Monthly Archive 31st July 2020

£25m Future High Streets Fund bid submitted to Government

A major bid for £25m of funding to help regenerate Grimsby town centre has now been submitted to Government.

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Full Council: Leader’s speech

Council leader Philip Jackson congratulated North East Lincolnshire Council’s workforce for maintaining key public services through the pandemic.

He made the comment at tonight’s full council meeting – the first in five months. Some councillors attended at Grimsby Town Hall, with others attending by video call. It was broadcast virtually on the council’s website.

Councillor Jackson outlined how the response to Covid-19 has been a “major area of focus in recent weeks”.

“It is of great credit to workforce that key public services have been maintained throughout in contrast to some other local authorities,” he said in his Leader’s Report. “Flexibility in the way they do their jobs, agile working, use of IT, undertaking different roles, working from home, innovation. We need to build on this.

“The voluntary and community sector has played a huge part in in supporting the response to the pandemic, and we must build on the strength of this sector.

“Work with care homes on infection control, local shielding arrangements, administration of business support grants and general support for the most vulnerable show how effective and agile our place-based arrangements and relationships are.”

On the topic of business support grants from the Government, the report said: “In North East Lincolnshire, we’ve paid out £30.6-million through the Small Business and Retail, Leisure and Hospitality schemes to a total of 2,635 businesses, and a further £1.6-million in Discretionary Grants to 154 businesses. Thank you to the officer team who so effectively distributed this life-saving Government cash to our local business sector.  Thanks to elected members too for all you’ve done in your wards and in the community. 

“As we start to focus on recovery, we must guard against complacency and strike right balance between supporting local economic recovery and managing the continuing public health risk. Thank you to the Safe Reopening Group (multi-disciplinary group of officers) who devised and advised on schemes to make the resort of Cleethorpes, our high streets and other businesses Covid-safe, and facilitated reopening.

“Cabinet has approved our Outbreak Management Plan which enables us to support business, communities, schools and so on, and focus on prevention and suppression of the virus. Autumn and winter will be a challenge – we are fully engaged with NHS and Local Resilience Forum colleagues on planning, local engagement and risk management.”

Councillor Jackson outlined financial challenges for the council – extra costs and reduced income – and welcomed additional Government support, but said further funding and flexibilities in the medium term will be needed.

“There is a huge amount going on, in spite of Covid,” he said. “The Onside Youth Zone planning application (West Haven Maltings) went live this week, and the Future High Streets Fund application for up to £25-million of Government grant monies was submitted today.

“A recent meeting of Greater Grimsby Board was very supportive. Engagement with the Government continues to be constructive. We are working with the board and our two Conservative MPs to ensure North East Lincolnshire, and Grimsby in particular, maintains a high profile in Westminster. We have a government still clearly committed to ‘levelling-up’.”

Councillor Jackson highlighted a public consultation for the Stronger Towns Fund masterplan and investment plan: £25-million of Government grant money ringfenced for Grimsby subject to robust business plans. There will be a submission later this year.

He also outlined the St. James Square and Garth Lane public realm schemes, the approval of the Velocys planning application, a ground-breaking industrial development, and the relocation of ORE Catapult to Grimsby, supporting the offshore wind sector. Construction started on the Myenergi development as part of the South Humber Industrial Investment Programme, he added, all underlining the fact that Grimsby is “starting to motor”. “We now have cranes in the sky!” he said. “All essential in spearheading economic recovery.”

In Cleethorpes, he said, largely Government grant funded public realm works in Sea View Street, High Street and Alexandra Road are coming to an end, which have been able to accelerate during the resort closure. Regeneration work in Sea Road is in progress.

‘The current administration has found a way to make public toilets in Cleethorpes free of charge again within existing budgets while still maintaining improved quality – vital for tourism and the reopening of the resort,” he added, welcoming this week’s announcement about potential new investment in the former Pleasure Island site.

Councillor Jackson put the spotlight on the progress made with other major projects in the area too: Tollbar roundabout and the Littlecoates Road/Cambridge Road roundabout (both with money from the Lincolnshire LEP); the first two phases of the A18 upgrade (with a Government grant), which took less time and finished ahead of schedule; £1-million of much-needed investment in CCTV across the borough; the new, innovative Empty Properties Strategy; and new recycling bins being introduced ahead of schedule to replace unpopular and inefficient three-box system. “This is not an exhaustive list but we continue to meet manifesto commitments from May last year,” he told the chamber.

Regarding Children’s Services, Councillor Jackson explained that major steps forward had been taken in the last six months across the areas of improvement identified by Ofsted and the Department For Education, and he praised all staff within the service. “It is important that progress is sustained, embedded and lessons learned, and that additional funding provided is used to transform and improve the service while reducing costs in the medium to long-term,” he said.

He also spoke about the Greater Lincolnshire Devolution Deal. Councillor Jackson said: “This council strongly supported the 2016 deal which didn’t proceed for several reasons. The Government has made it very clear, repeatedly, that the autumn White Paper on devolution and local recovery will specify Mayoral Combined Authorities as the preferred devolution model if significant powers and funding are to be devolved to local areas. The Government is also making it clear that local government reorganisation is the first step towards any devolution deal in two-tier areas.

“Greater Lincolnshire discussions have started but are at an early stage. Clearly, Full Council will have an important part to play in any options or decisions that may come forward for consideration. Continuing collaboration around the Humber is key in any event and is a government expectation. I have emphasised its importance and my support for it every time I’ve made a statement. Robust collaboration is essential across key business sectors, including freeports, renewables and de-carbonisation, and unitary leaders and the two LEPs are actively involved in discussions to develop a mechanism.

“The Government’s LEP review required us to make a choice as to which LEP we should be in. Membership of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP is this administration’s preferred focus and clearly aligns with the potential direction of devolution.  However, I stress again the importance of ongoing collaboration around the Humber where it is of mutual benefit. We remain a member of both LEPs until the necessary transition agreement is finalised.”

In summary, Councillor Jackson reflected on a busy five months since the last full council meeting, keeping communities safe in the face of Covid-19.

“There has been a lot of other activity focussed on moving the borough’s economy forward and meeting our manifesto commitments,” he said.

Bus stop improvements across the borough

Motorists are being asked to check new signs that are being put up at bus stops in North East Lincolnshire to ensure they are not restricting access needed for buses and their passengers.

The latest improvements include introducing ‘No Stopping Except Local Buses’ signs, alongside the introduction of operational time limits.

These improvements aim to reinforce parking restrictions and ensure unauthorised vehicles are not restricting the access needed for passengers to safely board the bus.

The parking restrictions will be posted at 341 bus stops across North East Lincolnshire. Following assessment of each stop, one of the following restrictions will be in place:

  • No Stopping Except Local Buses – 7am to 7pm
  • No Stopping Except Local Buses – 24 hours

Residents are encouraged to check signs when parking to make sure they are aware of these parking restrictions. Anyone found parked in a bus stop within the operational time limit will receive a penalty charge notice (PCN).

Councillor Stewart Swinburn, portfolio holder for environment and transport, said: “These improvements have been introduced following feedback through the Bus Quality Partnership and our continued commitment to provide a safe highway network for all.

“We’re committed to working with our partners and ensuring our bus network has the necessary measures and infrastructure in place to support passengers.

“The latest improvements complement Stagecoach’s low floor buses by allowing them to park flush with the kerb, making it easier for all bus passengers when getting on and off the bus.”

As part of the Bus Quality Partnership, North East Lincolnshire Council and its regeneration partner, ENGIE, actively work with Stagecoach East Midlands to ensure the highway infrastructure is accessible, safe and providing a better overall journey experience for all passengers.

North East Lincolnshire Council, ENGIE and Stagecoach East Midlands understand the introduction of the signs and parking restrictions may cause some disruption, but are committed to continuing to work with residents and businesses to balance their needs alongside those of the local community.

For more information about public transport in North East Lincolnshire, visit www.nelincs.gov.uk/travel-and-public-transport/ Alternatively, email transport@nelincs.gov.uk, or call (01472) 326290.

Article from NELC.

St James Square work: Footpath diversions begin

Pathway diversions for pedestrians around St James’ Square are changing this week, as work continues on the redesign of the area.

The latest phase of the £1.8m transformation of the Square into a more family-friendly and accessible space centres upon the area near Cartergate, in front of St James’ Hotel and towards the Wilko’s building.

To allow for excavation and repaving, from Wednesday, July 29 for up to two weeks, pedestrians wanting to access the town centre will be taken on two main routes:

  • Route 1: from the Cartergate underpass around the back of St James’ House and back into the town centre via Bethlehem Street. This area will be well lit and kept clean.
  • Route 2: from Cartergate, across Frederick Ward Way and into the Freshney Place shopping centre entrance at Friargate Mall (which also includes an entrance to the market).  This route is open from 9am – 5.30pm Monday to Saturday and 10.30am – 4.30pm on Sundays.

Signage will guide people through the diversions.

Once the initial works have been completed, diversion Route One will change for a further three to six weeks to take people in front of St James’ House, around the Minster and into town at the Minster side of the Wilko’s building. This will enable the repaving in front of the hotel.

Pedestrians from West Marsh are reminded that they can walk to the town centre through Brighowgate, over Deansgate Bridge or across Frederick Ward Way and into Freshney Place.

Pleased at the progress of the Square’s transformation, which is being managed on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council by its regeneration partner ENGIE, the authority’s Cabinet member for regeneration, Cllr John Fenty, said: “Yes, this will cause a slightly longer walking route into the town centre, but we assure those pedestrians that it will be worth it. Having viewed the work so far and the plans, the change is going to be terrific. This will be a Square in which we can all take great pride.”

Welcoming the work, Paul George, Deputy Operations Manager at St James’ Hotel, said: “Since our re-opening at the beginning of July, following lockdown, business here has been good and we see that continuing in the weeks and months ahead. People have noticed the work taking place outside as they have been arriving and are supportive of it, as we are. We cannot wait for the new-look Square to be unveiled and are happy to make arrangements whilst the diversions are in place. Once complete, this Square will provide a lovely place for our guests to enjoy, complementing the wonderful view we have of the Minster.”

The £1.8m of work, which includes new paving, street furniture, landscaping, CCTV and lighting, and is within the Heritage Action Zone, (HAZ), is supported by funding secured by the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (Humber LEP) as part of the Government’s commitment to the Northern Powerhouse.

Further monies from the Cultural Development Fund, (CDF), which is funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and administered by Arts Council England was awarded to introduce creativity into the Square. That work is being led by Our Big Picture Ltd.

Article and image from NELC.

New recycling bins arriving soon

Deliveries of new recycling bins start in North East Lincolnshire this week.

North East Lincolnshire Council wrote to all households in the area last week to let them know about their new recycling bins.

Copies of the letter are on the recycling bins page of the Council website at www.nelincs.gov.uk/rubbish-and-recycling/new-recycling-bins/.

The first bins are due to be delivered from Tuesday 28 July in Scartho.

Householders can now check their delivery date on the website at www.nelincs.gov.uk/rubbish-and-recycling/new-recycling-bins/.

All households will receive an instructional leaflet with their new bins. Copies of the leaflet are also on the recycling bins page on the council website.

A specialist delivery company is delivering bins and leaflets to about 4,000 homes per week between the end of July and late Autumn.

About 150,000 new bins will arrive at homes in the area during the next few months.

What to do with your new bins

The new bins replace existing recycling boxes. Households are being told to start using the bins as soon as they arrive.

Mark your bin with your house number and make a note of the unique reference number on the side of the bins, so you know which is yours.

Collection days will remain the same for most homes until early 2021.

There are no changes to collections for household waste, garden waste or collections from communal bins.

The Council is writing to about 2,000 properties without a front garden, where the main access for the bins is via an alleyway, to look at other options available to them.

Cllr Stewart Swinburn, portfolio holder for Environment and Transport at North East Lincolnshire Council, said:

“We’re making it easier for people to recycle more and waste less with these new bins.
“It’s part of a massive transformation for recycling in North East Lincolnshire.
“Bins are being delivered one round at a time and we aim to have them all out before the busy Christmas holiday.”

Sign up for email updates about waste and recycling at www.nelincs.gov.uk/BinUpdates.

Bin sizes

The new recycling bins are 240 litres, the same size as the standard green bins for household waste.

Each bin is 58cm wide by 70cm deep by 104cm high. Three bins together are 174cm wide by 70cm deep by 104cm in height.

The Council has chosen a standardised option that works for most households and its collection crews.

Two 240 litre bins for recycling, collected four weekly, had the highest number of people who said they strongly support it during the waste strategy consultation, which ended in January.

More details at nelincs.gov.uk/bins

Article and image from NELC.

Council projects shortlisted for national awards

Three projects launched by North East Lincolnshire Council are in the running for one the public sector’s top accolades after being shortlisted for the MJ Local Government Authority Achievement Awards this year.

The three projects represent some of the high-performing, innovative work the Council has done that offers long-term benefits to the whole community.

The Community Assets Transfer (CAT) scheme allows Development Trusts, Community Interest Companies and social enterprises to manage underutilised buildings under long-term rentals below market value to stimulate social, economic and environmental strength.

Each CAT means enterprises have a space to operate, the public can enjoy a more varied offer of activities and disused buildings are given a new lease of life. Examples of the CATs so far include Grimsby Ice Rink, Former Clee Youth centre to Fusion Boxing, Sussex Recreation Pavilion, Former Trin Youth Centre to Trinity Boxing Academy, and the Knoll.

Another contender is the mitigation site developed as part of the South Humber Industrial Investment Programme. This is a unique approach to secure “mitigation sites” for protected birds before the start of industrial development in the area, and means that potential developers have this already in place before they start work, saving time and money.

Natural England believe this is the first example in the UK where bird habitat has been specifically created and managed in advance of predicted impacts from developments.

The ground-breaking project has already won national plaudits from the Royal Town and Planning Institute earlier this year, and is another great example of forward-thinking projects taking place that are making a long-term impact on the future of our borough.

The third entry puts people at the heart of decision making about health and adult social care services and the way those services are planned and designed. It is the Union between North East Lincolnshire Council and NHS North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Through the Union, local people get improved access to the advice, information and support  they need to enjoy a good quality of life, recover from ill health as close to home as possible and remain independent for as long as possible.

Chief executive of North East Lincolnshire Council and the CCG, Rob Walsh, said: “It’s brilliant that the great work the Council’s and CCG’s workforce does is being recognised by being shortlisted for these awards. I understand that there was fierce competition this year, so to have not one, or two, but three projects shortlisted is a huge achievement in itself.”

Councillor Philip Jackson, Leader at North East Lincolnshire Council said: “These projects are just a few examples of the brilliant work done at the Council and CCG. They have already proved their worth by creating a stronger community and offering new opportunities for work and leisure for the public, a stronger economy, saving the Council significant amounts of money, creating a better harmony between industry, development and our priceless natural environment and simply forging a better borough for all.

“To have their success highlighted with an award would crystallise the achievement made by everyone who has contributed to the work and everyone who has benefitted from it.”

The awards will now go to final judging later in the year.

Article and image from NELC.

Road safety improvements to take place

Improving road safety for school children is a priority as improvement works are carried out at various locations.

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Future High Streets Fund bid approved for submission

Councillors have today (15 July) approved the submission of a major bid to Government for £25m of funding to help regenerate Grimsby town centre.

As previously reported, the proposals have been worked up jointly by the Council and the owners of Freshney Place, supported by a range of specialists with experience of the retail and leisure sectors to ensure any future scheme addresses the challenges being faced by town centres across the country.

The government has created the Future High Streets Fund with the objective to renew and reshape town centres and high streets to improve visitor experience, drive growth and ensure future sustainability.

If successful, the partners have impressive plans to put the heart and soul back into Grimsby Town Centre with a new cinema, and food and beverage offers – together with a redeveloped market hall and new public square. The vision is to develop an evening economy for the town, increase leisure activities and draw in more visitors with a better experience for the whole community.

In identifying the site for investment, extensive research was undertaken which examined areas that could be improved with investment to generate transformational change, which is a key requirement for securing the grant monies.

The location proposed comprises the western side of Victoria Street, incorporating the former BHS building, Flottergate Mall, Grimsby Top Town Market and Old Market Square. Having considered the emerging Grimsby masterplan work, the built environment, the current uses and redundant buildings, this site was selected as the prime area for regeneration as required by the Government fund.

The wholescale transformational offer has been put together to deliver real change for Grimsby – helping the town adapt to changing visitor needs and requirements and making it a place for everyone to come together and enjoy.

Cllr Philip Jackson, Leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “Pulling this bid together is a monumental piece of work, and I’d like to thank everyone involved for the work put in so far. The vision for the town centre is really exciting, and really complements the work on the ground at the moment at St James’ Square and Garth Lane.

“We want to take everyone with us as we progress this plan. Change is not just desirable to recreate our town centre, it is vital and this is Grimsby’s biggest and best chance to look at what is really required to create a new future and support wider local economic recovery. We are also grateful for the support of the Greater Grimsby Board in putting this bid forward.”

The final bid will be submitted to Government at the end of July, and successful bids are expected to be announced in the autumn.

Article and image from NELC.

Have your view on Grimsby’s future

GRIMSBY Town Centre is being offered another multi-million-pound opportunity to re-invent itself – but to have a chance of success it needs you!

Central Government monies totalling £25m have been ‘ring-fenced’ for projects in Grimsby’s central area as the next stage of the ‘Town Deal’ gathers pace. As reported, Grimsby is one of 101 urban areas across the country to be part of an expanded national Towns Fund programme.

North East Lincolnshire Council is creating a ‘Great Grimsby Masterplan and Investment Plan’ for the area, which will outline regeneration projects that need these funds and which residents and businesses want to see developed over the next five years.  It is separate to the bid that will be submitted later this month for £25m from the Future High Streets Fund, (FHSF), details of which were released a few weeks ago.

To succeed, the Masterplan and Investment Plan needs buy-in, input and support from people who live, work and spend their spare time locally. Their views will help to shape it into a vision for town centre transformation.

Announcing the new fund, the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government Simon Clarke MP, made it clear that communities, businesses and local leaders needed to work together to draw up such plans. He said they should aim to ‘transform economic growth prospects with a focus on improved transport, broadband connectivity, skills and culture’.

From Wednesday, July 15 until July 22, people are asked to go online at https://virtualengage.arup.com/grimsby-town-centre/ where they will find a virtual presentation, explaining everything they need to know about the Masterplan’s creation and how they can help, with the survey to complete. All respondents will be put into a draw with four £25 Top Town Market shopping vouchers to be won.

Key organisations around the town will also be contacted and posters will be appearing in community centres and public spaces to promote the consultation, with email and contact details for those who don’t have online access but want to be involved.

“There is now a real momentum around peoples’ desire for change and a determination to see the successful completion of our on-going projects whilst we seek to win new money for the transformation of our town centre areas,”  said North East Lincolnshire Council leader Cllr Philip Jackson.

“What we now need is the people of this town to unite with us – get involved, tell us what you think and share your ideas with us,” he added.

The Masterplan focuses on the entire town centre, from Alexandra Dock in the north, to Wellowgate in the south, and from Cartergate in the west to King Edward Street in the east. There are three key areas within this large central stretch that are identified, which are the Riverhead including Garth Lane, St James’ and Alexandra dockside.

With several successful grants already won in recent years, work is already underway in areas such as St James’ Square and Garth Lane and further development of these areas will be included. The future restoration of Corporation Road Bridge and the joint council and Freshney Place bid to the Future High Streets Fund, although separate, will also be incorporated.

Ideas the consultation is seeking views on include:

  • Exploring a range of different uses for the town centre such as more cafes, restaurants, leisure attractions, business space and new homes. Attracting people of all ages to visit the town centre during the day and evening;
  • Aspirations for new homes to be built to create town centre living;
  • Better use of the waterfront for recreation and leisure;
  • A new Riverhead Square creating more green open space where everyone can enjoy the surroundings and feel safe;
  • Better facilities for people who use the buses and for those who walk and cycle;
  • A new use for St James’ House.

For more information please email consultation@nelincs.gov.uk or phone 01472 324602. The consultation is also available in hard copy format – please contact us if you would like a copy sending to you.

Article and image from NELC.

Toll Bar roundabout project update

Major works to improve safety and traffic flow at Toll Bar roundabout are due to start on schedule this month.

Contractors will move on site from Monday 20 July, with the project starting on the highway a week later.

The roundabout is being retained with improvements and widening to entry and exit roads, helping traffic flow through the junction more efficiently.

Cabinet member for transport and the environment, Cllr Stewart Swinburn, announced CR Reynolds – who recently completed the extensive works on the A18 Barton Street ahead of schedule – had been appointed main contractor.

“A huge amount of planning has gone into ensuring the scheme runs as smoothly as possible,” Cllr Swinburn said. “We are really sensitive to the inevitable disruption and inconvenience but officers from the council and ENGIE are working with the contractors to ensure this is kept to a minimum.”

To that end, he said, the schedule of works will keep the roundabout largely open throughout the project, without the need for four-way traffic signals. The four ‘splitter’ islands on the entry points to the roundabout will be removed in the project’s first week to enable this to happen.

Opinions have already been sought from several Parish Councils and residents in the immediate vicinity of the works on a preferred way of undertaking this initial, intensive piece of work. A major letter drop to the surrounding area has also taken place to advise residents and businesses of the works.

As a result of the engagement, during the first four days of the project (from 27 July), Station Road, east and west of the roundabout, will be closed in the daytime between 7.30am – 7pm. The A16 north and south will be subject of a two-way traffic signal over these four days.

Cllr Swinburn said: “This option will allow contractors to make quicker progress than would have been possible by night-time closures or four-way traffic lights. With the splitter islands removed, the contractors will have more space at the edges of the carriageway to undertake the remainder of the project, while leaving enough room to keep all entries and exits to the roundabout open without the need for traffic signals or diversionary routes.

“In every decision taken, the safety of roads users and contractors has been a priority. We hope residents can see we have taken into consideration a lot of factors and worked with key stakeholders, including Tollbar Academy. We thank everybody for their valued contributions.”

CR Reynolds has appointed a public liaison officer, Chris Butts, for the duration of the project for any concerns relating to its operations. The scheme is scheduled to be completed within six months with the hope it can be completed sooner. Chris will be available during normal office working hours, Monday – Friday on 07779 431 127, from Monday 20 July 2020.

Specific issues regarding the project can be raised by contacting the delivery team by email at Tollbarjunction@nelincs.gov.uk or write to Toll Bar Junction Improvements Engagement Team, New Oxford House, George Street, Grimsby, DN31 1HB.

Article and images from NELC.