North East Lincolnshire Council’s campaign to fix run-down buildings in the town centre is proving successful as property owners join the rush to make improvements.
Plans to improve the street scene in the area began last October, focusing on the pedestrianised Victoria Street West area and surrounding streets.
Properties to have enjoyed a revamp include the former My Oriental Fusion property, in Town Hall Street, and The Body Shop, My Cigara, Pizza Hut, TSB, and Nationwide Building Society, all in Victoria Street.
Not only do improvements like these make a positive difference for businesses, by allowing the potential for attracting new customers, they also instil a sense of pride in the wider community. Smarter areas also tend to enjoy higher property values, while run-down areas often become beacons for criminality and anti-social behaviour.
The Tivoli Tavern, in Old Market Place, has undergone a schedule of works, making it a stand-out property close to the newly renovated St James’ Square. Manager Marie Moran, said:
“The tavern was built in the 1800s, although it hasn’t always been a pub. It’s listed and an important part of the town’s history. Keeping it in good shape helps to preserve it for future generations.”
Grimsby town centre is currently undergoing a multi-million-pound regeneration project that will see a major refurbishment of the town centre. A new cinema, market, housing development, youth facility, and revamped Riverhead are all a part of plans to invigorate the area.
Property owners inside of this improvement zone, and those in the surrounding area, are realising the potential these changes could bring, and are keen to follow this example with their own repairs and refurbs.
Cllr Ron Shepherd, portfolio holder for Safer and Stronger Communities at North East Lincolnshire Council, commented:
“As we continue our ambitious plans to transform the Top Town and Riverhead areas, it is vital that property owners in the locality strive to improve their buildings to reflect Grimsby being a vibrant place to visit.
“Neglected buildings can spoil attitudes during this time of renewed enthusiasm across the community. Hopefully, as we see more property owners across the centre taking the opportunity to do repair work it will motivate others to do the same.”
A small number of unkempt and potentially dangerous properties were identified, with several other properties in need of minor works to bring them up to an acceptable standard.
Problems identified included cracked or missing render, rotting woodwork, missing or broken windows, flaking paintwork, shrubs growing in brickwork, missing gutters and drainpipes and vegetation in the gutters and on the roof.
The town centre project follows the success of a similar scheme to improve the street scene on the A180 between Riby Square in Grimsby and Suggitt’s Lane in Cleethorpes. That scheme, known as Operation Gateway, saw improvements carried out at 130 buildings in the target area.
Grants available to bring properties back into use
There are several grant schemes available to help bring properties back into use and “activate” the town centre, which might cover, for example, temporary art installations to promote space, capital grants for non-essential works to bring alternative uses into buildings, and community led schemes.