SEVEN major projects in the heart of Grimsby have been submitted to Central Government as part of the Town Investment Plan.
If approved, the projects will receive a slice of £25m Government cash, which has been ringfenced for investment in Grimsby as part of the national ‘Town’s Fund’ programme.
The plans are:
St James Quarter
St James Quarter, bordered by the Minster to the south and Cartergate to the north, is a prominent site in the town centre, already the subject of a £multi-million regeneration project.
The project in the Towns Fund will look at active reuse of vacant sites and buildings in the area with possibilities for commercial and residential use.
This project will deliver the redesign of the public realm in Riverhead square to create a high quality new public space in the heart of the town centre. This redesign will transform it into an attractive, safe and inclusive place for people to meet and spend time. The square is on a water’s edge location and as such has the potential to become a major focal point as well as helping to reposition its focus towards the River Freshney. Improving connections to the waterfront will also make it easier for people to discover Grimsby’s unique waterside heritage.
Alongside this proposal, the Council will be exploring potential opportunities to enhance bus capacity to the south of the square.
Public Realm connectivity project
The public realm connectivity project will create high quality, quick and safe movement corridors for pedestrians and cyclists through the town centre and along the waterfront. A specific objective is to connect the traditional town centre south of Fredrick Ward Way, with Alexandra dockside which will increase accessibility to the waterfront.
Three priority routes have been identified including: St James to Riverhead Square, St James to Garth Lane and Riverhead Square to the Victoria Mill Quarter. Use of high quality, coherent, materials, lighting, signage and street furniture across the three loops will foster cohesion across the town centre creating a sense of place and identity.
Central Library project
Grimsby’s Central Library opened in 1968 and is a substantial civic building in the heart of the town centre. This project aims to find new uses for the currently unused upper floors of the library building. The initial focus will be on establishing a Green Energy Hub within this keystone location in the town centre that will provide a collaborative test bed for industry-led skills development, innovation and shared learning for businesses and individuals.
Victoria Mills Quarter
This area of the town is made up of a cluster of important historic buildings and the Towns Fund offers an opportunity to make enhancements that will help rejuvenate the area and better connect it to the town centre.
The aim of this project will be to regenerate the area to encourage the development of new commercial and residential ventures which will support the wider regeneration plans for the Alexandra Dock area.
Garth Lane Project
This project will see the next phase of development of the 1ha waterfront site at Garth Lane. Following on from the current Youth Zone project on the adjacent site, this phase aims to develop a new residential area that will provide a new type of town centre living in Grimsby, whilst also connecting the town centre more coherently with Alexandra Dock. The Council plans to secure a developer to work with, in establishing the first phase of water’s edge residential units which will overlook the River Freshney and Alexander Dock.
Activation and community engagement fund
This project will be a local capital grant programme open to community organisations and small businesses to enable grass-roots, community focused projects to come forward and ‘activate’ spaces in the town centre.
The development of this scheme follows the consultation exercise carried out during the summer of 2020, which highlighted significant interest in community inspired projects for Grimsby town centre.
It is envisaged that small grants will be made available for use by local organisations and small businesses to facilitate the delivery of capital based schemes which will strengthen the provision of local cultural and community assets and promote social equity and inclusion in the community.
The next stage will be to secure Government approval of the Town Investment Plan and begin the development of full business cases for each of the seven projects.
As reported, Grimsby was a trailblazer for this initiative, having signed the Greater Grimsby Town Deal in 2018. The Towns Fund is designed to see targeted investment into areas that will help to get towns around the country back onto a ‘level playing field’ – providing a springboard for private investment and growth.
The Greater Grimsby Board, comprising of business leaders, community representatives, MPs and public sector heads, steers the current ‘Town Deal’ activity and will continue to lead on this next crucial stage, as Grimsby progresses the opportunities of the Fund.
David Ross, Chair of the Greater Grimsby Board, said:
“I’m proud to have led the Greater Grimsby Town Board over the past few years, working with local stakeholders and other representatives with links to Grimsby. The Board secured the first Town Deal in the country in 2018 and has been working hard to convert our ambitions for our town into reality.
“This next phase of the Town Deal is our chance to look at what’s really required to create a new future and support our local economy and I fully endorse this Town Investment Plan.
“There’s now a real momentum to be harnessed around our community’s desire for change and a determination to see projects completed to enhance the lives of everyone that lives, works or visits our great town.”
Cllr Philip Jackson, Leader of the Council said:
“There’s real optimism for Grimsby’s future, with many opportunities ahead for us, not least the prominence of our role to the UK’s green agenda, and having a vibrant and enriched town centre that can serve the whole community is significantly important.
“I am pleased to support the projects identified in the Town Investment Plan and believe they will make a step change to how we build our local economy. Change is not just desirable, but critical in recreating our town centre, this plan along with funding from the Towns Fund will be a vital tool in making the vision for our town a reality, helping to make the ‘heart of the town’ somewhere we’re all proud of.”
The seven projects were taken from an overarching Grimsby Town Centre Masterplan and take account of the views of hundreds of local people and businesses. Some 438 people took part in an online consultation event over the summer with scores more involved in one-to-one discussions and focus groups when the Masterplan was drawn up. It takes a more in-depth look at what is required to reshape the town centre and considers the work already taking place at St James’ Square and Garth Lane.
Separately, a decision on whether Grimsby town centre has been awarded a further £25m of Future High Streets Fund money is due this autumn. This was a joint North East Lincolnshire Council and Freshney Place bid to transform the western end of the shopping centre, creating a new market hall and areas for leisure use.
Once the Towns Fund projects are worked up further and the funds are made available, projects will be delivered in stages from 2021 up to 2025.