AN INNOVATIVE approach to helping businesses to plan, build and grow will ensure the future prosperity of North East Lincolnshire.
That is the view of the authority’s economic chief, Clive Tritton, as he reflects on six-months in his new role.
Clive arrived as North East Lincolnshire Council’s Interim Director for Economy and Growth in the spring and has spent six months embedding himself into the structures and workings of an area that, he is now confident, has much to offer.
“It’s fair to say that when I came here, my perceptions of the Humber as a business location were probably very different from the reality,” reflects Clive who, as reported, came to the area having spent much of his career in London.
“I might have thought: ‘old coal port, fishing port, probably struggling…’ and I couldn’t have been more wrong and in my first six months here, I have seen the opportunity first-hand.
“Here we have two thriving ports with huge opportunity across a wide range of sectors and we are leading the way in probably the fastest growing sector in the country, offshore wind. Our economic strategy looks to facilitate growth in those sectors also, whether logistics, food, advanced materials and engineering, or offshore energy.”
Clive is especially passionate about what he says is North East Lincolnshire Council’s forward-thinking approach to attracting new business.
“The investment in SHIIP (the South Humber Industrial Development Programme), is really exciting. It’s the driver behind the new link road between Immingham and Grimsby ports, the establishment of a number of Enterprise Zones, and new infrastructure at Stallingborough, which will increase the availability of development land.”
SHIIP is a £42-million programme to develop land and infrastructure perfect for businesses to invest and incorporates the largest ready-made mitigation project of its kind in Europe, the new Stallingborough Business Park and the new link road between the ports of Grimsby and Immingham.
“Investors can clearly see that there’s aspiration to support investment and we are starting to see massive investment interest as a result of this pro-active work,” he says.
Clive has also seen the holistic, one-stop-shop-approach to planning as a way of assisting the business journey within the area.
“Our inward investment team pulls together people across the council and ENGIE, our regeneration partner, to support new businesses. If we’re working with an investor, we’ll have conversations on their behalf with planning, highways and others, breaking down any barriers in advance.
“Our senior management team is also committed to creating pathways for business to flourish here. We have very strong relationships with North Lincolnshire and the other boroughs, so we’re in tune with the regional support that’s available. On top of that, there’s a strong relationship with government through the Town Deal. This relationship is really driving forward growth across greater Grimsby, and means we can move nimbly whether locally, regionally or nationally.”
With his positive outlook for the future, Clive looks at his vision for North East Lincolnshire.
“We have some real selling points that other areas don’t in terms of the availability and affordability and clearly offshore wind is a huge area we have to capitalise on, and we’re absolutely determined to do that.
“For us it’s also about the supporting infrastructure, whether that’s practical investment like housing and transport, or supporting skills in the region. These are very highly skilled jobs and we’re fortunate to have a skills base that supports that, but we need to keep developing it,” adds Clive.
For more on SHIIP and opportunities across the South Humber Bank, please go to www.southhumber.co.uk