THE reinvention of a popular area of Grimsby town centre into an attractive public and green space starts this month, with survey work beginning in the Garth Lane area and along the River Freshney.
Specialists in ecology and the natural environment have been deployed to conduct thorough river and habitat surveys and look at the planting of new species and the replacement of existing ones.
Meanwhile, a vital survey will take place to determine the ground conditions along the riverbank areas and adjacent to the Garth Lane footbridge. This must go ahead prior to the construction of the new stepped areas, pathways and family friendly public spaces.
During this work, which starts on Monday 17 February, the Garth Lane footbridge and the pedestrian crossing over to Riverhead Square, will be closed to pedestrians with a walking diversion from Sainsburys / Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre area via Alexandra Road or Victoria Street – necessary due to the heavy machinery that is required on site. It is hoped the closures will be for three days only, however that will depend upon any rock formations that may be encountered, which may mean only a slight extension. Other crossing points on Frederick Ward Way are not affected.
On the same week, a river survey begins to examine the water conditions, and to look at what clearance and planting work is required to encourage wildlife and protect the existing habitat.
North East Lincolnshire Council’s Ecology manager, Rachel Graham, already has pictorial evidence of the wildlife and plants that exist close to Garth Lane. They include Damselfly, Ramshorn snails, Marsh marigold, Water mint and Forget-me-knot.
“What people often do not appreciate is the abundance of species and plants that thrive along this stretch, otters have even been spotted as they pass between different water bodies. Our initial work is to determine exactly what can be done, as part of this overall project, to enhance the environment,” said Rachel.
An examination of the existing trees has already determined that a large and old willow tree needs to be removed, with a young replacement sited near the new bridge. The old tree has been confirmed as being the latter stages of its life and therefore its removal is necessary, however it is hoped the wood from it can up-cycled, and possibly included as part of the landscaping of the area. Other new native species will also be introduced.
As reported, the Garth Lane waterfront improvement scheme is being revitalised as part of a £3.5million project supported by the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership and the Town Deal, funding which is dependent upon a start date for the work this spring.
The plans will enhance the natural environment and its biodiversity and introduce features to create an accessible and family friendly space. These were all topics that were high on people’s wish list during the consultation, which was held by project managers at ENGIE, the regeneration partner of North East Lincolnshire Council.
Council regeneration lead, Councillor John Fenty said: “The work here will form a vital part of the complete redevelopment of the Garth Lane area as part of the Greater Grimsby Town Deal, with a space that people can enjoy. It is a key and historic part of our town centre and our aim is to reflect that in the work we are doing.”
Entrenched in folk law, this Haven area is where Grim, the founder of Grimsby, is said to have landed and there is also evidence of Anglo-Saxon settlements and shipbuilding in the area. A recent archaeological dig unearthed a bronze pendant, likely to be a pierced coin from the medieval period.