CEO hopes move will be catalyst for more companies to return to town centre

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 29 Nov 2018

THE chief operating officer behind Grimsby’s regeneration partner, Engie, hopes the move to New Oxford House will be a catalyst for more companies to return to the town centre.

Martin Smithurst, who heads up the places and communities division in the north, was speaking at the official opening, following the £1.5 million refurbishment.

It was taken on after law firm Wilkin Chapman vacated the prominent building, for the new Cartergate House, itself delivered by Engie.

Key council figures joined the regeneration partner in welcoming the 180 staff to what is classed as the town’s civic quarter, from Europarc, with a suggestion that the relationship could be further improved thanks to the proximity.

Mr Smithurst said: “There has been some distance between North East Lincolnshire Council and Engie in the past. It is a lot easier to work together if we are closer together and I think this will start to have benefits for us all over the coming years.

“I think it was the right thing to do, and the right thing to do for the town. We have brought 180 people in over the past few months, that is great footfall, people spending money in the town centre and a vibrancy being brought back. I hope this can be a catalyst for more. Up and down the country it is something that is needed, and hopefully in Grimsby this is a catalyst.

Read more: Town centre office population boosted by closer civic partnerships

The team has done a terrific job to bring back a building that was a little bit lifeless. It has been re-energised and that is something the town can be proud of.

“There are modern new offices that stimulate morale and energy.”

NELC staff who work closely with Engie on economy and regeneration projects have also moved in, along with the Smart Energy Greater Lincolnshire Team who are also joining them for the next few years.

As part of the reorganisation, North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group has been welcomed to the Municipal Offices, with Rob Walsh chief executive of both it and NELC.

Phil McConnell, operations director for the local Engie team, said: “It is a really good addition to the town centre, and particularly the civic quarter. It feels like we are getting joined up across the board, which is what we wanted to do.”

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