Stirlin Developments’ business unit plans for former Nocton Heath café site

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Lincoln-based Stirlin Developments has acquired a one acre plot of land, which was previously home to a 40-year-old cafe, with plans of completely transforming the area.

The cafe on site at Nocton Heath on Sleaford Road has traded under various names including The Boundary Café, The Kitchen or Topo’s over the last 40 years, but all that came to a halt in late 2017 when the owners turned off the tea urn for the last time, and closed for good.

Now, Stirlin Developments has purchased the site, with plans to have new business units constructed and ready to occupy by mid-2019.

At present the company are preparing a planning application which will seek consent to redevelop the land as high-quality workspace units and a small number of residential properties.

Paul Wheatley, the recently appointed Senior Projects Manager at Stirlin spoke exclusively to CityX about both the history of the site and what he hopes it will become.

He said: “Prior to WWII there was nothing here, it was just heathland roughly half way between Sleaford and Lincoln. That changed with the coming of conflict. The site was requisitioned as part of a much larger tract of land which went on to become RAF Coleby Grange.

Example image of the proposed business units

“The site was one of the few in the county that was used by fighters rather than bombers and was home to Defiants and Beaufighters and the crews that flew them.

“Even after the return of peace the site retained a military flavour, becoming the location for one of the Thor Missile launch sites at the height of the cold war and Cuban missile crisis.”

Some reminders of the wartime history were not lost however, the control tower remains whilst parts of the concrete dispersal area and outlying buildings went on to find a new use as a truck stop and roadside café.

Example image of the proposed residential buildings

After conversations with the parish, district and county council’s about how the site could be reused, Stirlin acquired the property at the end of June 2018.

Paul added: “Our research has revealed just how many small businesses operate in this area. The surrounding villages such as Coleby, Branston, Navenby and Boothby Graffoe amongst others, are hotbeds of enterprise and we believe that there is a desperate need for well located business premises in which these companies can thrive and grow.

“This site will be ideal as a base for small businesses giving them a shop window to the 9,000 plus people who travel past the site each day.”

Stirlin expect to undertake much of the development work themselves using their multidisciplinary team, however where other resources are needed it is expected that it will be a “local affair” with companies such as Delta Simons, Lincolnshire Surveys, Steve Gilman Design (engineering), Rase Steels, UDCS and Minster Surfacing.