North East Lincolnshire Council is launching a new campaign to fix up rundown buildings in Grimsby town centre.
The project aims to improve the street scene in the town centre as it is poised for a wide-ranging, multi-million-pound transformation.
Focused on the busy area around the Victoria Street West pedestrian precinct and surrounding streets, the Council is encouraging owners of a relatively small number of unkempt and potentially dangerous street-facing properties to make improvements.
This will be done by writing to the owners of neglected properties and advising them on the works needed to bring their buildings to an acceptable standard.
Most property owners take good care of their buildings, but a small number of properties are neglected and pose a risk to the wider area.
Problems identified include cracked or missing render, flaking paintwork, shrubs growing in brickwork, missing gutters and drainpipes and vegetation in the gutters and on the roof.
Not only are dilapidated buildings an eyesore, they can also pose a risk to passers-by, harm the value of surrounding properties, and become beacons for criminality and anti-social behaviour.
Many of the buildings only need relatively small improvements to enhance the overall street scene, but some need more substantial works to bring them up to scratch.
Cllr Philip Jackson, leader of the Council, said:
“We’re investing millions-of-pounds in giving Grimsby town centre a new start. People want a town centre that’s an attractive, vibrant and healthy place to visit.
“The Council now owns Freshney Place Shopping Centre and we have ambitious plans to transform top town with a new cinema, more leisure opportunities and a new Market Hall.
“Alongside this, we have other projects planned including the business use of St James’ House, new housing in the Alexandra Dock and Garth Lane areas and the Horizon OnSide Youth Zone, which will provide opportunities for thousands of local young people.
“With all the investment we’re attracting, there’s a growing sense of pride in the town and a drive to make long-lasting, positive change for future generations.
“Town centre property owners have a vital role to play and we want them to work with us to make improvements and give people a better quality environment.”
Cllr Ron Shepherd, portfolio holder for Safer and Stronger Communities at North East Lincolnshire Council, added:
“I’d like to thank all the property owners and businesses who already take great care of their buildings, they’re setting an example and leading the way.
“We need others to follow suit by taking ownership, being accountable and taking more pride.
“That’s why we’re taking action now to stop these neglected buildings spoiling the area for everyone else.”
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.
HOW IT WORKS?
Officers will write to all properties in each area to explain the aims and objectives of the project.
Advice will be offered to owners of properties who need to make improvements, followed by legal warnings and ultimately court proceedings if they fail to take action.
Section 215 (s215) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 allows local authorities in certain circumstances, to take steps requiring land and buildings to be cleaned up when its condition adversely affects the amenity of the area. In these circumstances, the authority may serve a notice on the owner requiring that the situation be remedied.
Once issued on the responsible party, these notices set out the steps that need to be taken, and the time within which they must be carried out. If not, the authority has powers under s219 to undertake the clean-up works themselves and to recover the costs from the landowner.
The council’s town centre vision includes:
- The transformation of a major arm of the west of Freshney Place: This will include a new cinema, eateries and a vibrant new Top Town market. The Parkway Entertainment Company has already signed a deal to operate the cinema. Richard Parkes, director at Parkway said: “We look forward to being part of real change to the heart of the town.”
- A new Horizon OnSide Youth Zone: the national charity is progressing well with its plans to redevelop the historic West Haven Maltings. They will provide thousands of young people with opportunities. Sport, art, music, media, dance, drama, cooking, employability and enterprise workshops are just some of the activities that will be available.
- A LUF (Levelling Up Fund) submission for a new transport hub in the Town Centre and the electrification of the town’s bus fleet.
- Work ongoing through the Towns Fund to transform Riverhead Square. Those plans were released last month. A plan to create modern, green town centre housing on Alexandra Dock again with Towns Fund monies.