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Depot project is further step to bring workers into Grimsby Town Centre

8:38 am, Thursday, 15th February 2024 - 2 months ago

General

The picture shows just how close the Doughty Road Depot site is to the town centre.

ACTION being taken by North East Lincolnshire Council this year will see the vast majority of its staff, and that of its partners, brought together to work in, and support, Grimsby Town Centre, says authority leader Cllr Philip Jackson.

Cllr Jackson was speaking after an update report was considered by the council’s Cabinet on the Doughty Road Depot project, when a recommendation for further investment to complete the scheme was approved.

When the refurbishment of Doughty Road is complete, in late summer this year, 300 council and partner staff will be working from the completely refurbished major works depot.

It sits just 0.2 miles from the town centre and neighbours the Town Hall, the Municipal Offices and New Oxford House – together those buildings will then house over 1,000 employees of not only the authority, but staff of partners in both project delivery and health. 

Cllr Jackson said: “We have been clear about this authority’s efforts to support our town centre – our purchase of Freshney Place, and then the House of Fraser building is evidence of this.

“However, we have also considered how we need to make every effort possible to encourage and increase footfall to both Freshney Place and the surrounding town centre. Our plan to re-locate staff, where possible, into the town centre is a way of doing just that.”

The Cabinet meeting heard how the new Doughty Road depot will see the amalgamation of services from the current site and the Gilbey Road Depot. It will accommodate all teams that are currently housed at the sites as well as the council’s environmental fleet, bin wagons, education buses and associated vehicles.

Efficiencies will include savings associated with staff working together on one site with modern facilities and infrastructure, green energy from solar panels, battery storage, rainwater harvesting and an air source heat pump. All the hard core from the demolished buildings has also been used for the ground works, with all metal and wood from the demolition recycled.

Cabinet felt the redeveloped depot would help to improve service efficiency, reduce property maintenance costs, and ensure that good quality facilities are available for all Council and EQUANS staff. The move will also improve transport options for staff whilst, as stated above, increasing footfall in the town centre.

The new development will also free up the Gilbey Road site for sale for industrial development with money going back into council funds.

Cabinet approved a further £1.3 million worth of investment to ensure the site is completed to the required standard. The report by Portfolio Holder for Environment and Transport, Councillor Stewart Swinburn, also recommended there should also be a minimum contingency of £0.328m, which will not be spent unless absolutely necessary.

The original Cabinet report for the project was approved in February 2020 with a budget of £6.8 million; however, unforeseen works, inflation and the rising cost of materials has seen that rise.

For example, there was the discovery and necessary excavation of an underground railway sleeper tanalising (wood treatment) tank which was hidden beneath a thick slab of concrete and dated back to the time the area was a rail yard. The large cast iron structure and the material it contained were heavily contaminated and had to be cleansed, made safe and removed by a specialist contractor. Due to the age of the buildings large amounts of asbestos also had to be taken out and safely disposed of before demolition or refurbishment.

The report highlights how the original budget has been affected by the steep increase in inflation from 1.5% in 2020 to 10% in 2023, requiring a re-evaluation of the costs to complete the work.

Stewart Swinburn, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Transport added: “I’m delighted to see this approved by Cabinet. We feel strongly that this is a necessary development for the borough and one that will provide countless benefits to the teams working there and Grimsby as a whole.”

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