January this year saw the culmination of two years dedicated support for Grimsby from Government’s High Streets Task Force with a workshop for more than 30 local businesses to discuss how they could get involved with shaping the future of Grimsby Town Centre.
At that meeting, Government colleagues recognised the enormous amount of funding NELC have secured to regenerate the town centre, bring cultural activities to the town and to support businesses, particularly in the months following the pandemic.
And there was a recognition that more needed to be done to “activate” the town centre – to help bring footfall to the high street through low cost or low resource ideas that could be taken forward.
Key to the transformation of the town centre was a desire and recognition that the look and feel of the town centre needed to be improved, and acknowledgement that the town centre needs to diversify, and we need to promote our small and micro businesses.
So let’s take a look at what’s underway:
Work is ongoing to finish the Riverhead Square project – the third of three strategic projects and the link between the Garth Lane area and Victoria Street. Additionally, there is work in progress on the Freshney Place, Market and Leisure scheme, the Library building, a town centre living project, and connecting all the projects together to make best use of our waterfront.
Additionally, work is being done to encourage property owners to complete works to their buildings, such as repainting, clearing out gutters and drainpipes, and removing plants and moss that shouldn’t be on the buildings. Funding has also been secured for a number of initiatives which will address anti-social behaviour and crime.
Work is also being done to encourage new and returning businesses to the high street – with New Look recently announced as a return to Freshney Place, and new smaller independent shops on the way.
On the creative side, permanent public murals have been commissioned in various places around the town centre, and the Grimsby Creates programme has encouraged a blossoming of creative talent with more public events being put on, both directly funded, and supported by the team.
The Grimsby 2025 Group have successfully secured funding for an 18-month project to help the town centre become a vibrant place, encouraging local businesses and communities to “be part of the positive”, with a view to improving civic pride and addressing negative perceptions about the town.
“There is a huge potential that could be unlocked,” said Jose Stewart from the Grimsby 2025 Group at last night’s follow up Task Force event, which formally launched The 2025 Group, and saw presentations from businesses investing heavily in the town centre, such as Onside, Parkway cinema, and the NHS.
“It’s not about one organisation doing all the work – it’s about all of us working together to improve how the town centre looks, feels and operates,” continued Jose.
Cllr Philip Jackson, Leader of the Council, said: “The next few years are going to be busy in terms of the building work around the town, but at the end of it all, the town centre will have changed a lot, and with things like the diagnostic centre going in Freshney Place, the development of the Onside Youth Zone and the creation of new market and leisure facilities in the town’s heart.”
If you want to get involved in the Grimsby 2025 group, contact [email protected] or follow them on social media channels.