Reaping rewards of renewables

Dining Out

Words by:
Melanie Burton
Featured in:
March 2015

Exciting times are in the pipeline for the north east Lincolnshire towns of Grimsby and Cleethorpes with investment, major regeneration projects and the continued success of the offshore renewables industry.
Businesses in the area look set to enjoy an upturn in fortunes, with improvements to its infrastructure, major international events taking place and new developments aimed at attracting more tourists to the area.

Hull & Humber Chamber of Commerce Northern Lincolnshire manager, Anne Tate, said the feeling around the town was positive.

“At the Chamber’s recent networking event, attendance was back to pre-recession figures. We had about eighty on the speed networking session and seventy more for the lunch,” she said.

“It was the busiest we have been for some time, although insolvencies are slightly up. But that is usually a sign that the economy is improving.

“There was a recent Danish suppliers’ seminar for the offshore wind industry and lots of UK companies attended and had one-to-one sessions with Danish companies, so it is exciting because of the new business opportunities that are emerging.

“It is still early days and we are at construction level for a lot of investment involving engineering coming into the town on the back of renewables, which is a key driver and of course the food sector is also doing well.”

Grimsby was once the world’s largest fishing port and today it is synonymous with the food industry and often referred to as ‘Europe’s food town’.

Thousands of people are employed at around 500 food related businesses, ranging from the modernised fish docks and fish markets through to the global headquarters of major food brands.

Grimsby is undergoing an ambitious transformation as part of a twenty-five-year vision for the town, including a £6 million town centre regeneration project and key developments on the docks.

The Port of Grimsby East and Grimsby Fishdocks Enterprise chief executive, Martin Bowers said: “Our business has two distinct brands: Grimsby Fish Market and Port of Grimsby East. Business for both is challenging, but we are optimistic that we can complete another successful year.

“The Fish Market has experienced a decline in Icelandic supplies due to changes in their economy and the route to market. However, Iceland is still the major supplier to the market, closely followed by Norway.

“We still ‘land’ fish from vessels fishing in the North Sea and expect to develop other supplies in the coming year. Grimsby Fish market is an attractive proposition for fishermen as it has the strongest buying power in the UK and has BRC accreditation and MSC certification. In the last year we have upgraded our Ice Plant and continue to develop new systems and services.

“We expect this year will be tough as we face increased legislation and a moving supply chain. But we think our ability to adapt and our flexibility to change will keep us at the forefront of the UK Fish Industry.”

Mr Bowers said the Port of Grimsby East continued to be the main hub for the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) of the offshore renewables business.

“Statistically we are the busiest port on the Humber. We invested with our council and Dong Energy into a new outer berth facility to increase capacity, which is working well. This additional facility to Port Operations complements Siemens, Eon and Centrica who all have O&M bases here.

“We expect business to remain stable for us this year as the offshore renewables industry on the Humber is clearly here to stay,” added Martin.

Among major developments taking place in Grimsby is a brand new multi-million pound office and retail development in the Cartergate area of Grimsby. The offices are set to become the new headquarters of the area’s largest law firm, Wilkin Chapman Grange LLP, and will help secure the company’s future in the town.

About 24,000 sq ft of office and complementary ground floor retail space will be created by the development. The remaining land at Cartergate will be marketed for a quality hotel scheme or a suitable alternative development.

There is already a new large hotel development underway in the town near the main railway station. An eighty-bedroom Holiday Inn Express is on track to open at Wellowgate in time for the summer season. And, with the town’s Freshney Place Shopping Centre going from strength to strength, and its owners planning a new leisure block that will hopefully feature a multiplex cinema and a variety of places to eat and drink, Grimsby’s attraction as a destination town is riding high.

With more than eighty High Street names and local independent stores, Freshney Place Shopping Centre has a wide retail mix including top names such as House of Fraser, Next, M&S, BHS, In The Pink, Primark, Boots and many more.

Spring is in the air at Freshney Place with a number of events, competitions and special offers particularly for Mother’s Day on 15th March. You can even stay connected while you shop with free WiFi available in the centre.

Back by popular demand is the monthly children’s club, Snapper Jaxx – which kicked off in February. It is a free club offering fun, interactive entertainment for children up to the age of 11.

“We are still moving on with the town centre developments and the owners of Freshney Place have plans for a cinema and more eating places,” said Anne Tate. “Those plans are starting to come to fruition and there are some good things happening around the town centre.”

It isn’t just Grimsby that is enjoying a resurgence in its fortunes; its near neighbour Cleethorpes is also benefitting from a range of plans. People in Cleethorpes have just been given the opportunity to have their say on proposals outlined in the council’s draft local plan, which sets out its vision for the area for the next twenty years.

Plans to create 8,800 jobs and build at least 9,996 homes in North East Lincolnshire by 2032, are just two of the ambitious proposals included in the plan.

However, Councillor David Watson, portfolio holder for Environment and Housing, said the document is very much a work in progress and nothing is set in stone.

“The council’s planning team has produced this draft as part of the preparation process for our new Local Plan and has spent months gathering evidence and identifying the issues which need addressing,” said Councillor Watson.

“Cleethorpes is part of the main urban area and as such, together with Grimsby, it is the focus for accommodating future growth. The plan also recognises the importance of the Cleethorpes resort and sets out options for defining and accommodating growth in Cleethorpes town centre.

“Thanks to the growth in the renewable energy sector, North East Lincolnshire is poised for unprecedented economic growth and we need to make the most of this opportunity.”

Cleethorpes is famous for its five miles of golden sands, historic pier and holiday resorts, but it is undergoing a bit of a renaissance with new investment and developments making it an even more attractive place to live, work and visit.

One exciting change which bodes well for Cleethorpes’ future importance in the tourist industry is a new sixty-bedroom Premier Inn hotel and a 190-cover restaurant which opened last November.

And with the council able to secure a further £6 million in government funding in the latest round of Growth Deals announced by the Government, proposals for the regeneration of two key sites in central Cleethorpes can go ahead.

The Central Cleethorpes Regeneration Programme will strengthen the role of Cleethorpes town centre as the key driver of the visitor economy in North East Lincolnshire, and will support efforts to encourage urban living.

It will provide gap funding to accelerate the development of two pivotal gap sites in the town centre through Local Growth Fund support, alongside complementary investment proposals by the Heritage Lottery Fund and council to promote the restoration/re-use of historic buildings and improve the quality of the public realm.

The Central Cleethorpes Regeneration Programme will attract new private sector investment and benefit local businesses, residents and visitors.

A project that has been two years in the making has finally come to fruition, and is a sure sign that Grimsby is enjoying a positive resurgence.

Jaines Seafood owner Chris Sparkes has taken his established fish docks company to the forefront of the seafood industry’s operations and moved full circle around Grimsby Port into refurbished state-of the-art premises with bespoke equipment.

“It has been a project two or three years in the making. We have been searching for premises to relocate to and bring up to a standard which was fit for the future needs of our customers,” he said.

“There has been considerable investment and all the money was spent locally which is important to us. We used local engineering businesses to do the work and have been helped by a local IT company. It has bespoke equipment and is a state-of-the-art factory.”

The project began in August 2013 when the company moved from Wharncliffe Road, where the business had been built up.

“This has catapulted the business out of the last century, to a position now where we are ready, and better equipped, for whatever demands come our way from existing customers,” said Chris, who is local and who bought the business in 1990.

“Our standards are incredibly high in terms of hygiene and we are now better placed to work at standards to bring efficiencies into the business.”

The project has created twelve new jobs and a training programme is now being introduced for people who want to learn a trade.

Chris said: “There is a massive regeneration programme going on in the fish dock estate. We urge people to do as much as they can to help us all and work in tandem where we can.”

The business has also gained Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, becoming part of the chain of custody as a supplier of MSC certified haddock, cod and plaice.

The name Jaines is well known in and around the Grimsby fish markets, as it has been established for more than seventy years starting out as a herring business before the War.

The business has changed dramatically and now buys fresh fish from all over Europe and Scandinavia, from Iceland as well as from all parts of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

It now offers more than twenty-five different types of fish including halibut, cod, haddock, plaice, lemon sole, squid, brill, turbot, salmon and skate.

Preparations are well under way for an event that will see Grimsby take centre stage on a global platform this autumn.

It has been selected to host the biennial World Seafood Congress (WSC) which, in the past, has been held in Canada and Washington DC.

The event, taking place from 5th to 9th September, attracts delegates from all over the world and organisers have announced that ‘the world’s greatest living explorer’, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, will be the guest speaker.

The WSC will be held at the state-of-the-art Grimsby Institute where Sir Ranulph will be joined by other high profile speakers from Defra, Seafish, the NOAA Seafood Inspection Program, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN, WorldFish and Meridian Prime.

He will take to the stage at the congress’ gala dinner (sponsored by Alaska Seafood) to address delegates and share with them anecdotes from his remarkable career in the field of exploration.

Sir Ranulph said: “I’ve been lucky enough to spend a large proportion of my life experiencing some of the most beautiful locations on the planet and as a result I have a deep respect for the natural world.

“My project invests a large amount of time into scientific research that informs our understanding of the environment and contributes to the protection of marine and land species.

“For that reason, it’s a pleasure to play a part in this year’s WSC and support an event that places such a strong emphasis on developing and implementing sustainable fishing practices.”

Hosted by Seafish, the industry authority on seafood, the WSC will bring together hundreds of delegates and key industry figures from across the global fishing industry.

The theme of this year’s conference will be Upskilling for the Future, which will be analysed through a programme of expert panels, debates, workshops and formal presentations focusing on sustainability, innovation and global export and trade.

Seafish technical director, Tom Pickerell said: “As one of the most accomplished explorers in modern history, it’s a privilege to have secured Sir Ranulph as one of our keynote speakers.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming him to Grimsby – the heartland of the British fishing industry – for what looks set to be the most successful congress yet.”

WSC 2015 will be supported by platinum sponsors Young’s, the UK’s leading supplier of frozen and chilled fish and seafood.

Hull & Humber Chamber of Commerce Northern Lincolnshire manager, Anne Tate said: “It will be a good opportunity to showcase North East Lincolnshire and it is very good for the seafood industry here as well.”

Established over seventy years ago in 1936, Middleton’s Glass is one of Grimsby’s oldest companies. Founded by original owner Richard Middleton, the company has occupied its current Wellington Street site since the early 1960s. Now in the safe hands of Elaine and Dave Middlecoate they put the company’s amazing longevity down to the excellent customer service they give to each and every client. Many of the highly qualified staff have been with the company for twenty-five to thirty-five years and are always happy to offer expert, friendly advice.

Middleton’s are much more than just your average glaziers and Dave is proud to say, “If you want it in glass, we will try to make it for you.”

They are now moving rapidly with the times to create many new contemporary products. Middleton’s can make glass screens for wet rooms or shower screens, glass shelving and glass sliding doors all to your exact specifications. One of the products they are finding extremely popular are the coloured glass kitchen splashbacks which they can make in practically any colour imaginable, and then supply and fit. Middleton’s team can make glass stair banisters, mezzanine screens and can cut mirrors to any size or shape you want.

If you have the old style leaded light windows, these can be repaired or they can replace and even create a design of the client’s choice.

Middleton’s are still supplying and installing replacement double glazing and undertake all manner of window repairs in Grimsby, Cleethorpes, Immingham and beyond. Whether you need industrial strength glass or domestic double glazing, they can supply it.

Middleton’s Glass has grown into one of the leading glazier suppliers in North East Lincolnshire and surrounding area and are well deserving of the title, ‘The Glass People’.

Expectations are high that there will be an influx of visitors to the Grimsby and Cleethorpes area this year, thanks to events sure to put the North East Lincolnshire towns on the tourism and destination maps.

In September, Grimsby will be hosting the World Seafood Congress attracting delegates from all over the world, as well as top-named speakers, while Cleethorpes’ popular air show looks likely to expand and become a replacement for the Waddington Air Show, which is not taking place this year.

It is fitting, then, that top-named hotel chains have chosen Grimsby and Cleethorpes as the locations for their latest hotels. Premier Inn opened its doors in Cleethorpes last November along with a 190-cover restaurant while Holiday Inn Express is on track to launch its eighty-bedroom hotel in Wellowgate in Grimsby, ahead of the summer season.

Hull & Humber Chamber of Commerce Northern Lincolnshire Manager, Anne Tate said: “Grimsby is preparing to host the World Seafood Congress and there are going to be some changes to Cleethorpes’ successful air show.

“Waddington Air Show isn’t happening this year so there is talk about putting it on in Cleethorpes, so there will be a new organisation behind the air show.

“The area has seen a new Premier Inn opened and with plans for a new hotel at Humberside Airport as well as the new Holiday Inn Express hotel soon to open in Grimsby, there are good signs of confidence in the area.”

General manager of the new Holiday Inn Express, Victoria Andrews, said work was on schedule for it to open in time for the summer season.

“We are very happy with the project and it is all on track. Our big plan is to open sometime between April and June. We hope it really will help rejunevate and revitalise this part of Grimsby and it should bring in more restaurants. Hopefully, we are the first of the big chains of hotels to come to this area.

“I am conscious about the importance of the town moving forward and we want as much money spent on the town as we can.

“And with the Europarc and the fish industry growing, the town can only benefit from the money being brought in.”

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