A £1.7 million investment in Grantham’s historic Market Place is approaching completion, invigorating and regenerating the heart of the town centre.
The project is being carried out for Lincolnshire County Council and South Kesteven District Council (both of whom are also project managers), in association with the Grantham Business Club.
Principle Contractors for the project are Thomas Bow City Asphalt. John Allen, Construction Director said “we were delighted when we heard we had won this contract as it represented our first opportunity to work with Lincolnshire County Council on a high profile public realm scheme”
The project is geared to creating create a dynamic, vibrant outdoor space evoking a cafe culture that residents and visitors alike will enjoy exploring.
The project has been funded by central government as part of the Grantham Growth funding.
The scheme is providing a better setting to the town centre’s historic market cross, building upon the town’s historic layout and improving the vitality of the area. The works include replacing worn paving slabs with York Stone and granite kerbing; reducing on-street parking in the Market Place to make it more pedestrian friendly; widening footpaths; providing areas for loading and short term parking and providing new public artwork in the form of a sculpture known as the Orrery.
The scheme has been constructed over three phases, with works commencing in the heart of Grantham and encompassing the busy Market Place, before extending through Westgate to the junction of Wide Westgate. The third and final phase recommenced at the junction of the Market Place and Conduit Street and continued throughout the entire length of Union Street to the junction of North Street.
Thomas Bow City Asphalt’s John Allen said “we would like to take this opportunity to thank the locally affected businesses and residents of Grantham for their help and support throughout the construction phase, without which we would not have been able to meet the client’s challenge of delivering this 20 week project in just 16 weeks”
“My team and I worked closely with the Grantham Business Club and through our fortnightly public meetings, we were able to use these open forums to discuss the progress of our works past, present and planned, in addition to listening to any feedback”
Bijal Ladva, chairman of Grantham Business Club said: “We welcome these changes and improvements to Grantham’s historic town centre. Our primary focus is to protect and promote the town’s businesses and we believe this work will give our businesses a boost”.
Lincolnshire County Council spokesman Les Outram said that the project “Will lift the centre of Grantham and follow our work in Lincoln and Stamford in the past few years.”
Lincolnshire County Council Divisional Highways Manager Brian Thompson said the work would benefit the town in the future.
He said: “The idea is that we provide new houses for people moving into Grantham, but in the same place we provide places for people to work”.
“Grantham is ready to take the large housing numbers, more or less doubling its size over the next 20 or so years.”
The project team consulted residents on the public artwork project, funded through developer contributions from the Simons ‘Next’ development.
The brief asked artists to use Newton’s three laws of motion as inspiration for the artwork; Sir Isaac Newton has strong associations with the town and his statue resides at St Peter’s Hill, close to the market place.
The Orrery sculpture will be the centre piece of the revamped Market Place. The artist, Paul Lewthwaite said: “The artwork animates the space. It uses the whole pedestrianised area as a type of dial. The sculptural features will be visually interesting and accessible to all from different viewpoints in the Market Square. Pedestrians will be able to move in and through the artwork”. The purpose and meaning of the various elements will become clear as they are explored and discovered.”
Thomas Bow City Asphalt Contracts Manager Brian White has managed the construction of this project. Brian and his team benefit from extensive experience working on similar projects within heavily populated city and town centres, where both traffic and pedestrian management are of critical importance to ensure the safe delivery of the works. Brian has worked closely with local businesses and residents, liasing with them regarding the progress of the works and ensuring that effective communications are maintained with them and other stakeholders throughout the construction phase.
The project commenced in June 2011 and will be completed in October 2011.
With experience of all kinds of projects in the public, commercial and private sectors up to a cost of up to £3.5 million, Thomas Bow City Asphalt is well equipped for any challenge, from highway maintenance to bridge construction and much more. The group aspire to be first choice for civil engineering and surfacing, combining a skilled workforce with the latest technology and traditional values.
Other facilities include an entrance area and administration and training facilities, a small cafe for staff, patients and visitors, a training gymnasium for occupational therapy, a hairdressing salon and a launderette, and accommodation for visiting clinicians.
The upper storey of the building will incorporate the main staff offices and a large dementia care staff training and research facility.
The centre is due to open in spring 2012.