Grimsby WILL be great again - ambitious multi-million-pound plans herald renaissance for the area
The Alexandra Dock area is to be transformed in ambitious plans embracing North East Lincolnshire's maritime heritage (Image: Rick Byrne)
By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 24 Jul 2017
Today heralds a new dawn for the heart of Grimsby and its maritime history.
Massive plans - backed by some of the biggest and most powerful figures in the country will be unveiled by North East Lincolnshire Council for the Greater Grimsby and Alexandra Dock area - and the newly-acquired Victoria Mills.
The transformational proposals for the town centre, embracing the borough’s maritime heritage and making best use of Alexandra Dock, are being brought forward by an elite team.
Famous ‘sons’ entrepreneur David Ross and former Chancellor Norman Lamont – together with senior civil servants – are backing the bold proposition from North East Lincolnshire Council.
The Greater Grimsby Project will build on the £20 million Riverhead Square cinema and restaurant development, with a sports and leisure plan for the recently bought Victoria Mills, as well as further land acquisitions to create improved residential, business and education opportunities, eventually stretching to the Kazbah on Grimsby Docks.
The proposals are being backed by entrepreneur David Ross
Town hall bosses will release a report today, to be considered by councillors on July 31, focused on putting the proposition to Government. It will include a bid for funding from Heritage Lottery Fund.
It envisages an initial five year investment plan securing up to £36.9 million of new Government funds to bring forward delivery of the key projects.
Councillor Ray Oxby, leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “This is a momentous moment for this area. Never before have all the parties come together to forge a strong alliance for Grimsby, the town centre, and the wider area of North East Lincolnshire.
“The ducks are all lined up; Government, local leaders, politicians – the shapers of the place – all at the table wanting to regenerate Grimsby and work with us in partnership over 20 years, to raise the profile, secure and improve the area around the waterfront and town centre, and leave a legacy of positive lifestyle and job opportunities for future generations.”
Former Chancellor Norman Lamont is backing the plans
Months of work has already gone into the proposal, with Mr Ross – one of Britain’s richest and best connected men – chairing The Greater Grimsby Board.
Associated British Ports and Dong Energy are also involved, with the latter having already launched major funding initiatives for areas in which it operates.
The authority is capitalising on a strong working relationship with ABP, while Mr Oxby makes no secret of how the town needs to plug in further to the Humber’s economic charge.
“This is on the back of the profile that has been created, to capitalise on the Energy Estuary and to exploit the momentum that we know is here. There is optimism, delivering this will further strengthen aspiration, while preserving our valuable maritime heritage.”
Individual projects that make up the joined-up approach remain commercially sensitive, and confidential for now, but a feasibility study is currently being conducted on a preferred operator for a leisure offer at Victoria Mills, with residents being consulted. There will be further community engagement as the ‘Town Deal’ progresses.
Greater Grimsby Project: clockwise from bottom left: New cinema development; Frederick Ward Way crossing; National Fishing Heritage Centre; Alexandra Dock 'framework' zone; Victoria Mills.
Mr Ross, who through the David Ross Foundation has invested in education in the town for a decade, is delighted to contribute.
He said: “I care passionately about Grimsby and will do anything I can to help this town succeed. I want every economic and social opportunity going to come the way of this town, so that the children growing up here have every chance in life. Grimsby is a town with real spirit and pride and I am delighted that we are building on that with these plans.”
Such is the proposition, with the next decade offering potential for a further 5,400 jobs, 7,700 new homes and a £216 million leap in economic output “a step change to the economic contribution to UK Plc” according to the team, Lord Kerslake – the hugely respected former head of the civil service – is also on board, as well as high level figures from Department of Communities and Local Government.
A Free Trade Zone for the ports, boosting attractiveness to industry, as well as a new higher education proposition, and a Kasbah conservation area, form further aspects of what is seen as a pioneering approach to working with central Government.
Great Grimsby MP Melanie Onn said: “It’s great to have a project that is proactively taking a vision of our town’s potential to the Government. It’s vital that we capitalise on the Energy Estuary label, as well as generating investment into our town for residential, social and cultural renewal.
“I hope that Government ministers will view this work positively and engage with constructive conversations with the local board to see this plan become a reality.”