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Words: Melanie Burton
Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the August 2016 issue

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Brigg has been buzzing since it was shortlisted as a finalist in the Great British High Street competition last year and moves are continuing to boost tourism, aid businesses and attract newcomers to the town.

The North Lincolnshire market town lies along the new and old river Ancholme and work has just been carried out on the third phase of the Ancholme Valley Way project, which it is hoped will open up tourism to the area.

It has seen improvements made to the footpath to allow cyclist access and it will eventually link Brigg with South Ferriby.

There have been improvements carried out between County Bridge and Ancholme Way Bridge, including new lighting on the bridge, refurbishment of the street lighting and remodelling and replanting of the banks as well as the widening of the path, new benches, extra litter bins and the refurbishment of the railings.

Improvements have also been made between Ancholme Way Bridge and Broughton Bridge including the installation of wildlife and interpretation boards to provide visitors with information about the area, installation of mile markers so people know how far they have travelled and planting at Broughton Bridge to improve the bee habitat.

Councillor Rob Waltham, deputy leader of North Lincolnshire Council which has invested in the project, said: “The Ancholme Valley Way has already been used by thousands of visitors, from cyclists and dog walkers to walkers and runners. It is a fantastic place that brings you closer to the local wildlife.

“The Ancholme Valley Way will open up tourism to the area and in turn will create more jobs.”

Businesses in the area are also being encouraged to apply for a share of £15m funding from Innovate UK to support cutting-edge research and development projects.

Innovate UK has up to £15m to invest in cutting-edge research and development projects in an open competition targeted at a whole range of technology, engineering and industrial areas.

Proposals can be drawn from any area including manufacturing and materials, emerging and enabling technologies, health and life sciences and infrastructure systems.

Councillor Waltham, who is also cabinet member for Business, Innovation, Employment and Skills, said: “This funding competition is a great opportunity for businesses looking to diversify into a different sector. It is available for businesses of any size and a range of funding is on offer.

“It is vital we support the fantastic businesses we have in North Lincolnshire to ensure economic growth, which will increase the number of job opportunities available.”

Businesses of any size can enter and they can work individually or collaboratively. Projects can focus on market research, technical feasibility, industrial research or experimental development. It is expected that projects will range in size from total costs of £25,000 up to £1m and to last between six and thirty-six months.

Brigg first received its charter for markets and fairs back in the thirteenth century, hence it is a historic town with many courts and yards, regenerated to house small retail premises.

The market place is a charming area and holds the award winning busy farmers’ market on the fourth Saturday of each month. The bandstand within the marketplace is surrounded by independent shops and businesses with the impressive Angel building in the centre which stands on the same spot as the original sixteent- century coaching inn of the same name.

The Angel now houses a quaint cafe area, Brigg Heritage Centre, the Local Link and Library and the magnificent ballroom of The Angel Suite which is available for hire for all types of functions from Brigg Town Council which is also based within The Angel Suite.

As well as being home to many long-standing businesses, which have clearly stood the test of time and have been visited by generations of the same families, Brigg is a traditional market town. Every Thursday there is a traditional open-air street market with a smaller market taking place on Saturdays. Running along Wrawby Street down to the historic Market Place, the lively market is set against the impressive backdrop of The Angel, a carefully restored eighteenth-century coaching inn, which the town council is justly proud of.

The War Memorial for the town was unveiled on 15th June 1919 in memory of those who lost their lives in the First World War and was later modified to include those lost in the Second World War.

Angel Suite manager Karen Deeley said: “We are proud that this fitting monument has just been awarded Grade II listed status, adding to The Exchange Coach House our other Grade II listed building which, along with other independent local businesses, offer accommodation to visitors to the area.

“We have a fantastic array of thriving eateries and public houses and a warm welcome is assured in our friendly town.”

Booklets to guide visitors through the history of the town are available at Brigg Tourist Information Centre housed in ‘The Buttercross’ and include The Town Trail, The Courts and Yards of Brigg.

If Brigg was buzzing last year after being put on the map through the Great British High Street competition, it has every reason to continue to buzz in 2016.

Two months ago, the largest dedicated straw-fired biomass plant in the UK was officially opened in Brigg putting the town firmly in the renewable energy market.

Brigg Renewable Energy Plant generates 40MW of electricity every hour, which is enough to supply 75,000 homes and save more than 250,000 tons of CO2 every year.

The plant is owned by BWSC North Lincs Ltd (BNLL), a joint venture between PensionDanmark, Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S (BWSC) and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP).

The £162m investment is based on biomass energy technology supplied by BWSC under a turnkey engineering, procurement and construction contract. BWSC is responsible for operation and maintenance of the plant under a fifteen-year operation and maintenance agreement.

At the same time the plant was opened, an initial three-year Community Benefit Fund was launched which will contribute £50,000 a year in grants to the local community.

The Mayor of North Lincolnshire, Councillor Trevor Foster, who cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony, said: “We are delighted that such high calibre European companies wish to invest in the UK and in Lincolnshire in particular. Their announcement of the Brigg Community Benefit Fund reinforces their commitment to the local area, and we look forward to working with them for many years to come.”

The Brigg Renewable Energy Plant is one of many new renewable energy projects across the UK which seek to protect the environment by generating clean and safe forms of power from renewable sources which will never run out – producing little or no waste.

During the construction period the company used as many local contractors as possible and encouraged them, in turn, to make the best use of local businesses and whilst the plant was being built a significant amount of money was spent in the local economy.

Anders Heine Jensen, CEO of BWSC, said: “Now we’re up and running there are further longer term benefits. We have employed thirty people to work on the Operations and Maintenance team at our plant and they are all from the local community.

“These are thirty jobs with real job security, as our renewable energy plant will be running for many years to come. We are also proud to have set up the Community Benefit Fund to support a range of worthwhile community projects in the neighbourhood.

“We have committed to an initial three-year funding period with a view to extending funding for a further two years. Pete Smithson is plant manager and has built the team he needs to run the plant smoothly and effectively.

“Pete has worked in the area himself for a number of years and his confidence in the skills, experience and competency of local people has been well placed. All the members of this new team have undergone their final training and begun operating the plant

“Being good neighbours remains our top priority and we hope that we can continue to become a positive part of the community, working together now and into the future.”

BESPOKE BATHROOM SPECIALISTS
The Water Room has just celebrated its first anniversary. Situated in the Market Place in Brigg it is the region’s local bathroom specialist with a bespoke service tailored to your exact needs. They can create a space that complements and matches your personality and budget. The possibilities are endless and not as costly as you think.

“We are a small team that delivers a personal service on every project. We do our utmost to make the whole process as straightforward as possible with regular communication, professionalism and no unnecessary costs, we are confident you will not find a better service elsewhere.

“We offer an extensive range of products to suit every home and take pride in being able to offer bathroom suites and accessories at affordable prices from supply only to a complete design, supply and installation service, let us revitalise your bathroom space.

“We can also advise on the best floor and wall finishes for your room. We offer many styles, colours and textures to help complete the look of your dream bathroom.

“Finally no room is complete without those finishing touches, we therefore stock a range of candles and bath products to enhance the ambiance of your home.

“Call in and see us and we will be happy to discuss your upcoming product.”

GRANDAD’S SHED
Brigg’s continued success is down, in no small measure, to its range of independent traders who are always willing to track down something different and have built their reputation on offering great customer service.

Among the mix are names like J B Wallhead in Wrawby Street which is probably one of the best known, and longest established, businesses in the town and stocks ladies’ and gentlemen’s country wear, including major brands such as Schoffel and Barbour.

Then there is Grandad’s Shed, also in Wrawby Street, a fascinating home interiors store which has been established in Brigg for more than twenty years and specialises in solid wood furniture, upholstery and accessories including an ever changing choice of lamps, mirrors and prints.

Grandad’s Shed retail manager David Carrick said: “Within the last year, a range of leather and upholstered sofas and armchairs have been introduced which are proving hugely popular, with each piece being made to the customer’s requirements from the choice of leather and fabrics that are available.”

“The company is also extremely well known throughout the area for its quality bespoke service, meaning that a piece of furniture can be made to your exact requirements and dimensions, and can be designed to match your other furniture.

“The personal service that is provided at Grandad’s Shed sees many customers returning on a regular basis.”

Above the shop is The Loft restaurant where you can enjoy anything from a coffee to a full meal including daily specials all of which are prepared using locally sourced ingredients.

“Just a two-minute walk away in the Market Place is the sister business Cafe Courtyard within The Angel which serves drinks and lighter meals including jacket potatoes and paninis,” said David.

GREAT BRITISH HIGH STREET
Being shortlisted as a finalist in the Great British High Street competition at the end of 2015 put Brigg firmly in the retail spotlight and, although it finished runner-up in its category, being selected from 230 towns throughout the UK boosted morale and created an optimistic air among retailers and customers alike.

It was nominated as a finalist because of its innovation, collaborative approach and results, which were evidenced by the halving if its High Street vacancy rate over the previous four years.

The competition led to a huge rush of activity in support of the town and created a teamwork ethic which boded well for 2016.

Nominations for the Great British High Street competition 2016 are now open and the competition is even bigger this year, with ten categories and the opportunity for four individuals to have their hard work recognised and be named ‘High Street Heroes’.

Once the nominations are in, a shortlist will be announced in the autumn and then it will be up to the public to choose their winners and crown the best British high streets.

Deputy Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, Councillor Rob Waltham, said: “Last year Brigg was shortlisted in the village category and, although we did not win the public vote, it was such a fantastic achievement for the town to be recognised on a national level and Brigg should feel very proud.

“We continue to support the high streets across all of North Lincolnshire’s towns and villages through various initiatives: we have extended our free parking, relocated the hospital park and ride and will soon be launching the village shopfront grant scheme.

Now in its third year, the Great British High Street supports those working to revive, adapt and diversify high streets.

Not for profit and government funded, it aims to provide resources for high street regeneration and celebrate innovative work going on in high streets across Britain.

PROFESSIONAL FLOORING COMPANY CELEBRATES
Parkers of Brigg flooring Ltd is a family business which this year celebrates 40 years of providing the local area and beyond with a complete flooring service, from Amtico, vinyls, carpets, woods and laminates to commercial safety flooring, all fitted by an in-house fitting team with a wealth of experience.

“Our sales team can help you choose the right flooring for your home and offer a free planning and measuring service. Come along to visit Parkers where we have an extensive range of carpets including luxury velvets, Axminsters, Wiltons, Twist and Loop pile carpets in wool and manmade fibres, sea grass, coirs and sisals all on display to suit all budgets.

“We carry stock roll carpets from Brintons, Ulster, Kingsmead, Whitestone Weavers and Westex at greatly reduced prices, as well as a large choice of rugs in store or made to measure luxury rugs. We offer wood flooring from Boen, Kahrs, Kersaint Cobb, Tusan, and laminates from Quick Step. We also offer a sanding and re-sealing service to bring your existing wood floor back to nearly new. A large range of cushion flooring, vinyls and safety flooring is also available.

“We supply and fit good quality window blinds including Rollers, Venetians, Verticals and Romans. We also supply Sebo vacuum cleaners, with demonstrations available in store.” Parkers of Brigg is open Monday to Saturday.

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