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116 High Street handover

One of Boston's most historic buildings, saved at one stage from almost certain destruction, is about to begin a new and useful life.

Liz Bates, of the Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire, hands over the keys to 116 High Street to David Close, chairman of Lincolnshire Community Foundation, the new owners

The house at 116 High Street has been sold to the Lincolnshire Community Foundation by the Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire. It will now become a community hub and training centre and offer opportunities for new businesses to start up and provide a home for local charities, social enterprises and community groups, including Boston BIG Local.

Lincolnshire Community Foundation is a grant-making trust, making grants to small not-for-profit groups and individuals across the county. Its aim is to improve the lives and wellbeing of people living in Lincolnshire.

Liz Bates, from the Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire, said: "It has taken a long time to get where we are today - 116 High Street has been the longest-running Heritage Lottery project - and we are very grateful for all those who have taken part in its preservation. We are delighted that the Community Foundation are now taking forward their plans to make use of this important historic building and we wish them every success with their venture. "

David Close, chairman of the Lincolnshire Community Foundation, added: "We are looking forward to using the building and hopefully developing it in a way which will aid economic regeneration of the surrounding area."

Two open days have been organised - the building will be open for tours on Friday, September 13, as part of the countywide Heritage Open Days - contact the Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire to book,, and the foundation will hold its launch event the following day, Saturday, September 14. This event, from noon to 5pm, is free and open to all.

The Victorian-themed event will be opened by the Mayor of Boston Cllr Paul Kenny. It will see the launch of the "Boston Fund". The foundation can add 75p for every pound raised.

It will be a fun-filled afternoon for both young and old, with ice cream from Dennett's of Spilsby, cakes from the Chocolate Fairy, Punch and Judy shows, music from a Victorian barrel organ and magic performed by the walkabout Victorian Magician.

The grade two* listed property was built for William Garfit II, probably in 1728, and was Boston's first bank, but it had remained disused and falling into dereliction since the 1970s. It had reached the end of its life because the cost of conserving it was more than its value.

Boston Borough Council forced through compulsory purchase of the building to save it.

The council's head of planning and strategy Steve Lumb ensured that the building passed to the Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire, whose track record for successfully rescuing and restoring such buildings is second to none.

Repairs and renovation were completed last year with more than £2 million of assistance from English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Lincolnshire County Council, the European Regional Development Fund, the Architectural Heritage Fund and John Paul Getty Trust.

Mr Lumb said the building, with its new uses, is a shining beacon in an area of the town that desperately needs regeneration. He went on to suggest that other private owners in the area should look at 116 and use it as an example and a benchmark of what could be achieved elsewhere and as a catalyst for the rejuvenation of the High Street area, an area that is in need of achieving its own identity and role in the town and after being segregated from the town centre by John Adams Way. 

Anyone interested in learning more about opportunities at 116 High Street should contact the Lincolnshire Community Foundation on 01529 305825 or 01529 307749 or email Gordon Hunter at gordonhunterlcf@gmail.com or James Murphy at lordofhalo@gmail.com