The unique nature of the Kasbah area of Grimsby docks, and how to manage it for the future, is the subject of a new management plan by conservation specialists, Alan Baxter Ltd.
The Kasbah Conservation Area was designated in 2017, in recognition of its distinctive and special character with a unique set of industrial buildings relating to the fishing industries and associated uses, particularly smokehouses.
Now, the company has been employed to work with the Council and other partners, including current and potential future occupiers of the docks’ premises to provide solutions and guidance for current and future occupiers of the historic buildings.
Al Eggeling of Alan Baxter’s heritage team explained: “The Kasbah Conservation Area Management Plan will be unique. It will not just be about preserving the unique smokeries and buildings of the world’s greatest fishing port but rather it will be about managing change: enabling a thriving, heritage-led regeneration of this unique town-within-a-town.
“Getting the input of current businesses, local people in Grimsby and heritage stakeholders will be critical to provide a consensus for future decisions in the Kasbah, and continued stewardship of the conservation area long after the Heritage Action Zone projects come to an end,” she continued.
Alan Baxter Ltd is a multi-disciplinary practice with a wealth of skills to draw on, including heritage professionals; urban designers; landscape architects; civil & structural engineers and transport planners.
Previous experience has seen them deliver holistic visions for the conservation of the coastal town of Ramsgate in Kent and also for the historic core of York.
“This is a project I really wanted to work on,” Al continued. “Not just because it’s a fantastic opportunity to help breathe new life into Grimsby’s docks but because it has parallels with our own practice’s experience.
“In 1979, Alan Baxter bought and renovated a former bacon smokery in a run-down, declining area close to Smithfield Meat Market and established a design practice. In time, the company expanded and we bought, refurbished and occupied a former warehouse on the same street, leasing our original building to architects and built environment start-ups.
“Today, the area is home to many related design firms and creative industries so we know it can be done with some vision and momentum. The team that has been assembled are really committed to making that happen”.
North East Lincolnshire Council Cabinet member for Tourism, Heritage and Culture, Cllr Callum Procter, said: “I’m really pleased this Management Plan is underway. We need to understand how buildings on this important dock can be used so we can attract creative and other industries to use the docks as a base to work from in the future.”
David Walsh, Principal Adviser at Historic England, said: “The Kasbah is seeing new hope in 2022 with works starting on a number of Heritage Action Zone projects and new businesses coming to the area. The conservation area management plan will provide a strategic approach and action plan to help tackle the challenges the historic dock faces now and in the future, including the poor condition of many buildings and low occupancy rates. Historic England is delighted that this vital work is underway.”
Simon Bird, Director of ABP Humber said: “We look forward to seeing the Kasbah Conservation Management Plan and how it will celebrate the distinctive sense of place within this part of the operational port in Grimsby. Alan Baxter Ltd have a strong record in heritage buildings and the right skills in order to deliver the vision, and ABP Humber look forward to working with them on the transformation of this unique space.”
The Conservation Area Management Plan will be developed through 2022, with a final report on the best way to manage the historic buildings on the Kasbah delivered later in the year.