Stunning vision for Grimsby Town stadium on Freeman Street unveiled

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 7 Feb 2019

THIS is how a new football stadium could look in the heart of Grimsby’s East Marsh.

The Freemen’s vision, a concept piece focused on the former high rise flats site, features a wide open plaza from the iconic street, with regenerational opportunities for the once proud area clear - including a branded hotel on Riby Square.

It has been produced by Cleethorpes-based Hodson Architects, with Town fan and head of his eponymous practice, Mark Hodson, having worked extensively with the proud property landlords, and neighbouring land-owner Lincolnshire Housing Partnership.

The community stadium forms a central part of a promotional video underlining how it is “time for Freeman Street to change,” screened to an audience for the first time at the Grimsby Renewables Partnership 2019 conference at Humber Royal Hotel yesterday afternoon.

A vision for Freeman Street

Embracing the new industry and diverse make-up of the area, the video narrator describes how “the opportunity is now,” with the proposal to “bring exciting modern housing, offices and retail space and a brand new public park for the whole town ...and the perfect spot for a brand new community stadium”.

“It is time for Freeman Street to change; Freeman Street is once again ready to be part of the heart and soul of or famous town,” she adds.

Already in the process is the demolition of the old House of Holland building, the redundant office block and adjacent buildings at the north end of Freeman Street.

This has been instigated by the Enrolled Freemen, who have previously released artists’ impressions showing the new homes and office accommodation on that area of Freeman Street.

They have already invested significantly in the street’s market and its new Business and Digital Hub, which sits alongside the market.

Read more: Work begins on forging a brighter future for our beloved ‘Freemo’

Current stars Harry Clifton and Elliot Embleton weren’t even born when proposals to move from Blundell Park first emerged from the Grimsby Town FC boardroom.

The ‘Conoco Stadium’ at Great Coates is the closest the club has come so far.

But now, with Grimsby Town Deal in place and regeneration a priority on the back of new industry growing in the town, momentum appears to be blowing back in.

Work continues on the demolition of Freeman Street in Grimsby between Kent Street and Nelson Street (Image: Jon Corken/GrimsbyLive)

However, it is understood there is a further masterplan which may emerge in the coming months, which could mean this is purely another artist’s impression to add to those that have been drawn before it, with the A180 or the A16 Peaks Parkway running alongside.

Read more: Peaks Parkway stadium plans 'off the table' according to council leader

And this week, Councillor Peter Wheatley, the portfolio holder for regeneration suggested other sites could now be on the cards , despite NELC leader Ray Oxby favouring the flats site. 

Chairman of the Enrolled Freemen, Stephen White, said: “Of course we know there is still lots to be decided surrounding the site of the old high-rise blocks, but we wanted to show our vision of how everything would fit together and could work if this longer-term vision was realised.

The type of housing planned for Freeman Street, looking from the rear in Thesiger Street (Image: Hodson Architects)

"It is now up to all the parties and stakeholders working together to look at this, as well as other options. Whatever is decided, this area must achieve true transformational change, and we are taking a big step towards that with what we are already doing.

“It is fantastic to have the platform at this week’s conference to display our vision and passion for the area in front of such an audience,” he added.

'A fantastic opportunity for us all to change the face of the East Marsh forever' - reaction to stadium vision

The Freemen's vision of how the Freeman Street area could be regenerated, including a new community stadium to welcome Grimsby Town and an Ibis Hotel at Riby Square.

A vision for a new community football stadium in the heart of Grimsby has been given support from landowners and council leaders.

The futuristic designs for Freeman Street, which include a hotel, shops, housing and a large football stadium on the site of the former high rise tower blocks, were revealed by The Enrolled Freemen of Grimsby yesterday.

Read more: Regeneration boost as High Court puts Grimsby shopping precinct back in Freemen's hands

Since the biggest demolition job in Grimsby in a generation to flatten the 16-storey tower blocks, there are nine-acres of land available for regeneration.

The site is owned by Lincolnshire Housing Partnership.

The images are a glimpse of what a stadium could look like if the site was chosen as the location.

LHP chief executive, Murray Macdonald confirmed that work was continuing with partners and stakeholders to establish a long-term vision for the area, which was likely to incorporate projects already underway or proposed.

How a new GTFC stadium could look within the Freeman Street regeneration plan (Image: Hodson Architects)

“There is a fantastic opportunity here for us all to change the face of the East Marsh forever, transforming the area for the benefit of the wider North East Lincolnshire community. We must work together to grasp this chance,” added Murray.

Read more: Top Town v Freeman Street: Why their rivalry risks Grimsby retail

North East Lincolnshire Council's portfolio holder for regeneration, Councillor Peter Wheatley said: "Up until now the regeneration of Freeman Street has been in the gift of the Enrolled Freemen of Grimsby and there has been no discussion with the council. They got the land from The Treasury  as it was Crown land. The Freemen had got the land as they had first call on it and bought it back and as such were responsible for clearing it.

"The council, as the planning authority, would only get involved if there was a planning application. It would be great to have a plan to regenerate Freeman Street and the East Marsh. I am all for it, but I do not know what discussions have taken place with the club.

How a new stadium for Grimsby Town could look in Freeman Street, according to the vision of the Freemen(Image: Grimsby Telegraph)

Councillor Wheatley said: "I would like to see  Grimsby Town FC have a new stadium. When you look at other towns like Derby and Middlesborough, a new stadium does help with regeneration. As far as I  can see that is between the club and the landlords. Until that day arrives we keep our fingers crossed and hope funding can be found. One or two stadia have been built with funding from The Football Association and there is funding for clubs which apply for it."

Council leader, Ray Oxby  said in September he wanted to see a "stadium we can all be proud of" on the site of the demolished East Marsh tower blocks.

The Freemen's vision of how the Freeman Street area could be regenerated, including a new community stadium to welcome Grimsby Town and an Ibis Hotel at Riby Square. (Image: Hodson Architects)

He said the  East Marsh  would be the council's focus in the two-decade-long effort to find a new home for Grimsby Town FC and the nine-acre site was "the best location."

The Leader said: "There's a huge momentum, passion and commitment, for this site. Let's use that energy to make it happen."   

Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers said: "I'm delighted talk now seems to be focused on the East Marsh area where a new stadium would be a fantastic asset and a real boost to regenerate a rundown area."

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