter’s Hill has been hailed as “the first step towards our wider vision to revitalise Grantham and put the town on the map”.

South Kesteven District Council deputy leader Kelham Cooke made the pledge as councillors formally approved the project on Tuesday.

Coun Cooke told a meeting of the development management committee: “These public realm works are very important to our future plans. We want investors to see Grantham is open for business.

“We are showing our commitment to making our town an attractive place for businesses to invest and making sure it is a place where people want to spend their time.

“We could have designed a lesser scheme, but that wouldn’t have done the Savoy cinema or the town centre justice.

“This is a sign of things to come for Grantham, and the district as a whole, and this will raise the bar and standard for the rest of the town centre.”

However, the project has sparked controversy, with former Grantham Mayor Ian Selby attacking it as “superficial spending”, saying it was “wrong at this time” to spend the money.

The former mayor made his attack at the July meeting of the full council, which overwhelmingly agreed to support the project, which still needed to go through the planning process.

However, councillors overwhelmingly saw the ‘public realm’ project as helping the “long-term vitality” of Grantham town centre and the new cinema being built nearby.

The scheme will see a new public route between SKDC’s offices, the new cinema complex currently being built, and a nearby retail area.

Plans will see the main entrance to the authority’s buildings moved to the courtyard to create a new lobby including a ‘step’ and platform lift’.

Planters and benches will be installed, along with street and feature lighting.

New cladding will also installed on both of the buildings affected.

A council report has broken down the costs as £246,350 preliminary costs, £95,100 for demolition, ££846,315 for remodelling the courtyard and public realm works, £50,000 new entrance cost, £187,671 associated costs, including contractor risk and inflation, and £169,929 in fees.

Work on the ‘realm’ is to start next month, with completion to tie in with the cinema opening next Easter.

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