Bold transformation plans for town

Dining Out

Words by:
Melanie Burton
Featured in:
June 2021

Scunthorpe is set to benefit from a number of financial support schemes introduced by the Government to help communities get back on track after three national lockdowns and 15 months of restrictions.

North Lincolnshire Council’s bold transformation plan for Scunthorpe designed to enable the county town to compete with cities across the UK to attract private sector investment, is to receive funding.

Investments will be focused on creating an advanced manufacturing park with 4 million sq ft of space to attract more world-class engineering firms to the area, further development of the town’s cultural quarter in and around Church Square and progressing work on a health and emergency services hub.

Councillor Rob Waltham, leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said: “These plans have always been about investing in a better future for the people of Scunthorpe and North Lincolnshire.

“We’ve seen a lot of development across the town in the last few years, we’ve had a great deal of support and cash through Covid-19 to keep things going and now this will be an essential part of the recovery and renewal.

“These very serious plans for investment across the next five years will create jobs, they will create even better conditions for growth and make the area a more attractive environment for businesses to invest.

“The end result will be more highly-skilled, well-paid, sustainable jobs in Scunthorpe for the people who live here.”

The advanced manufacturing park, cultural quarter development and emergency services hub projects are to be supported with significant investment in gigabit broadband to help businesses gain a competitive edge.

The development of around 500 new homes in the town and a skills development programme are designed to ensure local people are best placed to take advantage of all the new opportunities.

This latest investment proposal follows £40m of funding that has been invested by the council and Government alongside businesses and educational institutions since 2015 in the town centre – bringing in hundreds of new jobs, providing facilities for more than 1,500 students and unlocking housing and quality public space.

This includes the development of Engineering UTC Northern Lincolnshire, the Ongo Headquarters, St John’s Market, an extension to Church Square House, establishing the University Campus North Lincolnshire (UCNL), housing on West Street and a raft of road improvements.

On top of this, funding was confirmed to support the development of the former market site as part of the Future High Streets Fund and Government cash has been confirmed for the development of the Able Marine Energy Park.

A £1.85 million grant pot aimed at safeguarding local jobs and creating new ones has also been made available by North Lincolnshire Council to the business sector for new start-ups, existing companies looking to diversify and businesses creating new opportunities.

The Covid-19 Recovery Support Programme has been set up as a response to the effects the pandemic has had on jobs and the local economy.

The New Business Start-Up Grant awards up to £1,000 to anyone planning on going self-employed in response to Covid-19, and can be used on things such as marketing and stock acquisition. It is aimed at helping people starting a new venture, going self-employed or businesses in their first 12 months of trading.

A £300,000 Business Diversification Fund is to be shared between visitor economy businesses looking to diversify their existing model to improve sustainability and continue delivery of services. They will receive up to £7,000 for every new job they create and £6,000 for every job that is safeguarded.

The Covid Renew Scheme awards applicants from the business to business sector up to £7,000 for every new job they create. This will help offset jobs lost as a result of Covid-19.
Manufacturing, engineering and logistics businesses in and around Scunthorpe are set to benefit from a wider package of business support and funding worth over £300,000, thanks to a new University of Lincoln growth accelerator programme.

The Productivity Hubs programme is aimed at micro, small and medium-sized businesses that are looking to grow in Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Boston. The scheme is part of a wider Productivity Programme aimed at SMEs across Greater Lincolnshire, will run until June 2023 and has two options: an accelerator programme aimed at advanced engineering and manufacturing businesses in Scunthorpe and 12 hours free business support for any SME in and around the three towns.

The first eight-week, part-time programme starts this month at the North Lincolnshire University Campus in Scunthorpe, with a further nine programmes planned from September 2021 onwards.

Businesses taking part in the programme will have access to the University of Lincoln’s world-leading research, innovations and network of contacts. They will also be able to apply for a seed fund grant of up to £10,000 to help grow the business.

Rebecca Webster, the programme lead, said: “Part of the University’s remit is to drive productivity and growth in Greater Lincolnshire, and we believe that there are real growth opportunities in these three towns, in particular in the logistics and manufacturing sectors. The Business Accelerator programme is there to support ambitious entrepreneurs in these sectors that are looking to accelerate the growth of their businesses.

“Our Business Development programme on the other hand is designed to help any SME in any sector in Scunthorpe, including start-ups, that are looking to grow and to increase productivity and profitability.”

The programme is the latest boost for local businesses and comes as North Lincolnshire Council has delivered grant schemes totalling more than £44m to more than 1,000 companies, protecting the economy and supporting local businesses through the pandemic.

The Accelerator programme is organised by the University of Lincoln and funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Businesses have also been given access to improved gigabit-capable broadband speeds as Scunthorpe becomes the latest ‘Faster Britain’ full fibre network.

Work by alternative network provider ITS Technology Group to meet the demand for fast internet connections by the local business community was completed by mid-March and the network runs from Scunthorpe Post Office through the town centre and out towards Foxhills Industrial Estate.

Councillor Waltham said: “There is no doubt that fibre networks are the future of modern economies and this new investment will help the whole of North Lincolnshire in its economic growth.

“This also shows a confidence in North Lincolnshire as a place to invest – a competitive marketplace is a good market place, North Lincolnshire is attracting companies from across the UK and further afield.”
It is hoped that this is the start of a much wider network in the region.

Daren Baythorpe, CEO of ITS, said: “Being part of our programme ensures that Scunthorpe exceeds the Government’s goals for everyone in the UK to have access to gigabit-capable connectivity by 2025.

“The pandemic has highlighted just how vital a fast internet connection is to enable people to continue to keep in touch, particularly when circumstances are keeping us apart. Faster Britain is fixing the problem around gigabit-capable connectivity which isn’t available to everyone.”

O’Brien’s Opticians have launched a brand new Eyewear Styling Service for existing and new patients at their practice in Brigg, near Scunthorpe, after recently training their team as professional eyewear stylists. This individually dedicated consultation service offers patients a unique and bespoke eyewear styling consultation to help them discover the perfect eyewear to suit both their optical and style needs.

Optometrist Dr Janjua recently completed the College of Optometrists’ acclaimed Professional Certificate in Glaucoma and also the Professional Certificate in Low Vision from Cardiff University. He has launched a private Low Vision service using the highest quality Low Vision aids from Germany. The aim of the service is to provide individuals who suffer from reduced vision with a high quality service and products to improve their vision and independence.

Eyewear Styling Consultations are available throughout the week and must be booked in advance.

To book an eye examination with Dr Janjua and subsequent Low Vision assessment with the team please call 01652 653595 or 01652 649024.

Scunthorpe’s cultural offering has received a major boost following the green light being given to ambitious plans for a new leisure complex in the town.

The proposal from Middlesex-based company Rafkins (Scunthorpe) Leisure Park Limited would create more than 100 full-time jobs and see five restaurants and a 120-bedroom hotel being built on the Gallagher Retail Park.

The scheme would also see three shop units and a gym built on disused land near to Scunthorpe United football ground.

The Scunthorpe site, which lies next to the former Frankie and Benny’s restaurant, has a history of similar plans, but this is the first attempt in more than 10 years.

Concerns have been raised about the added volume of traffic in an area which is already congested, particularly on match days.

The plans have been approved by North Lincolnshire Council which in its report said the benefits of the large scheme outweighed other concerns.

‘The development would also result in an improved offer of social and leisure activities in an established visitor location, therefore contributing towards the social and cultural wellbeing of local residents,’ it said.

‘The benefits then of the proposal are clear in socio-economic terms. Environmentally, the land is brownfield and is fairly described as scrubland, although wildlife habitat networks have begun.’

“Over the past 12 months we’ve had to close our showroom doors to the public several times, but in line with Government guidance we were delighted to reopen our showroom doors on 12th April 2021 – for what we hope will be the final time. We’ve missed you!

“Keeping both our customers and staff members safe remains our priority. We have robust safety measures in place so you can browse both our new and used cars and test drive with confidence. You’ll still need to wear a mask when you visit but our knowledgeable sales team are on hand to respond to any questions you may have, or test drives you’d like to book. You can make an appointment by contacting us directly on 01724 735282, or you can visit simply by popping in when it’s convenient for you. We can’t wait to see you!

“Whilst our showrooms are now open, we understand that many of our customers have enjoyed the flexibility of our online showroom which has allowed the opportunity to browse all our new and used cars from the comfort of your own home. This fantastic online facility will continue. We can still show you around any car remotely via a video viewing and answer any questions by telephone or video call. Cars can be reserved online or by telephone and you can then collect your vehicle from the garage, or we can deliver it to your door, ensuring Covid-Safety at all times.

“We have a full range of used and new vehicles to suit every motoring need and some great deals – come and say hello!

“It is Spring SUV Season for our Subaru range with savings of up to £3,000, plus a host of other deals for a limited time only! Find out more about the 5-star safety, go-anywhere capability and rugged reliability that our SUVs are renowned for.

“All our Vehicle Workshops remain fully open and operational with our technical staff performing work which is Covid-Safe. We are open to take new appointments or assist you with any service, MOT, repair or parts query you may have. If you are attending a service, repair or MOT appointment at Richtoy, the current law states that you must wear a face covering unless you are exempt. If you are unable to get to Richtoy Subaru we can provide a Covid-Safe home pick-up and delivery service for your vehicle free of charge.

“We are here to support you and guide you through each step of your journey.”

Contact Richtoy Subaru by phone on 01724 735282 or email to discuss your motoring needs.

Established more than 45 years ago, the experienced team at Fair Gardens pride themselves on offering a wide range of products, furniture, plants and accessories to enhance every home and garden.

This family owned garden centre based in Kirton Lindsey, Gainsborough, is the perfect place to help transform ideas into reality with even more choice this season of expertly home-grown quality plants, including bedding and perennials, together with a selection of pots, accessories, statues and outdoor furniture, including popular modular corner dining sets.

New this season too is a hand-picked range of handsome oak wood indoor furniture and a wide choice of the latest in home accessories.

Take advantage of the free parking and enjoy a visit to the popular on-site Terrace Tea Rooms to sample the variety of home cooked meals, including gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian dishes, as well as a selection of delicious cakes and specialist teas and coffees.

For more information visit

Founded by Paul North, wife Lynn and daughter Stacey, the quaint No.12 Chocolatier shop offers handmade artisan chocolate truffles, chocolate bars, novelty gifts such as chocolate toolkits and many more, as well as a range of giftware, from bespoke plaques to greeting cards, many supplied by local crafters. Owning a small business was purely a dream, starting with a birthday chocolate making course. The family could not imagine back then where they would be today. Since opening in 2018, the Norths have added to their repertoire, introducing mouth-watering chocolate gelato for the summer months and Belgian hot chocolate for when the dark nights set in. Although this last year has been less than ideal, they are excited to continue the journey. If you have not visited yet, see details below. No.12 look forward to welcoming you.

No.12 Chocolatier, 12 High Street, Kirton in Lindsey, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire DN21 4LU, 07723 344721,, Facebook: @No.12Chocolatier, Twitter & Instagram: @No12Chocolatier

As an established independent business specialising in the supply of new and used storage tanks, Neil Vessey can offer fabrication and installation of new steel storage tanks, manufactured at their premises.

Neil Vessey Storage Tanks offers a specialist service to all types of industries throughout the UK and overseas.

Based in North Lincolnshire, the company offers a comprehensive choice of new totally enclosed/fully bunded storage tanks of all sizes and capacities, from 2,500 litres up to 150,000 litres, which are fabricated on site and ideal for storage of diesel and other oil products, as well as leachate and other liquids.

“We also stock a wide choice of quality used storage tanks of all types”, explains Neil Vessey. “We pride ourselves on listening to our customers to ensure we supply exactly what they need and we’re happy to offer advice over the phone.”

For more information visit

2021 is a special year for one of Scunthorpe’s iconic venues and it is well prepared to ensure the milestone doesn’t pass by unnoticed.

The 20-21 Visual Arts Centre reached its 20th anniversary just two days after reopening its doors on 17th May following the UK’s third lockdown. And it marked the event with an out of this world feature to welcome visitors back.

A breathtaking moon sculpture called Museum of the Moon by artist Luke Jerram was the focus of the centre’s opening exhibition.

Measuring six metres in diameter, the impressive, illuminated replica installation of the moon was hung within the atmospheric nave of the Grade II* listed, former church building at 20-21.

It features a fusion of 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface, together with moonlight and a surround sound composition by the BAFTA and Ivor Novello award-winning composer Dan Jones, creating a stunning spectacle.

The arts centre, which has previously hosted high-profile exhibitions from Turner prize-winning artists Antony Gormley and Grayson Perry, has announced an exciting programme of themed exhibitions to celebrate its anniversary.

The unique history of the venue has been showcased in a 20th anniversary ‘The Story of 20-21’ exhibition which features information about previous exhibitions and notable visits, including from Her Majesty the Queen and the late HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, as well as past images and press-cuttings celebrating two decades of creativity in Scunthorpe.

Later in the year, contemporary British artist Dan Rawlings will be marking 20-21’s anniversary with his largest artwork installation to date.

Creative arts manager at North Lincolnshire Council, Michelle Lally, said: “We are extremely proud of our significant history and heritage as a leading contemporary arts venue in North Lincolnshire.

“We have been busy preparing and are ready to begin to our 20th anniversary celebrations.

“As we celebrate our past and look to the future, it is important for us to celebrate all the talented artists, past and present, who have exhibited with us and our dedicated staff that have made the venue what it is today.”

Details of further 20th anniversary exhibitions and events will be announced throughout the year.

20-21 Visual Arts Centre is free for the public to visit. The gallery spaces are Covid-secure and visitor numbers are monitored on entry and throughout visiting hours. The centre also has an onsite shop and café.

The centre is housed in the former church of St John the Evangelist which was completed in 189.

The name 20-21 refers to the project starting in the 20th century (1998) and being completed in the 21st century (May 2001).

A Scunthorpe Park has undergone a major transformation, turning it into an environmentally friendly wildlife haven and a vibrant centre for the whole community.

North Lincolnshire Council has been working with schools, charities and local people to enrich the whole area around Sheffield Park.

The park, a green oasis in the town’s urban heartland, is one of several picturesque open spaces across North Lincolnshire, three of which have been awarded the coveted Green Flag.

Volunteers have been at the heart of the changes at Sheffield Park, helping plant trees, a sensory garden and wildflowers.

The park now boasts the largest wildflower meadow planting of any park in North Lincolnshire, including innovative ‘bee corridors’ to attract pollinating insects.

It is also the first 100 per cent environmentally friendly park in the town.

Recent innovations include the development of a sensory garden in partnership with Lindsey Lodge Hospice, the development of a nature area using planting recommended by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, the installation of art and design features produced by North Lindsey College students and the planting of more than 60 trees.

These works are in addition to earlier improvements on the site including resurfacing, new play equipment, a skate park and a cycling proficiency area.

Future projects include car park resurfacing to develop wheelchair-accessible areas and the installation of wheelchair-friendly play equipment.

The project is part of North Lincolnshire Council’s commitment to the environment, to enable community resilience and keep people safe and well.

“By working with partners across the area and volunteers in the local community, we are committed to improving North Lincolnshire with initiatives that encourage wildflower seeding, tree and hedge planting and community-based environmental initiatives as well as a tough clampdown on litter-picking and fly-tipping,” a council spokesman said.

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