St James’ Square start on site

5:21 pm, Wednesday, 3rd June 2020

WORK will start on Monday, 8 June, on a £1.5m transformation of Grimsby’s St James’ Square, with plans that centre on creating a family-friendly space in the heart of the town.

As final preparations are made for the re-construction of the area outside Grimsby Minster, the Rector of Grimsby Canon Andrew Dodd praised the scheme, calling it an ‘exciting period’ for the future of both the Minster and the Square.

The St James’ Square public realm works in the local Heritage Action Zone are part of a wider scheme to unlock the potential of Grimsby town centre, which is being supported with approximately £3.4m from the Government’s Local Growth Fund. This was secured by the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (Humber LEP) as part of the Government’s commitment to the Northern Powerhouse.

Work had been scheduled to start in March but postponed due to the coronavirus restrictions. There has however been some initial work undertaken to remove three structurally damaged trees and a project to provide art pieces for the Square has begun.

The main work involves a new planting scheme to open the Square up, new lighting, CCTV, street furniture, notice boards and planned landscaping with The Fisherman’s Memorial Statue remaining as a key feature.

During the 42-week project there will be restricted access to all, or parts of the Square, and regular press notices will be issued along with signage in the area. Access to the Minster and nearby businesses will be maintained.

Additionally, there may be some short-term traffic disruption on Bethlehem Street in the first few days of the project while the site compound is set up and large construction vehicles access the site using the entrance next to the Minster.

Masterminded by North East Lincolnshire Council, the overall regeneration scheme is being managed by its partners ENGIE and will be delivered on site by the main contractor C.R. Reynolds, with all Government health, hygiene and safety restrictions followed.

Welcoming the start of the work, Canon Dodd said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to see the Square redeveloped as a real space for art and community activity with an appealing design that encourages such. It will become more open, accessible, safe and welcoming.

“It is intended to work with people from all different aspects of our community and that is just how it should be. All at the Minster welcome this,” he added.

These words were echoed by North East Lincolnshire Council’s Cabinet member for Regeneration, Cllr John Fenty, who said: “There has long been a need to look at the design of the current Square and how it can be changed to create a space that encourages family use and enables the staging of events that are attractive for all. This project will realise that and is part of our major look at how we encourage such activity across Grimsby town centre with work also focusing on other areas, such as Garth Lane.”

Interim Chair of the Humber LEP Stephen Parnaby OBE, said: “We are really pleased a contribution from the Local Growth Fund is helping to unlock growth in Grimsby town centre and that work has begun to create a welcoming, family-friendly environment which will enhance St James’ Square.”

Meanwhile, people are being invited to take part in the ‘Our Haven’ arts project. Separately supported by the Cultural Development Fund, (CDF), which is funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and administered by Arts Council England, Our Haven is being managed by Grimsby-based Our Big Picture Ltd.

A main artist will work with the local community and groups to steer the feel, shape and style of the artwork. It will focus on the ‘decoration’ of static furniture and appropriate space, while looking at signposting – or wayfinding – to other points of interest within walking distance.  Our Haven is also looking at similar work in Garth Lane.

Anyone interested should email Paula: paula@ourbigpicture.co.uk.