Investing in the future of Grantham for all
Column by Coun Matthew Lee, Leader of South Kesteven District Council
My vision to regenerate Grantham and to make major investments in our town are really starting to take shape.
In less than a fortnight we will be handing over the keys of the new five-screen cinema building to the Savoy to begin their fit out. Once complete, it will mean we will all be able to bring our families and friends into the town centre to enjoy the latest films, rather than having to travel miles to places like Nottingham or Peterborough.
Our work to create a new public square right outside the new complex will bring the cinema into the heart of Grantham’s leisure and cultural quarter, already home to Grantham Museum and the Guildhall Arts Centre.
It will also create a lovely open space in the centre of town for our residents, workers and visitors to enjoy.
If you have been into Grantham town centre recently you will have seen that the work on this square is now really gathering pace. Part of the council’s main office building has now been removed and the levelling out works have begun. When complete, what once was a fairly uninspiring courtyard, used only by our staff, will be a bright new square with trees, shrubs, seating and public art.
This is not our only investment in the town centre. We recognise the high street has been struggling and we want to support businesses to move into our empty units.
Through our economic growth and regeneration company InvestSK, we have launched a new programme to support growing businesses and bring fresh life into our town centres. The Town Centre Investment Fund is designed to help grow the high streets in Grantham and our other market towns. The fund gives expanding companies looking to move into vacant town centre units up to £10,000 to help pay their moving costs.
We know high streets are facing challenging times but InvestSK was established to help businesses grow, and support local job creation. This scheme is our council’s very practical response to supporting our town centres. It is also our way of helping to create more employment opportunities for local people because businesses that apply must create new jobs locally and add value to our existing high street offer.
The deadline for submissions is March 15, 2019 so if you are interested I would urge you to apply now. More details can be found at www.investsk.co.uk
We realise that as well as supporting our high street businesses, we need to make our town centres attractive and interesting places for people to enjoy. We have just released our first grant awards for InvestSK’s Heritage Alive initiative – which will ensure that our rich history is preserved and celebrated. Grantham has some fantastic heritage sites and attractions and last year’s Gravity Fields Science Festival attracted audiences of more than 80,000.
Our long-term vision is to make Grantham a destination of choice for visitors, a thriving town our residents can be proud of and a place where businesses want to start up, relocate to and invest. Together, we’re already making great progress towards that goal.