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Grimsby Heritage Projects: what’s happening with them?

12:14 pm, Thursday, 19th November 2020

THE reinvention of a notable Grimsby building into a multi-million-pound Youth Zone is the key piece of a jigsaw puzzle, which is being completed as part of the town’s new Heritage Action Zone (HAZ).

Those behind the HAZ have welcomed the latest £1m funding boost that has been gifted by renewables giant Ørsted to Grimsby Youth Zone, a new youth charity being developed by OnSide Youth Zones.

The converted Grade II listed West Haven Maltings in the centre of Grimsby will become home to the new Youth Zone. When complete by the end of 2022, a ‘new haven’ will be created for thousands of young people, providing them with somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to, 7 days a week.

As reported, Grimsby Youth Zone will provide over 20 activities every day including indoor climbing, sports, arts, drama, music, media and cooking as well as employability and enterprise programmes, which will see specialist youth workers and partners support young people.

For the team behind the HAZ and the North East Lincolnshire councillors who support it, this is a perfect way to make use of a redundant building, which sits at the Zone’s heart.

It also complements the work that is being done or is planned in other key areas that fall within the HAZ, which include the next-door Garth Lane, St James’ Square, Corporation Road Bridge and the Kasbah area on the docks.

The HAZ is a 2.5km stretch running from 17-19 Wellowgate to St James’ Square, along the main town shopping area of Victoria Street, across Riverhead Square and onto Garth Lane bridge. It then passes West Haven maltings and onto Victoria Mills and up to the docks and the Kasbah.

Partnerships have been built over many months between North East Lincolnshire Council, its regeneration partner ENGIE, central Government, private companies such as Associated British Ports and local and national organisations including Historic England, the Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust and Grimsby Cleethorpes and District Civic Society.  Such co-operation has seen grant monies secured to an unprecedented level, with Historic England representatives amongst regular visitors and advocates of the on-going work.

The Humber Local Enterprise Partnership; The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government through the Grimsby Town Deal; the Cultural Development Fund (funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and administered by Arts Council England); the Department of Transport, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Architectural Heritage Fund are all supporting the projects now underway – proof indeed of the faith they place in the town, its leaders and their aspirations.

So, what do we have along that 2.5km HAZ stretch?

St James’ Square: Arguably the most important public building in Grimsby, the Minster sits adjacent to this green space, where a major transformation is well underway. The Minster itself has recently been awarded £182,900 through the DCMS Covid Recovery Fund.

st. james labyrinth
A labyrinth will form the centrepiece of the new St James’ Square

Victoria Street and the Riverhead: The HAZ passes through this area on its way to Garth Lane and in doing so, it may be easy to overlook some of the fantastic buildings that are a representation of the town’s past. Have you seen the architecture above the McDonald’s sign on Victoria Street?

victoria street building
Some of the old architecture remains along Grimsby’s main Victoria Street.

Garth Lane and the West Haven Maltings: As already highlighted this area is central to the HAZ and is the site of two important projects – the OnSide Youth Zone and the transformation of Garth Lane. The latter is well underway with plans passed for the installation of a new 5m wide footbridge along with new planting and environmental schemes, and fresh green spaces where people can sit and enjoy a revitalised area leading down to the River Freshney.

Corporation Road Bridge: This town landmark, which is listed, is receiving almost £5m for vital repair work, which is crucial to ensuring its long-term viability. This work is due to begin next year.

Corporation Bridge in Grimsby
The Corporation Road bridge lies within the HAZ and is to receive essential work next year.

The Kasbah area of Grimsby Docks: After crossing the bridge you find Victoria Mills, the former electricity and steam powered corn mill. You then approach the docks, where the Kasbah is sited, on land owned by ABP. The Kasbah area was a commercial hub of activity in the fishing industry’s heyday and is described by Historic England’s principal advisor for historic places, Clive Fletcher, as ‘truly unique’.

Grimsby Kasbah
The Kasbah sits within the HAZ and has received much attention from Historic England

“The Kasbah’s historic buildings are not only symbols of the past but opportunities for the future. With a little imagination and investment, Grimsby’s heritage is poised to release new economic vitality and pride in the town,” he said on a visit to the town.

Patrick outside smokehouse
Successful businesses are helping to promote the Kasbah and the HAZ

Grant funding is now available to assist businesses to locate and develop here. Successes include the awarding of almost £1m to the Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust, (GGIFT) from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Architectural Heritage Fund’s Transforming Places Through Heritage programme, to transform the redundant Peterson’s Smokehouse building on Henderson Street.  The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, (DCMS), is also investing in a Creative Industries Workspace here, via Arts Council England’s Cultural Development Fund, being led by the Council’s Grimsby Creates team.

Vicky Hartung
Vicky Hartung is the chair of the GGIFT, which was integral to a successful grant application to transform the Peterson’s building. There is an artist’s impression of what it could look like.
Peterson's Building

Meanwhile, existing businesses, such as the 2020 Great British Food award-winner Alfred Enderby, continue to thrive on The Kasbah.

Summing up the major investment into Great Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire Council leader Cllr Philip Jackson, said: “We sit on the brink of major opportunity here and it is the responsibility of ourselves, our stakeholders and partners to ensure it does not slip through our grasp. We know our town has much that is Great and now is the time for its reinvention.”