Chamber backing for Grimsby Town Deal as council leaders update on progress

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 9 May 2018

The leader and chief executive of North East Lincolnshire Council have told business leaders about their exciting plans for a Grimsby Town Deal, ahead of anticipated late spring announcements.

Cllr Ray Oxby said that after the Lincolnshire devolution deal failed, authority bosses realised that the town had to raise its profile and be seen in Government as fresh-thinking and progressive, so he and Rob Walsh decided to "reboot the momentum" on regeneration with the formation of a Greater Grimsby Regeneration Board.

He said it was all about partnerships and that he hoped that by the end of May or early June the package of measures will be agreed with HM Treasury and then announced.

It was given unanimous backing by the Chamber. Chief executive Dr Ian Kelly said: “The Chamber strongly welcomes and supports this kind of regeneration proposal that is taking shape in Grimsby. It is highly ambitious for the town and the surrounding areas.”

The leader, who saw Labour narrowly hold on to its position as the largest party in last week's election, explained how senior political and business figures had backed the plans to regenerate important parts of Grimsby, including leading businessman and philanthropist David Ross, MPs Melanie Onn and Martin Vickers, along with Associated British Ports, Lord Bob Kerslake, and Lord Norman Lamont.

At the Chamber presentation, held ahead of the polls, the two local authority leaders were keen to point out that when the Government’s Industrial Strategy was published, North East Lincolnshire was not only in it, but the only local authority to be mentioned in the document.

It is estimated that the town deal bid for £36.9-million from the Treasury could have a multiplier impact on the local economy to the value of £216-million creating 7,700 new homes and 5,000 extra jobs. The plans would help to create a strong waterfront culture, with the historic Kasbah area on Grimsby Docks having been declared a conservation site of significant interest by Historic England.

Cllr Oxby told how the council has a good relationship with key Whitehall civil servants and are currently having constructive talks with them and they also have the backing of Secretaries of State Greg Clark (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) and Sajid Javid (now Home Secretary but previously Communities and Local Government) with Mr Clark being a particularly passionate advocate of the Humber, having signed the City Region deal and fostered LEP development.

“This is the moment to make this happen,” Cllr Oxby noted. “It’s a once in a generation opportunity to make this happen and bring vital new jobs and housing to the town."

Read more: Boost for £36m town deal as ministers commit to exploring Grimsby pilot

Mr Walsh said the Town Deal will be the first of its kind in the country. “The council’s portfolio of programmes and activities in this area is being overseen, challenged and supported by the Greater Grimsby Regeneration Board. It is chaired by a successful entrepreneur in David Ross, whose major Grimsby family connection goes back decades. Other notable members include Lord Kerslake, Lord Lamont, the chairs of both local LEPs, Historic England, both local MPs and Orsted managing director Matthew Wright, all of whom bring enormous experience to the table."

Prior to the meeting starting, Hull & Humber Chamber of Commerce’s North East Lincolnshire Area Council welcomed Mark Warburton as its new chair.

His predecessor, Kevin Hopper, partner at Forrester Boyd, handed over the chain of office, thanking the Chamber’s northern Lincolnshire manager, Anne Tate, for her support and guidance during his time as chair.

Kevin Hopper, left, and Mark Warburton. 

Mr Warburton, who has always worked and lived in the Humber region, thanked Kevin for “his excellent work during his time in the role” and said he was looking forward to his year of office.

Mark, whose mother was from Grimsby, was born in northern Lincolnshire, now represents several companies. A lawyer by profession, he said: “In the context of the plans for Greater Grimsby and the depth and breadth of the trading activities in the area, we have a great opportunity in North East Lincolnshire to build on these significant commercial opportunities and I would hope as chair of the Chamber’s North East Lincolnshire Area Council to positively influence these prospects.”

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