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Heritage makeover sees RAFA Club return to its Victorian roots

2:57 pm, Friday, 19th March 2021 - 3 years ago

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The Cleethorpes vice-chair of North East Lincolnshire’s RAFA association has spoken of his pride at seeing a heritage make-over return the building’s facade to its Victorian roots.

The scaffolding has come down at the front of the Grimsby & Cleethorpes branch of RAFA, (Royal Air Forces Association) which sits on the hill of Alexandra Road – signalling the end of major works as part of the Townscape Heritage Project initiative.

Constructed circa 1885, the building has received its new look thanks to a grant award from the Townscape Heritage Project, supported by the Royal Air Forces Association. Townscape Heritage is a £2.9m programme of building restoration supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and North East Lincolnshire Council, with the third-party match funding.

Before photo of the RAFA building

Delighted vice-chair, Graham Malster a Cleethorpes resident for more than 50 years and local business owner, said: “I grew up in Cleethorpes before spending 25 years in the RAF. I love the town, and its people and take huge pride in what we are doing here, something that is part of the community and it looks fantastic. It is a great asset, and this is a key milestone in bringing the whole building back to life.”

Managed by the council’s regeneration partner ENGIE, this is the first physical work of its kind to complete as part of the project – next is the nearby Copper Bar’s exterior. There is also a call for more building owners to come forward if their premises’ lie within the focus area of Sea View Street and Alexandra Road. Grants of up to 80 per cent are available for the sympathetic restoration of the old Victorian exteriors.

David Renwick, Area Director for the North at the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We are excited to support the people of Cleethorpes in the preservation and restoration of historic buildings, with money raised by National Lottery players. We know that heritage in the North can play a huge role in bringing people together and creating a sense of pride in people’s hometowns and cities, and in turn boosting the local economy. This work is a fantastic example of that.”

North East Lincolnshire Council’s Cabinet member for Economic Growth, Housing and Tourism, Cllr Callum Procter, added: “This is a fantastic project, and in the months ahead we hope to see more businesses coming on board. In Cleethorpes we have a premier east coast resort and the work we are spearheading across the town is testament to our commitment to ensuring its future and growing success.”

Work has taken more than 14 weeks with traditional materials, colours and methods used.  With architectural design undertaken by resort based Hodson Architects, the work has been carried out by Keith Howson Ltd. The 140-year-old rotten timberwork has been replaced, and the 1970s porch gone with a traditional door installed. The blue masonry paint has also been changed for a more sympathetic stone colour in keeping with the Victorian era.

For lead architect Adam Fulton at Hodson Architects, and Jonathan Sedman from Keith Howson, there is huge satisfaction in seeing the finished exterior.

“Now that the scaffolding has been taken down the exemplary quality of the reinstated architectural detailing is revealed. It is of the highest quality using Accoya timber throughout which is well suited to the harsh coastal conditions. We believe the project enhances the conservation area and hope that it will be enjoyed by everyone for many years to come,” said Adam.

Jonathan added: “There was no compromise with regards to the quality of the materials or the level of workmanship when it came to ensuring the original features were replicated and replaced and we relished that opportunity.”

Townscape Heritage Project Manager for Cleethorpes, Carol Heidschuster, said: “As the first project to complete with TH grant funding, it was important to set the standard for all future projects to follow. It has been a joy to see quality crafts people and professionals striving to deliver a project the Victorians would be proud of.”

Property owners along Sea View Street and Alexandra Road can find out more about the grant scheme by emailing Carol: [email protected]

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