Buildings to be proud of earn civic awards in Sleaford

Sleaford Civic Trust has made its 2021 awards to recognise notable new and improved building projects completed in the past year in the area.

David Marriage with fellow Civic Trust members present this year’s award to Dr Saleem Ajumal, chairman of Sleaford Islamic Centre and Nadim Aziz with members. EMN-211125-121420001
David Marriage with fellow Civic Trust members present this year’s award to Dr Saleem Ajumal, chairman of Sleaford Islamic Centre and Nadim Aziz with members. EMN-211125-121420001

The trust’s members judged new build, extension or renovation projects that they see as having added value to the character of the town.

A plaque to display on an outer wall was presented last week to Sleaford Islamic Centre on Station Road for the committee’s conversion of an old disused warehouse and yard to become the town’s first mosque.

David Marriage of the civic trust said it had been an “unsightly area” which met visitors to Sleaford by train.

Receiving their Civic Trust award, from left - Malcolm Curt - architect, Robert Wilcox - Managing director, Will Elkington - sales director, Stephanie Wilcox and David Marriage of the Civic Trust. EMN-211125-121430001

“The original disused warehouse with land was bought in 2015 with their aim of creating a space for the growing and diverse Muslim community in the local area,” he said.

“They saw that the location is ideal for the community centre with brilliant transport links. Now after years of tremendous effort from the local community and beyond, the main building works were completed in the summer of 2020.”

The award was accepted by the centre’s chairman Dr Saleem Ajumal and treasurer/trustee Shereem Ajumal, with other members of the committee.

Dr Ajumal said it had taken a lot of hard work having raised £400,000 from community collections locally and around the country.

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He thanked everyone for their support and generosity and hoped to open the centre to wider community use from March.

They plan to resurface the car park too.

Dr Ajumal commented: “We have turned this disused, derelict warehouse into a landmark for the community of Sleaford and feel proud of that.”

Members of the local Muslim community contributed ideas for the design to get it exactly right before planning approval.

Mess of the Year - the old post office premises on Southgate. EMN-211125-121410001

Forward-thinking ‘Green-minded’ features include air source heat pumps and under floor heating, powered by solar panels on the roof, therefore future-proofing the centre.

The men’s prayer room is lined with hidden storage cupboards, as well as a defibrillator loaned by the Rotary Club, while committee members can open up the centre remotely for visitors from out of town.

A second award goes to Ruskington’s JCO Developments, trading for 20 years as Wilcox Homes, for their work on creating a terrace of six town centre homes on Handley Street, on the site of the disused former Sleaford Standard offices and a derelict building behind.

Managing director Robert Wilcox and architect Malcolm Curt of DBL Architectural Design aimed to improve the street appearance as well as providing affordable homes in the town centre.

Rob Wilcox said he was over the moon about the unexpected award, adding that they always try to use local tradespeople and suppliers. Despite this, he said the logistics of working on a tight, town centre site had been tricky.

“It took us a year to build after four months of planning, with the demolition of the old buildings before. The old building behind the offices was falling down and only held up by a tree.”

Designer Malcolm added false chimney stacks, front windows are solid oak and roofs covered in slate, to remain in keeping with the conservation area street scene.

The Civic Trust has also given a Mess of the Year award to the old Post Office close to the Handley Monument on Southgate, but understands that the owners are actively working to improve the appearance.

Joanna Carr, of London-based property owners Telereal Trillium confirmed: “We are in the process of undertaking a refurbishment of the building following the previous tenant’s vacation. The property should be much improved and available for a new tenant by the spring.”