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Redeveloped site will see 300 council staff based right next to Grimsby Town Centre in green and modern new facilities.

4:37 pm, Monday, 5th February 2024 - 4 months ago

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The main picture shows the now Doughty Road site in its days as a busy railway sidings. You can see Grimsby Town Hall in the right of the picture and what is now Peakes Parkway to the left.

A MAJOR project to bring 300 council staff and partners together in modern premises, equipped with green building and transport innovations, is now progressing well in Grimsby Town Centre.

The latest update on the Doughty Road depot project is going before North East Lincolnshire councillors next week.

The report details how the completely transformed premises will be able to accommodate all the teams that are currently housed there, along with 70 staff from the Gilbey Road depot, on the Pyewipe Industrial Estate.

As well as the staff moves, the redevelopment will house all the council’s environmental fleet, bin wagons, education buses, and associated vehicles.

The report goes on to add how the project will also see the Gilbey Road depot site likely being put up for sale with money going back into council funds.

Further efficiencies also include savings associated with staff working together on one site with modern facilities, and green energy including 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.

Meanwhile the new site entrance off Peakes Parkway (pictured under construction), will ease traffic congestion in the centre of town around Doughty Road, and 300 staff so close to Grimsby Town Centre will provide a further boost to retail and town business.

Commenting on details of the report, North East Lincolnshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for the Environment and Transport, Cllr Stewart Swinburn, says this project also ensures that a six-acre site in the town centre will not be left to deteriorate.

“We did not have a choice but to do something. The facilities at both Doughty Road and Gilbey Road were outdated and needed complete refurbishment – they were simply not suitable,” he said.

“As a result, we made the right decision to consolidate all these services on the Doughty Road site. This is one of the most ambitious town centre projects we have undertaken as a council and when we were considering what to do, everyone here was determined that we did not want to use a site out of town and build new.”

The report goes on to outline how some unforeseen works have had to take place, which were a direct result of transforming the brownfield/industrial site on which Doughty Road sits – as opposed to a new location.

For example, there was the discovery and necessary excavation of an underground and rotting railway sleeper tanalising (wood treatment) tank which was hidden and had dated back to the time the area was a rail yard. The old and large cast iron structure was contaminated and had to be cleansed, made safe and removed. Due to the age of the buildings large amounts of asbestos also had to be taken out.

And whilst this work has added some extra pressures to the original budget of £6.8m, which was set in mid-2020, the project has been hit with more significant extra cost due to inflation and the soaring price of materials – in some cases prices have more than doubled.

As a result, the report is recommending the approval of a further £1.3m of capital spend, with a contingency which will not be spent unless absolutely necessary.

Commenting on this aspect of the report, Cllr Swinburn explains: “A site of this nature was always going to bring its challenges, but I repeat that leaving this town centre depot in favour of a new site was never an option.

“Due to its location housing on the site had been ruled out and with the retail outlets across the road, interest from that sector was also unlikely. Therefore, if we had not taken this decision, we would have seen this large urban site in the heart of the town centre left redundant and empty.”

He added: “Our decision was the right one – we are bringing 300 people together into the town centre close to other council staff and providing a boost to the town centre economy, while redeveloping an old site into a state-of-the-art depot with modern facilities, which are environmentally friendly and where people will be proud to be based.

“With that decision, however, has come some unforeseen cost, mainly born out of the huge increases in product and materials which simply could not have been known four years ago.

Cllr Swinburn continued: “But the benefits of this project, in terms of staff welfare, progress towards our carbon zero ambitions and the facilities for our equipment, far outweigh the extra initial capital cost that is being invested. Even with the added costs, which are capitalised and therefore not a one-off direct cost to the council or taxpayers, the project will still provide efficiencies in the long-term.”

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