CLEETHORPES’ well-known RAFA club is to get a five-figure external make-over that will take its frontage back to its traditional, Victorian beginnings.
The building, constructed circa 1885, will receive its new look thanks to a grant award from the Townscape Heritage Project. This is a £2.9m programme of building restoration supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and North East Lincolnshire Council.
Managed by the council’s regeneration partner ENGIE, this is the first physical work of its kind to start as part of the project, with more in the pipeline. There is also a call for more building owners to come forward if their premises’ lie within the action zone 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.
Work will start at the RAFA, (Royal Air Forces Association) building soon and take approximately 14 weeks. The 140-year-old rotten timberwork will be replaced, the 1970s porch will go, with a traditional door installed, and the blue paint will be changed for a more sympathetic stone colour in keeping with the Victorian era.
Gavin Marshall has been the Chairman of the Grimsby, Cleethorpes and District branch of RAFA for six years and is delighted that its headquarters has qualified for grant funding, allowing the work to go-head with additional support from RAFA nationally.
“We have a wonderful building here, which is in just the right place and is matched by a really active veteran’s community. This club is a focal point for them and when this work is done, the block of buildings we have in this great position in Cleethorpes is really going to set the standard,” said Gavin.
With almost 1,000 club members, all affiliated to or with an interest in the military, this RAFA branch is the largest in the world – a membership that has grown massively from just 300 six years ago. The club has been at its present home since 1966, having moved from central Grimsby.
“The visibility of our club during the Armed Forces events has aided our growth massively, but we are also a really active organisation that has changed what we do and how we do it,” said Gavin.
Separately RAFA is also investing in the interior of the building, with new carpets and flooring in its downstairs bar and a renovation of the derelict top floor to make office space.
Supporting this first project of its kind, North East Lincolnshire Council’s Cabinet member for heritage, Cllr Callum Procter said: “This club sits in a prominent position in Cleethorpes and when the work is complete it will be fine example of how we want to support those businesses that take a real pride in restoring our resort’s heritage for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.
“I am really looking forward to seeing the RAFA club work completed and would really encourage more premises’ owners to come forward,” he added.
Property owners along Sea View Street and Alexandra Road can find out more about the grant scheme by emailing Carol Heidschuster, the Townscape Heritage Project Manager: email@example.com
In the meantime, you can view a 3D model of the current interior of the club on https://virtualtour.bee3d.co.uk/public/tour/raf-association-cleethorpes.