A community group has been awarded £10,000 for a project to help protect a former factory site.
Desborough Community Development Trust (DCDT) has received the money from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Lawrence’s Factory site project.
The project, led by volunteers from the community, will assess various options for refurbishing the building as the centrepiece of a revitalised town centre.
DCDT was formed almost six years ago by people wanting to improve facilities in the town and to make it a great place to live.
The Lawrence‘s Factory has been a concern for residents for some time and with this grant they will be able to employ specialist consultants to look at various options for the refurbishment, which could include fully serviced offices, retail outlets and community facilities.
There will be public consultations as well as an appraisal of the market for the options under consideration.
The trust will then be able to bring forward fully costed plans, which will be presented to Kettering Council as the current owner of the site.
The Lawrence’s Factory originally open in about 1830 as part of the silk clothing industry.
It converted to shoe manufacturing in the 1860s as silk went out of fashion.
Since closing its doors in the 1990s, the buildings have become derelict and suffered some vandalism.
The council undertook some remedial work when it first acquired the site and this has prevented more serious degradation and the whole site was designated a Conservation Area.
DCDT wants to convert it into small units, as a community-led project, and this appraisal process, expected to last six to nine months, will determine what exact form that will take.
Chairman of DCDT Philip Rice said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and are confident the project will help us to put forward plans supported by of the whole community so that we can turn this site into something we can all be proud of.
“This will be a massive project spread over a number of years but this grant gets us off to a good start.”
Derek Zanger, regeneration portfolio holder at Kettering Council, said: “We want to congratulate DCDT on securing the funding for a feasibility study on the future use of the Lawrence’s site.
“We look forward to seeing the results in due course and hopefully charting a future for the site, which has been the subject of several unsuccessful attempts to regenerate the area in the past.”
Head of the HLF in the East Midlands, Jonathan Platt said: “This is an important historic site for Desborough that has been derelict for many years and needs a new use.
“Thanks to National Lottery players, we are pleased to offer this support to the Desborough Community Development Trust to help them improve both the appearance of the site and the prosperity of the town centre.”
Desborough Community Development Trust is a registered charity which raises funds through its charity shop in Station Road, Desborough.
It supports local organisations with grants totalling between £12,000 and £15,000 per year.
It also runs events in and around the town such as the Pancake Races on Shrove Tuesday, open air cinema events, craft sessions in the school holidays and street parties.
For more details go to www.desboroughcdt.org.uk.