Boost for the coastal economy

Words by:
Melanie Burton
Featured in:
June 2021

Tourist destinations have been working hard for a long time preparing for the end of Covid restrictions. And there is so much now to look forward to as the road to recovery starts to open up and projects planned to boost tourism in the county can finally proceed.

Two coastal towns in particular are looking forward to an exciting future after receiving the news that they have been awarded millions of pounds from the Government’s Towns Fund scheme for 2021.

Last year Skegness and Mablethorpe joined forces to bid for £50 million, forming the Connected Coast Board and put forward ambitious projects aimed at creating a more attractive place to live, work and play, and to boost the local economy, leading to more jobs for local people.

The plans attracted more than £30 million of support from local and national organisations and businesses and opens the door for future development across the strategic alliance of East Lindsey District Council and Boston Borough Council.

Details of the projects were announced by East Lindsey District Council back in August 2020 and after being signed off by the local council and the Connected Coast Board in October last year, the plans were submitted to Government for consideration.

News that the Towns Fund bid had been successful for both towns was received in March.

Chair of the Connected Coast Board, Sarah-Louise Fairburn, said: “We are incredibly excited to have achieved two Town Deals for the Lincolnshire Coast, and it is down to the hard work of the Towns Fund team and support of the ambitious Connected Coast Board.

“To us, this is the start of a transformative journey and the Towns Fund is just the tip of the iceberg. The hard work starts now and we hope this initial success will act as a catalyst for further investment, creation of jobs and growth on the coast, and even more interest from the private sector.

“We know the potential and the great base we have to build on here, so we can’t wait to start this great journey of change. We want people to visit, residents to be proud of their area, and for the future to be secure for business. There’s real passion here and we want to capitalise on that.”

Mablethorpe will receive £23.9m and Skegness £24.5m and the money will go towards a number of regeneration projects in both areas.

These include transforming neglected areas and improving the town centres as well as leisure, learning, and health development schemes.

There are plans for a new purpose-built leisure centre and digital learning complex on the site of the current Station Sports Centre in Mablethorpe which will feature a traditional gym, facilities for assisted exercise, studio spaces, a day spa, food and drink, an adventure play and climbing area and a teaching and hydrotherapy pool.

Works on two of the major projects got underway at the beginning of the year and included the demolition of Sutton on Sea’s Colonnade, along with other works to make the site ready for a replacement structure to be built, and the pedestrianisation of Skegness’ Tower Esplanade.

The alterations planned for the Tower Esplanade area is part of the much-needed redevelopment of the Foreshore to enhance and develop the range of leisure facilities available for both residents and visitors.

The Towns Fund Foreshore project improvements will improve connectivity with the town centre and open up new areas for cycling and walking, encouraging people to move around the Foreshore, boosting passing trade for businesses.

Improvements to the public realm will improve the sense of safety in the area and reflect the historic importance of the Foreshore as recognised through its designation as a historic park.

The new works will complement recently completed improvements to lighting and seating in the area and help create a sense of arrival, pride and safety. The scheme aims to boost trade and dwell time for local businesses.

There are plans to create an outdoor events stage/arena and pavilion for activities such as concerts, light festivals and outdoor cinema around the southern boating lake.

The new lighting, water fountains, seating and the ability to pipe music around the lake will also help to improve the value of this area of the Foreshore and attract a wider range of people and extend the season.

There are also plans to convert the former bowling greens on South Parade into a flexible events space for new pop-up events including farmers’ markets, mobile ice rinks and roller skating.

Pedestrianisation of the Tower Esplanade was a project first identified within the Foreshore Masterplan in 2018 and is the final phase of improvements to help accelerate the development of the wider Foreshore area.

This project will also see traffic re-routing work done to direct vehicles along Princes and South Parade into the Festival Car Park.

Other projects identified include a new modern Learning Campus in Skegness and a renovated leisure centre in Mablethorpe.

Local people and businesses in Skegness will also benefit from ultrafast internet speeds enabling professional home working, streaming online entertainment, high speed gaming, home schooling and video calling, with no buffering.

It was one of a number of towns across Lincolnshire selected by internet service provider Lightspeed Broadband to kick-start its next generation full-fibre roll out.

The new full-fibre network will deliver gigabit internet speeds up to 15 times faster, more stable and reliable than standard fibre broadband, directly to homes and businesses.

Specialist fibre infrastructure contractors, Plancast and RCU Solutions, have been appointed to work in partnership with Lightspeed Broadband, and teams are moving quickly to roll out the network with 100 engineers being deployed and 30 new jobs created for the build, with an emphasis on employing, developing and training local people.

Stephen Brookes, onlincolnshire programme manager at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “The county council-led onlincolnshire programme has dramatically improved the county’s broadband infrastructure over the last few years, and more people than ever before can now enjoy superfast speeds.

“These highly significant improvements on the back of a massive investment by Lightspeed will build on that good work, greatly benefiting those Lincolnshire towns included in the roll out, who will receive some of the fastest speeds in the county.”

Renowned for its deep rooted links to the fishing industry and thought to be one of Europe’s oldest fishing ports, the north east Lincolnshire town of Grimsby has had an optimistic start on the road to recovery with the news that its biggest employer is set for further expansion.

Young’s Seafood, which has been linked with Grimsby for more than 50 years, already employs around 2,600 staff at its headquarters in the town but expects to grow its headcount by more than 15 per cent before the end of the year.

It has launched a recruitment drive which will create 400 new and part-time jobs on the back of increased demand for its products.

Young’s Grimsby site director, Terry Tuplin, said the company was keen to promote from within, wherever possible.

“I was recruited from the shop floor over 30 years ago, and as my career flourished, so did the success of the business,” he said. “We’re proud to be in a position where we can grow our team and continue to help inspire our nation to love and eat fish now and for generations.”

Young’s Seafood produces and distributes around 2 in 5 of every frozen, fresh and chilled seafood product consumed in the UK each year.

Young’s can trace its roots back to 1805, when it was founded by Elizabeth Young and her family who were watermen and fishermen on the Thames at Greenwich.

The company has been in continuous growth since that time and undergone a number of changes of ownership, although the Young’s family remained involved until the late 1980s.

Most recently its parent company, Eight Fifty Food Group, was bought by Canadian firm Sofina Foods.

Young’s started as a whitebait business, then later became famous for its potted shrimp, sold in distinctive blue pottery jars.

It was responsible for a number of notable seafood firsts, including the invention of scampi in 1946 and the marketing of the very first frozen prawns.

Grimsby’s fishing industry is radically smaller today than in the past but nonetheless it is still an important part of the town’s economy.

It had the largest fishing fleet in the world by the mid-20th century, but fishing declined dramatically after the Cod Wars denied UK access to Icelandic fishing grounds, and the European Union parcelled out fishing quotas in waters within a 200-mile limit of the UK coast to other European countries.

The focal point of the local fishing industry is Grimsby Fish Market and its importance is recognised by the UK and EU fishing industries. It is considered to be one of the most important fish markets, not just in the UK, but also in Europe.

Originally opened in 1996 at a cost of £15 million, Grimsby Fish Market completed a £1.2 million upgrade in early 2012. Partially funded by the European Fisheries Fund, the development was seen as a show of confidence in the future of the fishing industry in Grimsby.

The strength of Grimsby Fish Market and its daily auction is its long-established buying power, which is organised through the Grimsby Fish Merchants Association Ltd.

Grimsby is also home to the £5.6 million Humber Seafood Institute, the first of its kind in the UK, which opened in 2008.

Backed by Yorkshire Forward, North East Lincolnshire Council, and the European Regional Development Fund, the HSI is managed by the local council.

Grimsby has also developed into a renewable energy centre, and generates more electricity from solar, wind, biomass and landfill gas than anywhere else in England.

The town makes 28 per cent of the electricity it uses from green sources and its proximity to the biggest cluster of offshore wind farms in Europe has brought around 1,500 jobs to the area, mostly in turbine maintenance.

Neighbouring Grimsby is the traditional seaside resort of Cleethorpes, which is one of the best kept secrets of the east coast.

It has miles of sandy beaches which are actually the banks of the Humber estuary and a plethora of amenities and activities, including donkey rides, a paddling pool and a boating lake as well as award-winning gardens on the promenade.

THE east coast has many attractions that draw visitors from far and wide and they are not just located in the major coastal towns either.

The village of Ingoldmells, just three miles north of Skegness, is the place where Billy Butlin opened the UK’s first ever holiday camp in 1936 and which today is a major employer in the area and attracts thousands of holidaymakers throughout the year.

Ingoldmells also hosts Europe’s largest seven-day market located on the site of the large family run Fantasy Island theme park which is one of the largest family entertainment centres on the UK’s east coast.
Opened in 1995, Fantasy Island continues to be a popular attraction and has introduced three new rides for the 2021 season.

Also close to Skegness is the village of Chapel St Leonard’s which is home to the North Sea Observatory – the UK’s first purpose-built marine observatory – and can also boast being the site of a restored major Second World War coastal defence line retaining the viewing platform.

The Observatory, a futuristic, iconic visitor centre using high quality materials and high-weatherproofing providing a comfortable facility for year-round use, was constructed between 2016-8.

It is the first stage of what is envisaged as part of the Lincolnshire Coastal Country Park (LCCP) with the intention to later develop the coastal walk as a visitor attraction northwards to Sandilands.
The site is owned by Chapel St Leonards Parish Council and is leased to the county council.

Included in the futuristic design, having main viewing windows orientated towards the sea, the observatory has multi-function spaces allocated for an exhibition gallery and education, together with a local base for Coastwatch and a year-round cafe.

If you prefer peace and tranquillity, Gibraltar Point is the place to visit.

A stretch of unspoilt coastline running southwards from the edge of Skegness to the mouth of the Wash, Gibraltar Point is known for its impressive views and sheer scale and diversity of wildlife

It is one of 19 official Bird Observatories throughout Britain and was one of the earliest, starting up in 1949.

Just four miles north of Chapel St Leonard’s is Anderby Creek which is a small popular holiday village known for its caravan parks and holiday retreats and has just been recognised as one of the UK’s top 40 beaches described as ‘one of Lincolnshire’s quiet, unspoilt sections of coastline’.

There is even archaeological evidence of a medieval harbour on the original creek, before it was canalised.

It is also home to one of the more unusual tourist attractions on the Lincolnshire coast: the Cloud Bar, which is the world’s first official ‘cloud spotting area’.

The Cloud Bar was the idea of artist, and CAS member, Michael Trainor.

Replacing a disused beach shelter, the handsome wooden structure looks out to sea from this unspoilt stretch of the Lincolnshire coastline.

On the viewing platform are ‘Cloud Menus’ identifying the different formations, mirrors that can be swivelled to reflect different parts of the sky and specially designed cloud-viewing seats, on which visitors can recline and enjoy the view.

While the nation has welcomed the reopening of eateries across the country, it’s double the fun at Grimsby Garden Centre where you’ll find the return of fond foodie favourites alongside a new look café… with a new name.

The Potting Shed officially opened its wood clad doors this May. The team at the centre have used lockdown to totally transform the café space, doubling its size and introducing Scandinavian style outdoor booths, a garden and children’s play area. It is the first phase in the garden centre’s redevelopment which will see the introduction of an eco-green barn and the creation of a bespoke independent shipping container shopping hub.

Grimsby Garden Centre manager Craig Champion said: “We’re really enjoying welcoming people to the new Potting Shed – both familiar faces as well as new people eager to meet family and friends over tea, coffee and a cake or two.”

The Potting Shed offers much more than a cuppa. Both The Potting Shed and Grimsby Garden Centre are owned by NHS mental health services provider NAViGO. Turning profit for good, proceeds go back into supporting mental health services across North East Lincolnshire. Plus, the garden centre complex also offers training and employment opportunities to people from disadvantaged backgrounds and individuals with mental health difficulties.

Jo Keen, head of commercial services at NAViGO said: “Not only do we serve great food and drink in lovely, relaxed surroundings but when you buy from us, you are also helping to support people in your local community with mental health difficulties.

“The last year has been extremely difficult for everyone. Being Loyal to Local has never been more important.”

Open to all ages, the friendly venue offers take-out drinks and cakeaway or eat-in options with a range of toasties, sandwiches, classics, beverages and cakes while helping raise the visibility of mental health support services. Emergency services, NHS, North East Lincolnshire Council and Armed Forces employees benefit from a 10% discount on production of appropriate identification. And if you’re part of the RNLI lifeboat crew you can have a free drink when you’ve been out on a shout.

Put simply, The Potting Shed is good food, good drink, doing good.

Open Monday – Saturday 9am-5pm. Sunday 9am-4pm. Find The Potting Shed on Grimsby Road, Laceby DN37 7DY

Established more than 26 years ago and named after the pub in the classic novel Treasure Island, the Admiral Benbow Beach Bar features a family-friendly interior using reclaimed breakwaters and groynes from the adjacent beach giving an authentic smuggler’s inn feel, with an outside seating area designed as the deck of the pirate ship ‘Hispaniola’.

As one of the Lincolnshire coast’s hidden gems, the Admiral Benbow is ideally situated on Chapel St Leonards promenade, which is on Lincolnshire’s coastal path with beautiful views out to sea.

Popular with walkers, picnickers, holiday-makers and locals, this friendly pub offers a taste of traditional hospitality, with a warm welcome for dogs – which are also invited to enjoy a selection of doggy snacks and treats – while humans can relax and refresh with an impressive range of real ales, beer, lagers, gins and much more.

For more information visit

Packed with love and chosen with care, Hampers by The Hollies offers a range of the best food from local Lincolnshire farmers and producers, ideal as a gift or special treat.

Since launching earlier this year, Hampers by The Hollies will be opening a delicatessen outlet in the village of Kirmington later this month. “Local lass” and entrepreneur Sophianne Kent, who named the business after her home in the village has already received many glowing reviews and testimonials from her customers, including Paul Burrell RVM, former butler to Diana, Princess of Wales.

This specially selected range of goodies are beautifully presented in elegant gift boxes or luxurious hamper baskets and delivered free to your door the next day.

“I wanted to showcase the great produce on our doorstep and was delighted to find an array of Lincolnshire artisans and farmers making wonderful treats,” explains Sophianne, who says she wanted to support the local economy and encourage buying local. Hampers by The Hollies offers hampers for everyone and all occasions including Mother’s Day, Easter and Birthdays. Popular ones being the Heritage hamper and the Cheese and Wine Time gift basket.

“Lincolnshire is famous for being the agricultural heartland and we’re always on the look out for quality, local producers. Our local suppliers include Ovens Winery in Harrington, No.12 Chocolatier in Kirton in Lindsey, Leya and Buster Candle Co in Ulceby, Massingberd-Mundy Gin Distillery, South Ormsby Estate – Award-winning Gin and of course the Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese company.”

For more information visit

Lincolnshire Life readers receive a 10% discount by using ‘LL10’ voucher code at checkout.

Established more than 50 years ago, the Heat N Light Centre in Skegness is a highly respected friendly family-run business which has grown from a tiny electrical repair shop which opened in 1963, before expanding next door in the 1970s to a large spacious showroom on the High Street.

Now run by Sharon Kilner, the third generation of the family, the Heat N Light Centre offers value for money on a wide choice of quality lighting, heating, electrical goods and home giftware, such as clocks, cushions and kitchenware, as well as presents ideal for new baby and wedding gifts.

Also popular is its extensive Retro section, featuring classic designs including telephones, radios, jukeboxes and record players.

For more information visit

One project that will be made possible thanks to the Towns Fund deal is the redevelopment of Sutton on Sea’s Colonnade.

The redevelopment itself has been included within the Mablethorpe Town Investment Plan, which was submitted to Government in October last year.

This £6m project will result in a new modern development including a new landmark building that includes a café, gallery, exhibition space and viewing decks.

It also includes sheltered seating areas and pop-up trading, craft and performance spaces. Plans also take in the building of 15 new modern beach huts and six new luxury holiday lodges.

The new structure, which will stretch along the Sutton on Sea foreshore, will see the addition of surrounding green and open spaces around existing features, which will provide a mix of additional leisure facilities and recreational activities to enhance community wellbeing and civic pride.

These proposals will seek to improve links between the High Street, promenade, beach and coastal path to enable the hosting of additional local events and activities, as well as driving further footfall through the town through the year.

The existing Colonnade structure was constructed between 1948 and 1955 and suffered the damage one would expect while exposed to an aggressive marine environment.

The new design has been based on community consultation which has established almost universal support for the opportunity to replace, rather than repair, the Colonnade with a new and improved structure.

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