Plans have been revealed for the Greater Grimsby Heritage Action Zone, which will see the historic port and town boosted by investment and the collaborative efforts of a number of local organisations keen to breathe new life into the area.
The five-year scheme, led by North East Lincolnshire Council and Historic England, is at the heart of an ambitious ‘Town Deal’, a package of plans for investment by government and local agencies, including the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership.
The Heritage Action Zone will see premises in the Kasbah, docks and town centre given a new lease of life for business and community use. Historic England in the East Midlands will provide an estimated £620,000, with the rest coming from North East Lincolnshire Council and their partners Engie, Associated British Ports (ABP) and Humber Local Enterprise Partnership. The overall programme is already worth more than £3.7 million, and could be boosted further by grants from additional funders.
The Kasbah was designated as a Conservation Area in 2017. Owners ABP, together with North East Lincolnshire Council and Historic England, are looking to exploit a living local tradition of producing smoked fish, and develop the area as a centre for artisan food.
Historic England will provide support and advice to the Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust and partners to look at possibilities for the creative re-use of the Ice Factory, an important building at risk which stands at the gateway to the Kasbah.
The Heritage Action Zone will also promote re-use of historic buildings along Alexandra Dock. These include Victoria Mills, where the council has spent more than £2million on urgent repairs, including grant-aid from Historic England. Towards the town centre itself, further projects focus on repair and re-use of vacant listed buildings, such as the Cooperage, West Haven Maltings and Haven Mill, and creating open space for events and activities around St James’s Minster.
Research on Grimsby’s historic buildings will ensure they get the recognition they deserve, and enrich local museums and archives. Local residents and businesses will find new opportunities to benefit from their local heritage, and visitors will discover a warmer welcome and a rewarding experience in Grimsby.
Louise Brennan, Planning Director for Historic England in the East Midlands, said: “Few places in England have as distinctive a heritage as Grimsby. The town holds a unique place in our history as a seafaring nation, and the evidence can still be seen in abundance in places like the Kasbah. The projects in the Heritage Action Zone are poised to release new economic vitality and pride in the town, and will help put the Town Deal into action. Thanks to its heritage, Grimsby can now look to the future with confidence.”
Cllr Ray Oxby, Leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “The Heritage Action Zone is just one example of the ambitious, place-based approach that underpins the Greater Grimsby Town Deal.
“As a council we’re bringing together the right people and organisations to make our collective vision for Greater Grimsby a reality – and that’s clear in the commitment shown by ABP and Historic England to the transformation of the historic Kasbah including the Ice Factory at the Port of Grimsby.
“We’re giving new life to the area’s heritage assets and celebrating our proud maritime history while also looking to the future and embracing our waterfront location.
Cllr Peter Wheatley, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Assets, Skills and Housing, added: “We’ll be engaging with businesses and local people to understand their views on the opportunities in the Heritage Action Zone over the next few months. Grant funding will be available to carry out repairs and repurpose these unique buildings so that they can be preserved for future generations.”
Simon Bird, Port Director Humber at Associated British Ports, said: “The Humber Ports make up the busiest port complex in the UK and the Port of Grimsby is a thriving part of that complex. The modern port has behind it a rich history of fishing and commercial use and what is really exciting is that some of the historic buildings from that past can play an important role in the port’s future.
“ABP, working in partnership with North East Lincolnshire Council and Historic England are planning a phased approach to a heritage-led regeneration of the Kasbah area of the port, creating new opportunities for business start-ups, creative industries and charities.”
There are now 18 Heritage Action Zones in villages, towns and cities across England. They have been identified by Historic England as places in need and where the historic environment can create economic growth and improve quality of life for people.