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Words: Melanie Burton
Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the July 2015 issue

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Scunthorpe has long been regarded as one of Lincolnshire’s major industrial towns but much work is being done to shrug off that label and turn it into not only a great place to visit but to set up home as well.

Already plans are well advanced for an exciting mix of new homes and a new commercial park comprising a range of business and leisure activities.

The Lincolnshire Lakes development will see between 3,000 and 3,500 homes in a series of attractive villages, with high quality local amenities and sustainable design.

In addition to indoor leisure opportunities within the commercial park, the Lincolnshire Lakes development is also intending to provide a range of outdoor activities creating a new destination in North Lincolnshire and a unique place where families can enjoy a range of sports and open-air pursuits.

This project will create a number of high quality, sustainable village communities on land between the western edge of Scunthorpe and the River Trent, set within an attractive waterside environment with major opportunities for leisure, sport and recreation. 

Scunthorpe is already a regional shopping centre within North Lincolnshire, with the town centre serving a catchment area of more than 162,000 people and no other rival facilities for more than twenty-five miles in any direction.

Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, Councillor Liz Redfern, said the priority for North Lincolnshire Council was regeneration, job opportunities, wealth creation and support for businesses to expand and relocate to the area.

“It is important that we really focus on that,” she said. “It is important that our young people have real chances. It is about bringing into Scunthorpe as many people as possible.”

The town has two well-established town centre shopping malls and a new retail park which is attracting top named chains to the area.

The Foundry shopping centre was constructed in the late 1960s/early 1970s during a wholesale reconstruction of the old town. It now has more than forty stores on the High Street and in the attractive, covered Southgate.

Just a few metres away from the bus station and a ten-minute walk from the train station, the centre has a selection of traditional High Street shops and a mouthwatering choice of eateries, both familiar and independent.

Centre manager David Aunins took over eight months ago and has plenty of ideas for the centre.

“It is a nice little challenge for me to have the Foundry,” he said. “Scunthorpe has a lot to offer. There are a lot of things happening in the area and as word gets around that will interest a lot of retailers.

“Lincolnshire Lakes is a long-term development and is the type of place to attract people to the area. That can only be good.”

David has already introduced new initiatives to drive footfall into the centre including a £10,000 safe-cracker event giving shoppers the chance to win £10,000.

“The centre wasn’t open until 8am but people were queuing from 4am,” said David. We also held a golden balloon event where we released 200 balloons in Southgate Mall. All had a prize inside which included vouchers to be spent in stores and one had a golden ticket in it to win a weekend away. It attracted a couple of hundred people to the centre who visited the stores afterwards.”

David’s background is in retail and he is very passionate about promoting town centre retail.

“We are pulling together a town centre business forum which aims to look after the business needs of Scunthorpe,” he said. “The forum will emphasise the opportunities for businesses to influence the council going forward.

The other shopping centre in town is the Parishes which was built during, and for, the twenty-first century on the site of the town’s old bus station.

Packed with many well-known retailers and niche shops, it is modern, sleek and busy. There is ample car parking and a variety of transportation into the area. With splendid facilities, wheelchair access and food and drink establishments for shoppers needing a break, the Parishes is a one-stop destination when visiting Scunthorpe.

Scunthorpe is not just about retail though and its long links with industry are still going strong.

Tata Steel is the second largest steelmaker in Europe and Scunthorpe is home to its Long Products UK Hub.

Steel made in Scunthorpe has been used in a wide range of applications, from the construction of the Petronas Towers in Malaysia and the T’sing Ma bridge in Hong Kong to simple everyday objects such as paperclips and light bulbs. Closer to home, it has been used in applications such as the new Wembley stadium, the Humber Bridge and Heathrow Terminal 5.

It recently won the Lincolnshire Environmental ‘Best Business Award’ and ‘Overall Award’ for its site greening project which aims to improve the impacts of wind-blown dust on the local air quality.

Principal scientist for environmental technology, Phil Togwell said: “The project took two years to implement and 154,000 trees have been planted, helping to remove gaseous air pollution such as ozone, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.

“The ‘Greening’ of the Tata Steel Scunthorpe site has been happening over the last decade through roadside grassing and landscape maintenance,” said Phil. “I am delighted that we have been recognised for our efforts.”

Tata Steel is not the only long established award-winning company in Scunthorpe.

One of the region’s leading privately owned building companies, Clugston Construction, which is currently involved in the construction of the iconic energy recovery facility in Leeds, has been recognised for its continued dedication to improving health and safety in the workplace by winning three prestigious Health and Safety Awards.

The first was awarded at the Chartered Institute of Builders (CIOB), Committed to Construction in Humber and West Yorkshire Awards (CCIHWY) 2015 where Clugston was named winner of the ‘Committed to Health and Safety’ category at the event, which celebrates best practice, achievements and innovation by the region’s construction community.

The second award, an International Safety Award from the British Safety Council, was awarded with merit in recognition of the company’s commitment to keeping workers and workplaces healthy and safe.
it was also a winner in the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Occupational Health and Safety Awards 2015.

Mark Atkinson, Clugston’s health and safety manager said: “It is an area we will never compromise on and one where we intend to continue investing time and money to ensure everyone who works for us, or is affected by our work, goes home safe and sound.”

A new venture in the Scunthorpe area is Raventhorpe solar energy park, constructed by renewable energy company Kinetica Solar Ltd.

Construction of the project took place over three months and the site, which was energised in March, will provide Tata Steel in Scunthorpe with some of the renewable energy it produces.

Charlie Young, senior project manager at Kinetica Solar said: “It has been great to work in an area so committed to making the generation of clean, renewable energy a reality, and we look forward to the project benefiting the area for years to come.”

Scunthorpe will also play a big part in producing the skilled engineers of the future when the Humber UTC opens in September with 600 students aged 14 to 18. It will specialise in engineering and renewables.

The aim of the school is to build an engineering workforce for the future to aid the local and national economy. Local employers partners from a range of industries will also offer some apprenticeships to successful students

“The UTC is really important because it is for 14 to 18 year olds and it is linked to Hull University,” said Council Leader, Councillor Liz Redfern. “We are really short on engineers and we want to focus on getting girls involved.”

THE BATHS HALL
Not only has Scunthorpe plenty to offer in terms of retail, business opportunities and industry, it also has much to offer by way of entertainment and leisure.

The Plowright Theatre and its sister venue The Baths Hall have been graced by the presence of a number of hugely famous acts. They include the Hollywood actor and popular comedian Lee Evans, blasts from the past the Bay City Rollers and Showaddywaddy, as well as comedy genius Jethro and one of the country’s best-loved and most popular comedians Paddy McGuinness – who has announced a brand new UK tour for 2015 and 2016.

One of the highlights this year at The Baths Hall is the highest-profile snooker game ever to take place in the region, when snooker legends the Rocket Ronnie O’ Sullivan and the Whirlwind Jimmy White go head to head on 26th September. Sponsored by local company the Clugston Group, the event is bound to go down a storm.

Ronnie is one of the most popular and most successful snooker players in history, having won multiple world championships, Masters titles as well as UK championships while Jimmy White has won twenty-three titles during his career and is a six-time world championship finalist.

Ronnie said: “I always enjoy legends nights, it’s great to see everyone who supports me and to put on a show with Jimmy.”

Jimmy said: “There is always a buzz whenever Ronnie is in town. Last year in Scunthorpe we sold out without Ronnie, this year people better get in quick. We could sell this one three times over!”

Clugston Group chief executive, Stephen Martin said: “Clugston is delighted to demonstrate its continued commitment to our local community by sponsoring the highest profile snooker event ever to take place in the region. This match between two true legends of the game is one not to be missed and a real coup for The Baths Hall and the people of Scunthorpe.”

Another big name to appear at The Baths Hall this year is legendary entertainer Joe Longthorne who will visit the venue on Friday 16th October.

Joe began his career over three decades ago but his big break came in 1981 when he was a finalist on London Weekend Television’s Search for a Star, which led to appearances at the London Palladium with Bob Hope and The Talk of the Town.

Joe has received gold and platinum discs for his albums and enjoyed sell-out concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, as well as touring Australia several times.

And just in time for Halloween is the full Singalong treatment of the campest cult classic film of all time – The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which is to be shown at The Baths on Friday 30th October.

The fun-filled show starts with a vocal warm-up led by the evening’s host, who also takes the audience through their complimentary ‘Magic Moments Fun Pack’, containing various props to be used at strategic points throughout the film.

This is followed by a fancy-dress competition in which everyone in costume is invited onto the stage to show off their imaginative creations.

HUMBER UTC WELCOMES STUDENTS
There is much work being done behind the scenes to give Scunthorpe a new persona and a driving force in that is leader of North Lincolnhshire Council, Councillor Liz Redfern. She holds a special responsibility for regeneration in the area and says that is a priority for North Lincolnshire Council.

“It is important that we really focus on regeneration, job opportunities, wealth creation and support for businesses to expand and relocate to the area,” she said. “It is important that our young people have real chances and real opportunities.”

Mrs Redfern lives in Epworth and has been a member of the council since it was inaugurated. She is also leader of the Conservative group on the council and represents Axholme Central ward.

In addition to that, Mrs Redfern is also a councillor on Belton Parish Council and Epworth Town Council, and is a school governor for Belton All Saints Primary School.

She has had lots of proud moments while she has been on the council. “To be elected as a member to represent people in my ward is a privilege and I want to continue to work very hard at doing that,” she said. “You have to listen to people’s views and that is really important.”

There has been lots of growth and regeneration in Scunthorpe over the past year and there is plenty more on the horizon with the Humber UTC opening in September specialising in engineering and renewables, the new Lincolnshire Lakes development progressing well and the new retail park finally up and running and attracting top name stores to the town.

“The UTC is really important because it is specialising in engineering and renewables and is for 600 students aged from 14 to 19 years old,” said Mrs Redfern. “We are really short on engineers so we also want to get the girls involved and show them engineering is an interesting job not a dirty one.”

There are also new plans for the town itself as well.

“Obviously we are developing the town centre and we are looking at improving and expanding the 20-21 arts and culture building so we can have more exhibitions to entice people to come to the town centre,” explained Mrs Redfern.

“There is going to be a multi-million pound office accommodation block bringing 320 office staff into the town centre and we are also looking to develop a student campus with accommodation, an internet cafe and shops to add something different to the town centre other than shopping.

“It is all about bringing as many people into Scunthorpe as possible. We want to be ahead of the game. That is my vision.”

SCUNTHORPE B&B NAMED AA FUNKIEST B&B OF THE YEAR 2015
The AA has named San Pietro in Scunthorpe AA Funkiest B&B of the Year 2015. Owners, Pietro and Michelle Catalano received the coveted title at the AA’s Bed and Breakfast Awards held recently at the Landmark London Hotel.

The AA inspect and rate over 2,300 B&Bs throughout the country and the annual B&B Awards recognises and rewards the excellent services provided by the UK’s very best B&B establishments. All the winners at the event are
nominated by the team of expert AA Inspectors.

San Pietro is an 80 cover Mediterranean inspired fine dining restaurant with 14 luxury boutique bedrooms and a function room located in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire. The restaurant opened in 2003 and has been a resounding success, consistently winning many local and regional awards and competitions and shortlisted in Gordon Ramsay’s best restaurant series. They are proud to be the only restaurant in Scunthorpe to be listed in the Michelin guide and the only one to hold 2AA rosettes. In July 2013 work commenced on refurbishing the windmill barn and building 14 bedrooms. The inspiration was modern Italian design mixed with the character of classics and luxury touches for guests to enjoy 2014.

Pietro Catalano said of the award: “We are absolutely thrilled to be named the AA Funkiest B&B, we are so passionate about what we have created and this accolade is a fantastic reward for the whole team, who have all made a tremendous effort to turn our dream for San Pietro into a reality. We are so proud to be putting Scunthorpe on the ‘AA’ map.”

OAKWOOD COMMERCIALS
Oakwood Commercials Ltd are independent commercial vehicle dealers specialising in Pre-Owned Mercedes-Benz vans ranging from the Vito van through to the five-tonne Sprinter van.

Established in 2006 Oakwood Commercials Ltd has evolved along with the ever-changing demands of the modern van buyer; it’s no longer just a box for delivering your products or services, it’s a statement about your business, and having recently moved to larger indoor premises in Midland Road, Scunthorpe Oakwood can now allow all new and existing customers to view their next van in a new undercover showroom – out of the way of the ever-changing British weather!

Oakwood Commercials can accommodate just about all of the modern van owner’s needs in personalising their new vehicle, including fitting alloys, tow bars, parking sensors, cameras, chrome sidebars, roof bars, window tinting, security and ply-lining. In fact, the list is endless!

If you need something a little more specialist, like a minibus conversion, fridge, dropside or a tipper, then Oakwood can arrange this too, working in partnership with local professional vehicle bodybuilders.

All of Oakwood’s vans are handpicked from good reputable homes, are generally under six years old, with service history and are HPi checked. They also undergo a full Multi-point Inspection/service prior to delivery if needed. Any known defects are rectified beforehand and all retail vehicles are backed by a comprehensive warranty that’s valid at any VAT registered garage in the UK. Part exchange is welcome, finance can be arranged and settled and most major credit cards are accepted.

And even if you don’t fancy travelling to Oakwood Commercials, they can deliver the vehicle to you, providing it’s in the UK.

Contact Oakwood Commercials on 01724 857699, 07809 622520, or visit them online at www.oakwoodcommercials.co.uk

HORNSBY’S CELEBRATE CENTENARY
An adventure which started just over 100 years ago is continuing at one of Scunthorpe’s long-established businesses.

Hornsby’s Travel, now just called Hornsby’s, was started by father and son Arthur and Joseph Hornsby on a farmyard in Ashby in July 1914 when they bought a charabanc and carried their first passengers from Ashby to the skating rink and music halls of Scunthorpe. The company is still in the same place today, albeit much bigger.

Current managing director, Nick Hornsby said they have just enjoyed a year of nostalgia during which he experienced his most treasured memory.

“We held a nostalgia day to mark our centenary, which included a procession of buses, from vintage to modern day, driving from the depot on Ashby High Road up to Normanby Park,” he said.

“I was quite amazed and quite moved to see people lining the streets with Union Jacks when all the twenty-three classic buses went up Ashby High Street. It was like the Tour de France.

“I was stunned and it was quite an emotional moment for me to think we have played a part in a lot of people’s lives and we are still valued.

“Travelling on a Hornsby’s bus was part of their lives growing up. They had quite an affection for us in the Scunthorpe and Ashby areas. That is my fantastic memory of working here.”

Nick has worked in the business since 1978 and started out as an apprentice mechanic.

“I had a bus driver’s licence at the age of eighteen, which I find terrifying now. It is what you could do in those days. It is difficult for anyone under twenty-five to get a licence now, but I took coaches onto the continent on my own back then at the age of twenty-one.”

Hornsby’s not only provides bus services in and around Scunthorpe and Ashby but also has a day excursions and coach tours side to the business.

“If we were to sit in the middle of Scunthorpe we would see a Hornsby’s bus go past every five minutes. We have twenty-four vehicles out every day working in and around the Scunthorpe area,” said Nick.

Hornsby’s is very much a family business, with Nick’s father Raymond still there in a consultancy role at the age of eighty-five and his daughter Chloe looking after the coach tours and day excursions sections.

“We are making a lot of plans going forward. Even if you have traditional values, you have to work in a modern world of change so we are looking at using social media and networking more.

“We are refreshing our website to make it more user-friendly and we have updated our livery to make us look more joyful.”

Chloe has been with the company for eighteen months and brings experience from working in the car industry.

“It is an advantage that she has come to us not from school but with a lot of experience of dealing with big companies and knowing how they work, so she has been able to refresh the coach tour side of the business,” said Nick.

“Sometimes it is good to bring experience from other industries and larger companies. I bring the work ethic from the shop floor, so the balance works well.”

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