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Words: Melanie Burton
Photography: Mick Fox and Lee Beal
Featured in the March 2013 issue

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Plans are underway to develop a ‘transformational strategy’ that will see Scunthorpe reinforced as a prime location for visitors and investors.

The North Lincolnshire town of Scunthorpe has its roots firmly in the iron and steel industry and its landscape has been dominated by smoking furnaces and large industrial works since the 1800s.

But moves have been made to change the negative external perceptions of the area and transform it into a more attractive place, one which is capable of retaining and attracting spending, investment and skilled and talented people.

North Lincolnshire Council is developing a ‘transformational strategy’ aimed at creating a new urban heart and vibrant town centre by improving and expanding the town centre and utilising the potential for developing a market/cultural quarter in the town.

The largest retail centre in North Lincolnshire, Scunthorpe caters for more than 160,000 people from across the area as well as thousands more from neighbouring communities. 

North Lincolnshire Council is looking to work with developers and investors to create a natural town centre extension and, with the right partners on board, plans to put forward its prime town centre land, which has never previously been available for commercial use.

The plan is that Scunthorpe’s redevelopment will reinforce the town’s role as the area’s main retailing hub and will cater for a growing North Lincolnshire.

Cultural developments in the heart of Scunthorpe could see North Lincolnshire Museum relocated alongside the 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, which itself is located in the beautifully restored Grade II listed St John’s Church.

Exciting new developments are also planned for other parts of the area, which coupled with an increasing population, growing visitor numbers and a strong business economy, will help make Scunthorpe a prime location for town centre investment.

A major urban extension project, known as Lincolnshire Lakes, will be a major economic boost and will see land to the west of Scunthorpe developed, with a mix of 3,500 new homes.

The Lucent Group is behind the scheme. Chief executive officer, Charles Flynn said: “The homes will be developed as a series of attractive villages with high quality, local amenities and sustainable design.

“This will be a huge boost for the local economy. The delivery of 3,500 homes will create an estimated 3,822 jobs in the construction industry alone.

“Road and transport infrastructure improvements will also create a new network of local routes, which will help to unlock the creation of new sustainable neighbourhoods within the whole region and deliver a lasting economic legacy.”

The Lucent Group has employed architects Allies and Morrison, who were part of the design team for the London 2012 Olympic Park, and expects to submit a planning application in the near future. It is anticipated that construction of the first homes will begin during 2014. 

In addition to the new Lincolnshire Lakes development, there is also a proposed £2 million upgrade to sports facilities at the town’s Quibell Park stadium including a new clubhouse, improved athletics track and new pitches.

The community is presently being consulted on the proposals through an online survey which closes on 15th March.

In addition, plans for a new university technical college to be built in Scunthorpe have taken a step forward.

Leading industry, university, college and council representatives for the proposed Renewables and Engineering University Technical College (UTC) visited the Baker Dearing Educational Trust (BDT) at their offices in Millbank, London to discuss the next stage of development and have interviewed the seventeen applicants shortlisted to develop the UTC.

News on whether or not it has been successful in gaining funding is expected by 28th March and the UTC could be open by September 2014.

It will be cater for 14 to 19-year-olds from North Lincolnshire and beyond and will provide GCSE courses in English, Maths and Science combined with a modern foreign language and humanities subject as well as providing practical and technical qualifications which are recognised by employers and universities – specialising in renewables and engineering.

Led by the University of Hull and Able UK Ltd, the UTC is supported by other partner organisations such as North Lincolnshire Council, Tata Steel, North Lindsey College and Clugston.

University of Hull pro-vice chancellor for engagement, Professor Ian Pashby, said: “The UTC will play an important role in providing the skilled workforce needed in order to realise our ambitions of growing the engineering and renewable energy sectors across the region.”

North Lincolnshire Council leader, Councillor Liz Redfern said the UTC would help raise young people’s aspirations and provide them with a choice.

“We are now seeing leading employers working together with people from the education community to develop ways of delivering academic, practical and technical learning that means young people will be ready for work as employers need them to be in the engineering and renewables sector. These are exciting times for young people in North Lincolnshire,” she said.

The town’s entertainment and leisure facilities seem to be playing a major part in attracting visitors to the area, with the new Baths Hall and the Plowright Theatre both hosting big name acts on a regular basis.

The Plowright Theatre and The Baths Hall are live entertainment venues owned by North Lincolnshire Council but managed by SMG Europe, which also runs the Manchester Arena and 200 other venues across the country, as well as the Super Domes in America.

Commissioned by the former Scunthorpe Borough Council, the Plowright Theatre was built in 1958 and is a traditional theatre with approximately 340 seats.

Originally known as Scunthorpe Civic Theatre, it was renamed in recognition of the achievements of local actress, Joan Plowright.

The Baths Hall is the former swimming baths which originally opened in 1931. They were closed in the 1970s and became an entertainment venue featuring acts such as The Kinks, Status Quo, Jasper Carrott, The Levellers and the late DJ John Peel. However, the venue was closed in 2005 and a commitment was made to demolish it and rebuild it.

Although the original 1931 frontage remains, the rest of the 1,800-capacity venue is brand new and opened in November 2011.

Highlights at the Plowright Theatre this month include renowned journalist and cricket sports commentator, Henry Blofeld, the Russian State Dance Ensemble (Cossacks) made up of artists from the ballet, orchestral and choir genres (who have previously performed in the UK, France, Italy, Spain, USA, Japan and Germany) and tribute acts to songwriter Jake Thackray, The Beatles and Celtic rock icon, Phil Lynott and his band Thin Lizzy.

The Baths Hall will play host to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, who will present a celebration of the greatest film music ever written, highly popular comedian, Jimmy Carr and the larger-than-life culinary duo, The Hairy Bikers.

Scunthorpe has always been the hub of the sub-region ever since the first ironworks was opened in the area in 1862 and the local population was a mere 1,500.

Today the town has a population of 77,000 people and is not only the most dominant retail hub in North Lincolnshire but also the most dominant employment hub.

Tata Steel remains the town’s major employer and is very much an integral part of the fabric of Scunthorpe. It is one of the world’s top ten steel producers and is also the second largest producer in Europe.

Steel made in Scunthorpe has been used in a wide range of applications, from the construction of the Petronas Towers in Malaysia and the Tsing Ma bridge in Hong Kong to the new Wembley stadium, the Humber Bridge and Heathrow Terminal 5 closer to home.

IN THE HEART OF SCUNTHORPE
Located off Fenton Street, in the heart of Scunthorpe, The Parishes Shopping Centre is home to many favourite high street names and value stores, as well as some of the town’s most successful independent retailers.

The Parishes has a vibrant array of shops, relaxing eateries and entertainment, with a seven-screen Vue cinema and a choice of cafés, all in one place. There really is something for everyone.

For your fashion needs, head down to BHS, Fallen Hero or Cindy’s Accessories or pop into Home Bargains, Wilkos or the 99p Stores for all your household bits and bobs. If it’s gifts you’re after you’ll be sure to find something special at F Hinds Jewellers.

From frozen foods to outdoor leisure and pursuits, there’s something for all the family at The Parishes.

Look out for our street performers and free events throughout the year to bring a bit of fun to your shopping trip – great for keeping those little ones entertained.

For all of the latest news, offers and pictures, ‘like’ The Parishes on its Facebook page www.facebook.com/theparishes or check out the website www.theparishes.com

MOTHER’S TREAT AT THE FOUNDRY
A shopping centre in Scunthorpe is looking forward to helping families throughout Lincolnshire celebrate Mother’s Day.

The Foundry shopping centre sits in the middle of the High Street between Scunthorpe Market and The Parishes. It’s the only covered shopping street in the town and is home to forty-five retailers who have a fantastic selection of products.

Bringing thousands of people through its centre each week the team are looking to help everyone say a big thank you to their mothers. On Saturday, 9th March 2013 everyone can bring their mum along to the centre to get a family picture taken in its pink photo booth!

Pile in the whole family or just have a one-on-one picture with your mum – you will instantly receive your own printed picture to mark the fun. All the pictures will also be uploaded to the centre’s new Facebook page for you to share with your friends.

Bring your own props and dress to impress as anything goes!

The centre is also running a competition for one lucky shopper to win £150 worth of Mother’s Day gifts.

For details on how to enter the competition and information on The Foundry visit www.thefoundryscunthope.co.uk.

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