Fears former Louth printworks could collapse

Inside the former printworks in Queen Street Louth.
Inside the former printworks in Queen Street Louth.

The owner of the former Louth printworks has defended his demolition plans, revealing parts of the building could collapse this winter.

Local businessman Geoff Allinson, whose printing firm moved out of the building and onto the Fairfield Industrial Estate in 2004, wants to reinvent the site by constructing eight new town houses.

He said he is ‘frustrated’ by the objection lodged by consultees The Victorian Society who wrote to East Lindsey District Council arguing that the site was of historical importance and was ‘eminently capable of being repaired’.

Geoff said renovation was impossible due to the state of the building, which is in parts nearly 200 years old.

The Victorian Society also raised doubts that any development would commence ‘in the current economic climate’ should demolition take place, which Mr Allinson is adamant is not the case.

“It’s only a matter of time, another harsh winter and the whole lot could come down,” he told the Leader.

“Parts are collapsing inwards in the old factory and shop area, more so in the last few weeks and we’re very concerned, you can’t go upstairs because no one knows if the floors will hold.”

The site has been up for sale for nearly seven years, and Geoff admitted to never having received a firm offer despite it being offered on the market for ‘less than half its value’.

“I’m frustrated,” Geoff continued. “The Victorian Society say they want me to renovate it but have they actually been down and seen it for themselves?

“I don’t know how they can say work would not start if it was knocked down, I can tell you that it would start almost immediately.

“We have done no end of historical and desktop surveys, and we have looked at restoration schemes and found this is the only way to go, we have exhausted all possibilities.

“The place has become detrimental to the town, it is the first thing people see when they get off the buses.

“The new houses will be of a good size. They have been drawn up to fit in exactly with the character of area and to be built in a way that people will be happy with.

“This site is prime location for new homes, right near schools and the town centre and would be perfect for families to move into.”

Mike Barnes, campaigns officer for the Victorian Society, said the organisation stood by its original comments which also stated: “The existing buildings form a picturesque group, and have substantial historic and architectural interest.

“The same cannot be said for their replacements.”

A neighbour claimed on their consultee comments that a family of swifts used the site for their annual nesting. Swifts are on the RSPB’s ‘amber list’ meaning they are of conservation concern, but Mr Allinson said that he had not seen any such birds within the buildings.

The plans are in the hands of the district council and will be decided, likely via committee, in the coming months.

Log on to our website, www.louthleader.co.uk, to watch a video showing the extent of Mr Allinson’s concerns inside the building.

What do you think? Should the building be demolished to make way for new homes? Email your views to sam.kinnaird@jpress.co.uk.