Monday, July 6, 2020

Vision for future of Lincolnshire town’s centre revealed

A public and private partnership between North East Lincolnshire Council and the owners of Freshney Place is bidding for £25 million of Government cash to transform part of Grimsby Town Centre.

The government has created the Future High Streets Fund with the objective to renew and reshape town centres and high streets to improve visitor experience, drive growth and ensure future sustainability. Winning bids are expected to be announced in the autumn.

If successful the partners have plans to create a new cinema and food and beverage and retail offer – together with a redeveloped market hall and new public square. The vision is to develop an evening economy for the town, increase leisure activities and draw in more visitors with a better experience for the whole community.

The location proposed comprises the western side of Victoria Street, incorporating the former BHS building, Flottergate Mall, Grimsby Top Town Market and Old Market Square. Having considered the Grimsby masterplan, the built environment, the current uses and redundant buildings, this site was selected as the prime area for regeneration as required by the Government fund.

The vision has been released ahead of the formal bid submission next month.

The proposals have been worked up jointly by the Council and the owners of Freshney Place, supported by a range of specialists with experience of the retail and leisure sectors to ensure any future scheme addresses the challenges being faced by town centres across the country.

Detailed talks with all stakeholders will start if the bid is successful. The partners want to engage with the market traders, retailers and business premises’ owners, together with the wider community so that everyone can participate in reshaping the town centre for the benefit of all.

Believing North East Lincolnshire’s submission to be robust, Council Leader, Cllr Philip Jackson, said: “We want to take everyone with us as we progress this plan. Change is not just desirable to recreate our town centre, it is vital and this is Grimsby’s biggest and best chance to look at what is really required to create a new future.

“We appreciate that to some people it may seem like there have been a number of plans that have not progressed. However, if our bid is accepted then this redevelopment has the strongest chance of success as the money is secured from Central Government. This is a very important element of a wider town centre improvements that we will be consulting on in the near future.”

Cllr John Fenty, Cabinet member for regeneration in North East Lincolnshire said: “If you look around, you can see that the schemes we have already won grant funding for are now being delivered.

“The proposed scheme sits at the heart of the town centre and aligns with our vision to breath new and vibrant life into the town centre, incorporating a state of the art market, new leisure, food and drinks outlets and a new public square. I’m excited to see the proposals and hope that others will be too.”

Cllr Callum Procter, Cabinet member for tourism and culture added: “Nationally, town centres are changing to incorporate more leisure use. We’re working to incorporate cultural elements already in the Garth Lane and St James’ schemes that are already on site, and the vision to add this leisure offering is completely complementary.”

Amanda Austin, Freshney Place Centre Director, said: “We are delighted to be working in Partnership with North East Lincolnshire Council to formulate and submit these exciting proposals which we see as a huge opportunity to reshape, revive and harmonise Grimsby Town Centre and Freshney Place Shopping Centre for the benefit of all our customers and retailers as well as all the residents of Grimsby and the surrounding area.”

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