A contractor has been appointed for the dramatic makeover of St John’s Church – one of Scunthorpe’s most historic landmarks.
Using Government cash from the Towns Fund, UK Restoration Services will carry out extensive repairs to the Grade II listed building, connecting it to Queen Elizabeth Gardens at Church Square.
This will pave the way for the development of Discover, an exciting science and technology centre packed full of hands-on experiences for the whole family that will complement the popular arts and heritage exhibitions.
Cllr Rob Waltham, leader, North Lincolnshire Council and Towns Fund Board Member, said: “I am delighted that the Board has been able to appoint UK Restoration Services to kickstart this transformation. It is great news that the makeover will create jobs too.
“High streets up and down the country need to adapt and Scunthorpe is no exception. Retail will always form an important part of any town centre and this will not change, but we also need to drive footfall by bringing in exciting new experiences people cannot find anywhere else.
“That is where Discover comes in – its hands-on activities will spark the curiosity of our young people, attracting more families into the heart of the town.”
The transformation of St. John’s Church comes on top of the construction of Scunthorpe’s Enterprise and Innovation Hub, which continues at pace.
Last month Towns Fund Board members visited the landmark build to see the last brick being laid to the 46-unit accommodation block.
When completed, the ambitious build will provide more than 27,000 sq ft of premium office and collaborative space, a licensed café bar, as well as the accommodation.
Holly Mumby-Croft, MP for Scunthorpe, and vice-chair of the Towns Fund Board, said: “These ambitious plans – backed with more than £20m of Government cash – will create a new, more vibrant future for the town centre.
“With Queen Elizabeth Gardens, the new police station, the enterprise hub and more, there is so much to look forward to – I can’t wait to see it all take shape.”
With the contractor now appointed, specialist repairs will take place at St. John’s Church in the coming weeks – including the rebuilding of roofs as well as the descaling, cleaning and repointing of stonework – with many of the church’s original features restored or renewed.
Phil Braithwaite, Director, UK Restoration Services, said: “UK Restoration Services are delighted to have won this project on one of Scunthorpe’s most iconic churches. The project has an excellent team with a wealth of knowledge to deliver this project to the highest standard. There will also be opportunities for local employment.”
Cllr John Davison, cabinet member for safer, stronger communities, Scunthorpe, Ashby and Bottesford, said: “St. John’s Church has been at the heart of the community for more than 130 years – many residents celebrated their marriage here – so it is only right we protect this historic asset for many more years.
“We are not just preserving the building though; we want to go further and bring it a new lease of life. We hope the new Discover centre will inspire many more families to enjoy this amazing place.”