Work is set to begin this month at Riverhead Square as part of a major project to transform central Grimsby.
Benefitting from the early release of a £1m ‘Accelerated Towns Fund’ grant from Central Government, plans are in place to begin preparatory work on what is set to be a wholescale revamp.
The initial work will begin within the next few weeks as detailed plans are finalised for the rest of the square.
This first phase will focus upon the area around the waterside and near the Post Office with repaving to match that already laid as part of the on-going Garth Lane project.
New railings and seating will feature too.
There will be some restricted pedestrian access in the affected areas during repaving, with footpath diversions marked and advance notice given.
Access to businesses, including Freshney Place, will be maintained at all times.
Vandal-proof lighting will be ordered for the whole of the Square with electric points incorporated into the columns for use during events or outdoor markets, and tree pits will also be prepared for new landscaping, with decorative grills ordered.
The remaining fund will be used to prepare for the second phase with elements examined including improvements to the water quality and the possible installation of a bridge linking the square to the leisure units opposite.
The initial work will then fold into the start of the major redesign, which will take place when Government approves the release of monies from Grimsby’s £25m Stronger Towns Fund pot – ‘ringfenced’ for projects in the town, which is expected to happen later this year.
North East Lincolnshire Council carried out an extensive public consultation exercise last summer, after which seven urban projects were put onto a priority list submitted to Government to spend the £25m.
The first to come forward is the re-modelled Riverhead Square, with its new design reflecting peoples’ views.
These included a desire to see a new public square to bring the community together with events and activities – the town centre’s ‘heart’, which makes more of its waterfront.
Public consultation comments included: “We would like to see more green spaces and places to relax” and: “I love the idea of creating nice social space around the water. Another said: “Reuse the old buildings to make them look new and full of life again”.
Lying within Grimsby’s Heritage Action Zone, (HAZ), the Square is a focus for cultural development alongside the adjoining Garth Lane area where work is to complete in the spring as is the transformation of St James’ Square.
The work is being managed by ENGIE, the regeneration partner of North East Lincolnshire Council.
North East Lincolnshire Cabinet member for Economic Growth, Housing and Tourism Cllr Callum Procter, said: “There is no doubt of the need for town centres across the country to look at re-invention as our shopping patterns have shifted dramatically.
“In Grimsby, we have had a head start with the various projects around the town due to complete soon.
“This last year has been hard for everyone, and as we head towards lockdown being relaxed in the coming months, I look forward to seeing people enjoy the new spaces around the Minster and the waterfront too.”