On behalf of South Kesteven District Council, we are instructed to offer For Sale this property and land, which forms part of the Council’s complex of corporate Council buildings. The larger part of the site at St Peters Hill (shown outlined in red on the plan), is currently occupied by the Council as office accommodation and sits on a site of 0.40 hectares (1 acre). Shown edged blue on the plan, is a cleared development site, extending to 0.18 hectares (0.45 acres) to the rear of the Savoy Cinema. The property has become available for sale, due to the relocation of the Council’s main office functions to a nearby building.
The St Peters Hill property is currently comprised of offices laid out over ground, first and second floors, together with a former customer services centre. This property represents a rare opportunity to secure a substantial redevelopment site within Grantham Town Centre, offering potential for a wide variety of different uses, subject to receipt of the required Planning Permission.
Vehicular access into St Peters Hill is available from Avenue Road to the north and St Catherines Road to the south, with pedestrian access available from Edith Smith Way and Abbey Gardens.
The parcel of land, which is located to the rear of the cinema, is a roughly square and level site, which has been cleared and has vehicular access off St Catherine’s Road (shown edged blue on the attached plan).
The surrounding area is very much mixed use in character with housing to the north, south and east and the town’s main shopping centre, The Sir Isaac Newton Shopping Centre is situated on the opposite side of St Peters Hill to the west and the Council’s Welham Street multi-storey car park is directly to the south of the St Catherine’s Road site.
Grantham is an historic and popular South Lincolnshire Market Town, that straddles the London to Edinburgh east coast main rail line and is bounded to the west by the A1 north/south trunk road. It lies approximately 23 miles south of Lincoln and 22 miles east of Nottingham. It has a population of circa 45,000 and a large and affluent catchment of close to 120,000.
To the north, east and south are extensive areas of housing whilst further south beyond St Peters Hill is London Road, the main out of town retail location in Grantham and in turn provides access to the Towns train station, which enjoys direct and regular links to London Kings Cross, via the east coast main line.
The Town provides a good range of local facilities and educational centres including one of the best regarded secondary schools in the county, The Kings Grammar School, Kesteven & Grantham Girls School, a new university centre serving the whole district, and various shopping centres, as referred to above, all of which are located within easy walking distance of the subject property.
The property is situated in a prominent town centre location on the corner of St Peters Hill/St Catherines Road and Avenue Road, in Grantham. The area is set to see £1.6 million of public realm improvements in the near future over the next two years.
Immediately to the south of the site is the Towns Savoy Cinema, which generated circa 300,000 visitors in its first year of operation. This is adjoined to the rear by the smaller site being sold.
Grantham prime shopping street is St Peters Hill and the towns main shopping centre, The Sir Isaac Newton Shopping Centre is situated directly opposite the subject property. The Town centre has been allocated £5.5 million from the ‘Future High Street’ Fund, which is to be spent on improvements within the wider area around the subject property.
Town & Country Planning
The informal planning advice provided by South Kesteven District Council:
The proposed site currently comprises the South Kesteven District Council Offices at St. Peters’ Hill in Grantham. In this respect, whilst the site is referred to as being offices, the specific nature of the use means that the site does not automatically fall to be considered as being within Use Class E(g)(i). Previous case law has established that the use of premises for the purposes of government administration would, more often than not, constitute use as an “office” for the purposes of the Use Classes Order 1987 (as amended). However, in some circumstances, the use of the site for public debate / committee meetings and the carrying out of activities ancillary to these meetings, results in the premises being considered Sui Generis. As such, the current Use Class of the building falls to be a matter of planning judgement based on the exact use of the property. In this case, the distinction between the use of the Council Offices for administrative purposes and SK House for Committee Meetings and public activities, is likely to mean that the Council Offices are considered to fall within Class E(g)(i) office use. In this regard, it is appreciated that changes of use to other uses falling within Class E of the Use Classes Order, would not be strictly defined as development and, as a result would not require formal planning permission.
Notwithstanding the above, it is appreciated that the nature of any re-use and / or redevelopment of the site, is likely to extend beyond a change of use of the premises only and, as a result, is likely to require formal planning permission to be obtained.
In this respect, the adopted South Kesteven Local Plan identifies Grantham as being a particular focal point for new development during the plan period to 2036, and encourages proposals that make effective use of brownfield / previously developed land. Policy SP2 (Settlement Hierarchy) supports new development on appropriate and deliverable brownfield sites in Grantham, where the development will not compromise the town’s nature and character.
In terms of potential future uses of the site, it should be noted that the proposed site falls within designated Grantham Town Centre, identified by Policy GR4 of the adopted Local Plan. This policy states that within the town centre, development or re-use of buildings for a range of uses, including retail, leisure, offices, food and drink, cultural and residential uses will be supported and, in respect of the St. Peters’ Hill area of the town centre, proposals that encourage footfall into the town centre and support the evening economy will be particularly encouraged. As such, given the site’s context and the surrounding land uses, which include the Guildhall, Savoy Cinema and Tollemache Inn, redevelopment proposals for similar leisure / entertainment / cultural uses may be considered the most appropriate. In any case, any redevelopment proposal would be required to maintain an active ground floor use.
Nonetheless, any prospective re-development proposal would need to safeguard the town’s nature and character, and be appropriate for the character of the site and the surrounding area. In this respect, the site is located within the Grantham Conservation Area and the Guildhall to the west is a Grade II Listed Building. The impact of any development proposal on these heritage assets will be a key material consideration for any future planning application for the redevelopment of the site.
Therefore, any prospective purchaser is strongly recommended to engage with the Local Planning Authority through a formal pre-application enquiry, to obtain detailed advice from Planning Officers and relevant technical consultees as to the acceptability of any emerging development proposals.
Method of Sale
The property and land are being offered For Sale by way of an Informal Tender with offers to be received no later than 12 noon on Wednesday 27th July 2022. Offers must be made on the tender form sent out with these particulars and arrive at the offices of Banks Long & Co by post or email no later than 12 noon on the Tender Date.
Whilst unconditional offers will be preferred, offers made subject to the receipt of Planning Permission for alternative uses/redevelopment will be considered, but interested parties are asked to confirm on the tender form the conditions that are attached to their offer.
The two properties; the offices (edged red on the site) and land to the rear of the cinema (edged blue), are being offered either as a single lot or alternatively offers will be considered for the individual parcels of land, however in the case of the cleared site to the rear of the cinema, this will not be sold without a sale of the offices also taking place at the same time.
The property and land are being offered For Sale Freehold, with part vacant possession on completion.
The property will be sold with rights of way over adjoining land which is to be retained by the District Council and any purchasers or their successors in title will be required to contribute a fair proportion of the cost of maintaining these common areas in conjunction with the current or future owners of this adjoining land.
Offers are invited for the property and land in accordance with the conditions referred to in the Method of Sale section above. The price will be subject to VAT at the prevailing rate.
Each party is to be responsible for their own legal costs incurred in documenting the transaction.