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Thursday 14 April 2011

Ahh, that's Bass! Relief as development permission granted for Sleaford Maltings

BWTAS member David Blackburn reports:

Planning permission was granted yesterday for a major redevelopment that should secure the future intact of the former Bass Maltings site at Sleaford, Lincolnshire.

This massive 13 acre listed Grade 2* complex comprises many brick buildings rising up six storeys There is a fine water tower almost hidden within. Last used as a poultry factory, but derelict for many years, it's over 50 years since it last produced malt for the brewing industry. There have been several failed restoration and redevelopment schemes and the site has decayed badly but it now looks as though the complex has a future. A new scheme by developer Gladedale proposes shops, office space and 220 houses and apartments . Hopefully there will be a restored - and accessible - water tower as a centrepiece.

According to the BBCNorth Kesteven District Council said it hoped the project would create 500 jobs and bring millions in investment.English Heritage had classified the Maltings as the largest at risk building in England. 

The organisation worked with the developer to protect as much of the original structure as possible. Simon Cocks from developer Gladedale Estates said: "We are not altering the external elevations at all. "There will be some internal demolitions but that is mostly taking down the fire damaged sections." The council's Economic Development Manager, Alan Gray, emphasised the importance of the project. "The Maltings scheme is an integral part of the wider Sleaford South East Regeneration project which has schemes which, when taken together, represent the biggest and most economically-significant commercial investments Sleaford has seen since the opening of the Navigation more than 200 years ago."

It is expected work will get under way in the autumn.
A commendable amount of detail of the proposals and history is at the developer's website which says:

The former Bass Maltings were completed in 1907 and were in use for their original purpose until 1959. Ten years later, the first fire occurred and then the Site was purchased by G W Padley for chicken rearing and vegetable
processing and freezing. There was a serious fire in 1976 and, in 1982,
Padley’s applied for consent to demolish all of the buildings. Their application
was refused and their subsequent appeal was rejected and the listing of the
buildings was upgraded to II*. In the 1990s, poultry farming ceased due to
health and safety reasons. There was a third fire in 1999 and in 2006 the
Site was purchased by Gladedale, the current developers.

The fact that so much of the buildings stand intact is testimony to the high
standard of the original build. The total fire-damaged area amounts to
approximately 25% of the total built space. The extent of damage is uneven
across the Site and five of the nine blocks remain undamaged by fire. Most of
the buildings have been altered to some extent, whether through fire
damage or physical change relating to later uses. The Site has been subject
to some vandalism and the upper parts of the buildings suffer from pigeon
Apart from the fire-damaged areas, the buildings are generally in good condition. The brickwork is mostly sound as are the floors, except in the kilns where they are missing. Roof structures are generally intact were away from the fire-damaged areas. Some fixed machinery remains in situ but almost all moveable machinery has been removed. Blocks 1 and 2 retain the most complete collection of surviving machinery and equipment.

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