Builders’ merchant plan for former hotel site in Sleaford

The main commercial area of Sleaford could soon be home to another builder’s merchant on the site of a former hotel and the district council’s economic development team are backing the plan.

The empty plot formerly occupied by the Lincolnshire Oak Hotel, could not become a builders' merchant. Photo: Google Maps EMN-210911-153756001

Grantham Investments are putting forward the proposals to make use of the vacant site of the former Lincolnshire Oak Hotel on East Road, which was demolished nearly a decade ago.

The firm, which owns or controls the land, is part of a group of companies who between them also own the adjacent Sleaford Business Park.

The property managers have been advertising the 0.7 hectare vacant plot for development ever since demolition.

The builders’ merchant would require a building with a mezzanine floor to be used for storage, distribution, a trade counter, offices and retail purposes with the surrounding concrete yard used for external storage, access, car parking and deliveries. The development includes 23 parking spaces, as well as covered cycle parking, two spaces will have electric vehicle charging points.

David Hindmarch of Grantham Investments told the Standard: “Unfortunately I am not in a position to disclose the proposed occupant due to commercial sensitivities; suffice to say it is not a name that is unknown to the people of Sleaford and I feel sure they will be pleased when the site opens up, hopefully by the autumn of 2022.

“There is a good deal of both housing development and soon to be commercial development in Sleaford so this type of supplier to the building trade will only enhance the offering in Sleaford and district.”

Planning consultant Christopher Kendall has been acting as agent for the latest move, submitted to North Kesteven District Council for consideration last month.

The site would be accessed off the existing private service road for the neighbouring industrial estate.

In the application Mr Kendall states the site is flat and still has signs of the previous building, along with trees lining two sides of the plot.

Mr Kendall adds: “The operators would employ 25 staff. 10 will be ‘outside’ staff and 15 people in the office. All staff will be recruited locally.

“The business will deal with all sections of the building industry, from national builders to one man jobbing builders. It will also supply to the public. All customers may contact the premises by telephone, email or, less frequently nowadays, in person.

“Larger builders will often require materials in large quantities so that the merchant will be able to order direct from the manufacturer and have the materials delivered direct to the site.

“Materials will be delivered free of charge to all customers from the site. This provides an incentive for customers not to visit the premises, thereby reducing travel and demand for parking. The remaining materials will be collected from site by customers in their own vehicles. The majority use cars, pick-ups or small vans that can be accommodated within a standard parking bay. The remainder employ panel vans, trailers or 2 and 1/2 tonne flatbeds and can be loaded in the yard.”

The proposed opening hours would be 7am to 6pm, Saturdays open until 5pm. If open on Sundays it would be restricted to showroom viewing from 8am until 5pm.

He states: “The delivery vehicles will have been loaded the previous day or between 6.30am and 7am and will leave as soon as the yard opens. They will not need to return until late morning.”

“Increasingly, orders are received by telephone or email and delivered without the customer visiting the site.”

They state the business would generate little waste, which would be stored on site in a container and removed by a contractor.

They are proposing to fell one Holme Oak tree after it recently lost a large branch. They would then relandscape that part of the frontage.

NKDC’s Economic Development officers say they support the application, adding: “East Road is home to many businesses of this type offering limited retail and trade counter services and the proposal will bring a derelict site back into employment use and create new jobs.

“The construction/DIY sector is vibrant locally and the proposal will provide the town and surrounding areas with additional capacity to meet growing demand.”

However the district’s Tree Officer required further explanation why a mature tree subject to a preservation order would need to be felled and wanted more detail on any boundary features, hedgerows and soft landscaping.