Purchase of Freshney Place shopping center completed

North East Lincolnshire Council’s purchase of Freshney Place is complete.

It comes with a wish from the head of the authority, Cllr Philip Jackson, of the authority’s intention to redevelop the center and the area around it, with plans to provide real mixed use to the urban core of Grimsby.

He also assured the North East Lincolnshire council tax-paying public that due diligence had provided reassurance that the purchase would cost them nothing directly, with a combination of grant and rent covering the associated costs. .

External professionals are now recruited to manage the center on a daily basis, while the town hall continues its medium and long-term reflection on what is necessary to transform the city center.

With a catchment area of ​​over 300,000 and a downtown shopper population of over 170,000 (shoppers who are within a 20 minute drive), Freshney Place continues to play an important role in the North East Lincolnshire and its town centre. It supports 1,700 full-time and part-time jobs, representing one in five jobs in Grimsby town centre.

Despite the downturn in the retail market across the UK, the center is still generating significant rental income and is now an integral part of North East Lincolnshire Council’s plans to diversify its overall central urban supply. The decision to buy, says Council leader Cllr Philip Jackson, is driven by the need to protect a vital asset – preventing it from falling into the hands of owners who may not have considered Grimsby’s transformation as a priority.

“Freshney Place is a huge space in our town centre, and we need to make sure it has a stable future and is owned by those who have Grimsby’s interests at its very heart. Yes, we have to be careful and responsible and I want to assure the people of North East Lincolnshire that this decision was not taken lightly.

“Extensive work has been undertaken to ensure this is well designed and affordable, with no direct financial impact or subsidy required from our local council ratepayers. We have also followed the example of other local authorities, which have succeeded with similar investments.

He added: “What this offers is a unique opportunity. The center will be managed by an experienced and professional company with an independent approach. This will allow us to envision a way forward for the whole center and the city itself. We’re on the cusp of real reinvention here, to diversify and look at different ways to use Freshney Place and its surroundings.

The council’s downtown vision includes:

  • The transformation of a major western arm of Freshney Place: this will include a new cinema, restaurants and a vibrant new Top Town market. The Parkway Entertainment Company has already signed an agreement to operate the cinema. Richard Parkes, Director of Parkway, said: “We look forward to being part of real change in the heart of the city.”
  • A new Horizon OnSide Youth Zone: The national charity is making good progress with its plans to redevelop the historic West Haven Maltings. They will provide opportunities for thousands of young people. Sports, art, music, media, dance, theatre, cooking, employability and business workshops are just some of the activities that will be offered.
  • A LUF file (Upgrading Fund) for a new transport hub in the city center and the electrification of the city’s bus fleet.
  • Work in progress through the Towns Fund to transform Riverhead Square. These plans were released last month.
  • A plan to create modern, green town center housing again on Alexandra Dock with money from the Towns Fund.

The above succeeds work already underway or completed, including millions of pounds of government funds set aside to redevelop Garth Lane and St James Square. The E-Factor is also set to take over the St James House building to create a new business centre.

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