New investment plans for Brigg
Opportunities to promote business growth for areas such as Brigg are on the cards. By Melanie Burton.
As the long-awaited festive celebrations die down and communities countrywide bid farewell to another difficult year, places like the small traditional market town in north Lincolnshire live in hope of better times ahead.
North Lincolnshire Council is one of only 40 councils in the country invited by the Government to become a new investment zone, with opportunities to create more jobs for areas in the district, such as Brigg. The investment zones will be subject to more liberal planning rules in specified agreed sites, to release land and accelerate development. They will also include, for the first 10 years, accelerated tax reliefs for structures and buildings, 100 per cent relief on qualifying investments in plant and machinery, no stamp duty on purchases of land and buildings for commercial or new residential developments, no business rates on newly occupied business premises and for every new employee the business will pay no National Insurance on the first £50,000 they earn.
Leader of the council, Councillor Rob Waltham said it would enable the council to move more quickly and make the investment process easier.
“It should mean we can move at a greater pace to enable businesses to invest and grow, to create more jobs and drive wages even higher,” he said.
“The proposals will simplify the investment process for businesses – it will make areas of the county more attractive and will ensure speed of delivery.
“We’ll work to ensure we can take advantage of these plans for people in North Lincolnshire, attracting additional investment, creating new jobs and supercharging wages.”
An expression of interest was made back in October which included a number of locations to be designated as investment zones.
Councillor Waltham added: “Our proposals set a high bar and have been designed to have the greatest impact on growth, housing development and value for money. They will support the regeneration of under-developed sites, releasing their potential much quicker.”
The proposal is aligned with the council’s Economic Growth Plan; building on existing plans for enabling sustainable growth in ports and logistics, energy, advanced manufacturing and food.
“These proposed zones will get rid of burdensome regulations while at the same time ensure schemes are well designed,” Councillor Waltham continued. “They will still have to protect and enhance the natural environment and heritage, address flood risk, highway and other public safety matters.”
An air of optimism can be felt in the town with old buildings being brought back to life. An Italian restaurant and three new bars are being developed in the town centre following the conversion of the former Exchange Coach House Inn and Tavern.
Closed since 2020, the Grade II listed building was acquired by the Hunt Group last summer and has been totally refurbished.
Beyond the restaurant, and adjoining one of the rear car parking areas, will be Henry’s, a large sports bar featuring big screen TVs and The Doghouse, a lounge-style facility which was the first to open to the public back in November. Henry’s will follow early this year.
The property was originally built in around 1760 and has previously been used as a gentlemen’s club, said to have been frequented by Winston Churchill during World War II.
CEO of the Hunt Group, Shaun Hunt, added: “The Hunt family are delighted with becoming the new custodians of this sizeable hotel and food and beverage complex in the very heart of the historic market town of Brigg.
“This is the family’s hometown and whilst the ‘vibe’ in Brigg is already good we shall strive to make it even better, hopefully making Brigg the place to go in North Lincolnshire.”
BATTERY STORAGE FACILITY
Work is also underway on the conversion of Centrica’s decommissioned gas-fired power station at Brigg, turning it into a huge battery storage facility.
When complete the North Lincolnshire site will be able to provide the equivalent of a full day’s energy for 11,000 homes.
The company is working with GE on the 50MW/100MWh proposal, providing energy storage for the 43 onshore wind farms across Lincolnshire.
It is part of a number of solutions being brought forward to help balance the grid and provide better control of the peaks and troughs associated with renewables generation.
It is the largest investment in storage made by the company to date, though the expenditure is not being disclosed.
Managing director of Centrica Business Solutions, Greg McKenna, said: “Investing in low-carbon energy assets that boost the UK’s ability to store more renewable energy is key to getting to Net Zero.
“Lincolnshire has 242MW of onshore wind power capacity, but when supply outstrips demand some of those green electrons will go to waste if not stored. Working with GE we’ll store green energy produced locally and use it as efficiently as possible.
“As the UK’s power generation capacity becomes more distributed and the share of renewables increases, generation flexibility becomes critical to keep the lights on securely, sustainably, and affordably.
“Brigg battery storage investment will ensure we can maximise the use of the green energy generated by nearby wind farms – storing when the wind blows and discharging when it doesn’t.”
Brigg’s battery storage is set to be fully operational late this year, with plans to run the site for 25 years.
It comes 22 years after Centrica bought the 240MW site which had been built by Yorkshire Electricity and Finnish state-owned energy company Fortum in 1991.
Latterly it had run as a peaking plant until September 2020, with a new 50MW rapid operation plant built alongside and commissioned two years prior. It remains operational, with the ability to be generating from a standing start in just a few minutes.
Prakash Chandra, renewable hybrids chief executive at GE, said: “The UK has been one of the earliest and largest players in the battery energy storage space and the installed capacity keeps growing. However, there is a need for more if the country wants to achieve its Net Zero emission target for the power sector by 2035.”
A team of 16 staff had been employed at the power station.
The old town of Brigg is centred on the marketplace and the adjoining streets of Bridge Street, Wrawby Street, and Bigby Street. The marketplace and Wrawby Street, where much of the town’s retail is located, were pedestrianised in the early 1990s.
A significant number of buildings in the town centre date to the late 1700s or early 1800s and are listed, with the old town as a whole designated a Conservation Area.
The marketplace is dominated by the Buttercross and the Angel, a former coaching inn with an early mock Tudor façade, which is now home to Brigg Town Council and various North Lincolnshire Council services.
ECO MARKET PROPOSAL
A new event may be added to the calendar for Brigg this year following a proposal for the introduction of an Eco Market in the town.
Eco markets are becoming a feature of many towns across the UK, with a good example locally at Caistor. Prior to Covid, it operated monthly and has just restarted.
One of the aims of an eco market is to showcase local eco-friendly businesses and entrepreneurs that can help people shop sustainably and encourage an environmentally and socially responsible lifestyle.
There is no prescription for the format of an eco market, but stalls might include produce stands with organic and vegan food and drink, plastic-free shopping, health products, recycled materials, clothing, toys and homeware, eco gifts, repair stalls – for clothes, electrical goods and cycles, book loans and craft workshops.
An inaugural meeting to discuss the idea took place recently and was well received by residents and a number of the town’s independent businesses, including the Rabbit Hole bookshop which already organises a regular Indie Market in Brigg.
BRIGG RAILWAY LINE
Brigg townsfolk are a determined community and their latest success involves the reintroduction of the Brigg Line train service between Sheffield and Cleethorpes.
The Saturday only services, which are operated by Northern Rail, were discontinued back in
January 2022 due to the impact of Covid-19 and staffing issues. A replacement bus service was not organised to supplement the cancellation of the services so it meant that locals were stranded with little public transport going out of town.
But following an outcry from the local communities surrounding Brigg, Northern Rail announced at the end of last year that the services would be running again from Saturday 17th December.
However, not all locals were thrilled to hear that they would still only be running on Saturdays.
Paul Johnson, founder of The Independent Brigg Line Rail Group, volunteers who promote rail travel in Lincolnshire for Brigg and Kirton-in-Lindsey, said: “The communities of Brigg and Kirton in Lindsey have received a one-day-a-week train service since October 1993.
“Despite efforts from local groups, the Department of Transport think it’s fit and proper that these communities only get these services on one day. They then went on to discontinue them on 1st January 2022 due to Covid-19 and staffing issues.”
Mr Johnson also thinks now is the time for a new operator to take control of the service. Over the past few months, the group has conducted a survey around the local area and found that many people would like to see TransPennine Express operating the services, taking them out of government hands.
BREAKTHROUGH TREATMENT FOR DRY AMD EYE PROBLEMS NOW AVAILABLE LOCALLY
As we age, our sight tends to become less clear, and some of us will develop what is known as ‘Dry Age-related Macular Degeneration’. When this happens, the central area of our vision darkens and becomes blurred, making it difficult to see detail, and preventing activities such as driving, reading, watching TV, using computers, tablets, and so on. Even recognising faces can prove difficult.
Until recently, there were no effective treatments for Dry AMD, the only suggestions being lifestyle changes or dietary supplements. Now, sufferers will be delighted to learn that there is a newly developed treatment available locally. It is a safe, non-invasive, painless therapy which is fully approved under European and UK directives.
This breakthrough treatment is known as photobiomodulation (PBT) and uses a cold laser system to produce low levels of red, yellow and infra-red light to stimulate the centre of vision by energising and providing oxygen for cell repair.
Results from extensive monitored trials of the therapy show that for many Dry AMD sufferers, there can be an improvement in sharpness of vision corresponding to some five or eight extra letters on the testing chart. This therapy has also been shown to help diabetics who have certain eye problems related to their diabetes.
Dr Sheeraz Janjua is now providing this new treatment at his special clinics held regularly at O’Brien’s Opticians in Brigg. He can be contacted on 01652 653595.
FIRST CHOICE FOR PERSONALISED CARPET SOLUTIONS
If you’re looking for a first class service for all your flooring requirements, the helpful and expert team at Dean Wray Carpets & Vinyls pride themselves on delivering an outstanding bespoke service to suit all individual needs.
Situated in Bridge Street, here you will find a wide range of quality carpets, vinyls and roll ends in stock for all tastes and budgets, with carpets fitted by their own in-house expert fitting team, with an additional service of uplift of existing carpet and help with moving furniture also on offer.
Dean Wray Carpets & Vinyls also provide insurance quotes and a home sampling service.
“As an independent specialist business, our mission is to provide customers with a personal service from start to finish by always going that extra mile,” explains owner Dean Wray. “We also offer genuine value for money – so no gimmicks, no add-ons, just a fantastic all-round service.”
For more information visit www.deanwraycarpets.co.uk
QUALITY COUNTRY CLOTHING FROM WALLHEAD’S
Specialists in outdoor and country clothing, Wallhead’s Countrywear is a highly regarded family business which combines classic sporting brands with five-star customer service. Established in 1897 by James Blackburn Wallhead, today this popular store in Wrawby Street, Brigg, is run by fourth-generation Richard Wallhead, who is committed to offering a warm welcome with personal attention for both local shoppers as well as many who come from far and wide, including New Zealand and the USA.
you need to enjoy the great outdoors, with top quality designs from brands including Barbour, Brook Taverner, Le Chameau, Aigle, Viyella, Peter England, Gurteen, Farah, Hawick Knitwear, as well as Failsworth hats and caps. If you’re looking for quality shooting clothing, Wallhead’s stocks popular German brand Schoffel, including tweed breeks and waistcoats, with caps to match, as well as excellent Gore-Tex and Venturi waterproof, machine washable shooting coats.
For more information telephone: 01652 652356.
Photographs: Mick Fox