Historic Barge pub told to move for new £20m Riverhead cinema scheme

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 8 Aug 2017

The heart of Grimsby will be sunk if an iconic floating pub has to make way for a £20 million entertainment complex at the Riverhead.

That's according to campaigners, who are planning a petition to save The Barge pub restaurant which has to move out to create enough room for the massive cinema complex and restaurants.

North East Lincolnshire Council has given owner Derrick Howard less than a year to shift the popular venue which has been serving generations of customers for 35 years.

Developers behind the huge entertainment venue want to put a fountain in the actual Riverhead.

But Derrick is campaigning to stay in the heart of Grimsby and has offered to move 10ft to give developers the space they are demanding.

He said he is determined “come hell or high water” to remain at the heart of the town, having invested hundreds of thousands of pounds maintaining The Barge, which is renowned throughout the world.

At the same time he has invested £600,000 to transform Gulliver's nightclub, opposite on Victoria Street.

Just days after the refit began, North East Lincolnshire Council contacted Derrick to say The Barge had to move and set a deadline for the end of the mooring licence of June 27, 2018.

CGI pictures of how the £20 million Freshney Place development will look

READ MORE: Plans approved for ambitious multi-million pound development in Grimsby town centre

Determined Derrick said: “We will fight for it. I have not given up. There will be a £20 million development in Riverhead. But at what cost? It will rip the heart out of the town.

“How many other towns or cities would not want a boat at their heart?”

Derrick added: “The developers say they are bringing in £20 million and creating 450 jobs - but most of them will be part-time jobs and maybe end up as zero-hours contracts.

“It will end up a concrete block, filled with national chains. The money is not going to be spent in Grimsby. I suspect they will use outside contractors as Primark did. You see it happening in Cleethorpes with McDonalds, Taco Bell and Subway. Grimsby is going to end up looking like every other town.

“Everything I do is local. All the produce is sourced from the local butcher, vegetable shop, fishmongers and I use local plumbers and electricians.

The Barge pub, at the Riverhead, in Grimsby town centre.

“I am adding to the economy and have being doing so for 25 years. My heart is in this town. It is all about people’s heritage.”

Derrick said he cannot easily move further down the Riverhead towards Sym Whyte Bridge (Frederick Ward Way) because the electric and sewage connections.

Exploratory drilling has confirmed the dock can be built upon.

A spokesperson for NELC said: “We have already met with the owner of The Barge, and are working with him to look at alternatives for the future possible relocation of the business.”

CGI pictures of how the £20 million Freshney Place development will look

One drinker, who didn't want to be named, said: “It makes me sick that the council seems to be supporting national chains over a local business that has been there for 25 years.

“The Barge is an icon of Grimsby, loved by locals and well respected throughout the town for its quality service and management.

“I want my money to go to local people who invest, live and care about our community, not national chains that pay for fast cars for executives who may never even visit.

“To be honest I don’t even think there is a demand for another cinema here in Grimsby, Parkway in Cleethorpes works just fine, and I don’t think there are enough people in Grimsby to warrant another.”

Another, visiting from Ireland, said: “The Barge is awesome, plays good music, has great homemade food and is one of the best places to go in Grimsby town centre for a drink.

“I have never seen a pub quite like The Barge before and it seems mad to get rid of it to build a fountain. Where are people going to go for a nice pint after a movie?”

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