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Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the June 2019 issue

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2019 has already brought challenges for Scunthorpe but new investments are brightening the horizons, not only for its residents but for its business and retail sectors too, as Melanie Burton discovers.

Work is underway for a new retail park as well as a new business park and the town is already enjoying the benefits of a brand-new market. On top of that the town’s major companies have secured a number of multi-million-pound national contracts which will help drive regeneration throughout the area.

The new retail park project has been approved for the site of the former Yorkshire Electricity depot off the Queensway and it will include Scunthorpe’s second Lidl supermarket.

The second unit is expected to be filled by a discount retailer like B&M or Poundland and it is hoped the shops will create at least 40 jobs.

The plans had originally been on track to be approved by North Lincolnshire Council in December, but were deferred for a site visit.

The Lidl supermarket, which adds to an existing store on Doncaster Road, will cover an area of 23,700 sq ft and is to boast facilities including an in-store bakery, customer toilets and parking for bicycles.

A total of 218 car parking spaces will also be created at the new retail park.

Several attempts to convert the brownfield site into housing have been attempted over the years but failed to gain planning permission.

Work is also progressing on the redevelopment of the former Toys ‘R’ Us unit on the Gallagher Retail Park in the town. The building, which closed last March after the toy retailer’s UK operation went into administration, will be transformed into three separate shop units which could bring more than 100 jobs.

Planning permission was given in January for the conversion of the Toys ‘R’ Us building, with the project also to include a rear extension to the service yard, the installation of a mezzanine floor and changes to the car park. The application, submitted by property agent Savills on behalf of investor RPMI Railpen, said a total of 106 full-time jobs would be created.

The new Sawcliffe Industrial Park is to be located off Hargreaves Way and will consist of eight business units varying in size offering affordable and functional commercial space.

Traders and shops are already reporting a huge boost in trade and footfall since the town’s new St John’s Market opened in March following a multi-million-pound investment by North Lincolnshire Council to relocate the market to a more prominent position in the town centre.

More than sixty traders have been trading at the brand-new market and many traders that moved from Scunthorpe Market have reported an increase in their trade due to the move.

Gail Green, from Gail’s Handbags, had been trading on Scunthorpe Market for years before making the move to St John’s.

She said: “Even aside from the people coming just for the newness and excitement of the opening, I still think the footfall is going to be about double what it used to be.

“I’ve had a lot more trade than I expected. I would say we are doing about triple what we were at the old market.”

Bakery stall Teasdales has also seen a boost in trade and footfall. Manager Sophie Ketteringham said: “We were at the old site but now we’re doing sandwiches and cooked meats and a bigger range of cream cakes and things because we have a better display area. We’ve done really well.

“We’ve seen thousands more people – especially on a Friday and Saturday – there’s just a sea of people.”

More new traders have expressed an interest in starting up in St John’s Market and there are now around ten traders on a waiting list for stalls on both floors.

The popularity of St John’s Market has also provided a boost for other shops and businesses in The Parishes, The Foundry and across the town centre.

Ashleigh Lamming, store manager at Costa Coffee in The Parishes, said: “It’s been really good for us, because before that opened we didn’t really know if this shop would last much longer. Now, since the market opened, our takings have gone up massively, to the point where we’ve been able to take more staff on as well. A lot more people are coming down this area now.”

The council transformed the former BHS store on Jubilee Way into a contemporary market offering bespoke stalls, celebrating the area’s retail heritage.

On the ground floor there are a variety of butchers, greengrocers, fishmongers and bakers, as well as jewellery, accessories, toys, books, music and hairdressers.

The Food Court is located on the first floor selling everything from paninis and Indian food to desserts and alcohol. It has a large communal area for eating, drinking and socialising.

A range of stalls can also be found on the first floor including fashion, homeware, cosmetics, sweets, accessories and babywear – plus much more.

North Lincolnshire Council secured nearly £4m from Greater Lincolnshire LEP for the Scunthorpe town centre infrastructure improvements which included acquisition of the new St John’s Market building.

Cllr Rob Waltham, Leader of North Lincolnshire Council said: “The market looks fantastic and offers a completely different shopping experience for visitors.

“We kept our promise to open up a new market and we have delivered that following a multi-million-pound investment.”

Tourism is also set for a boost following the launch of a new partnership aimed at supporting the visitor sector.

The North Lincolnshire Tourism Partnership aims to grow the thriving visitor economy, enhance the visitor experience and maximise visitor numbers, increasing spend and the number of overnight stays in the area.

Tourism and visitors to North Lincolnshire generated around £180m for the local economy in 2017, and the sector supports 2,300 jobs on average

More than sixty local businesses attended the launch event to find out more and join the partnership, with around a dozen signing up on the day.

Cllr Elaine Marper, cabinet member responsible for tourism on North Lincolnshire Council, said: “The Tourism Partnership will support the visitor sector in North Lincolnshire and help our local businesses reach their full potential.

“Tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK, and the Partnership will provide the right conditions to support that growth in North Lincolnshire.

“In 2017, North Lincolnshire welcomed 3.2 million visitors. Our ambition is to grow that to four million over the next twenty years, and we can only do that by working with all our tourism businesses and venues, big and small.”

Scunthorpe’s major industrial companies have all had reason to celebrate recently after securing multi-million-pound contracts.

Construction giant Clugston Group is to build a new £210 million energy from waste plant as part of a joint venture in Scotland.

Together with long-standing process engineering plant specialist partner CNIM, it will bring forward the Earls Gate Energy Centre in Grangemouth.

When complete in 2021, it will convert 216,000 tonnes of waste – the equivalent of around 20 per cent of Scotland’s total landfilled household waste – into energy, producing 79 gigawatt hours (GWh) of green electricity and 81GWh of heat in the form of steam each year.

As such, it will become a source of green, low-cost energy for businesses located in the area such as chemical manufacturer and site service provider CalaChem, which has entered into a long-term energy supply agreement for the offtake of electricity and steam produced by the facility.

Under the arrangement Clugston will provide all the building and civil engineering services to support and encapsulate plant by French team CNIM.

The facility is expected to make a significant contribution to supporting Scotland’s biodegradable municipal waste landfill ban, which is due to come into effect from January 2021. Construction of the main facility is due to start imminently, with late 2021 an operational goal.

British Steel’s Scunthorpe headquarters has been shortlisted to become a Heathrow airport logistics hub which will be used to pre-assemble and consolidate components before transporting them to Heathrow as it builds its third runway.

BRITCON ENGINEERING SERVICES
Scunthorpe-based Britcon Engineering Services has secured two new railway upgrade contracts worth a total of £1.4 million as part of the biggest investment programme ever carried out on Britain’s rail network since Victorian times.

The structural steelwork specialist has been awarded a £900,000 contract to support a station redevelopment at Mexborough near Doncaster and a £500,000 contract as part of the complete refurbishment and modernisation of Market Harborough Station.

Both schemes are part of Network Rail’s multi-billion-pound railway upgrade plan which includes new lines, upgraded stations, electrification and signalling.

Britain’s railway network is the most congested in Europe and in the last twenty years the number of people travelling on the rail network has doubled so the rail network, stations and platforms are dealing with more passengers than they were ever designed for.

Network Rail’s railway plan includes national schemes of work that will allow longer, faster and more frequent trains to run, so it can meet the increasing demand for rail services.

The £900,000 contract issued by Construction Marine Ltd, will see Britcon supply all steel materials and fabrication drawings as part of the ‘Access for All’ upgrade at Mexborough station where a 15m span footbridge, stair structures and 160m ramps on both sides of the track are being provided.

The restricted nature of the site, with limited evening track possessions for installation, means Britcon will trial assemble the bridge, its support towers and stair assemblies in its own stockyard and store in Scunthorpe then deliver them to the Ferry Boat Lane station in the sequence they are to be erected.

The £500,000 contract, instructed by Amey Ltd, is for Britcon to provide a 15m span link bridge, stair enclosures and two lift-shafts as a new access to a redundant platform being reactivated at Market Harborough station.

Again, to minimise site working during limited track possession periods, Britcon has allowed for cladding of the bridge, stairs and lift shafts off site, to be installed during a series of night-time possessions.

The fabrication for both projects incorporated all Network Rail standard protection specifications such as anti-trip nosings, corduroy deck inserts on the stairs for the visually impaired as well as a bespoke handrail/balustrade system.

Britcon’s estimating manager, Peter Redfern, said the company was pleased to secure the contracts and remained a recognised and prominent contractor to the Network Rail upgrade programme.

“Our expertise in the rail sector spans many decades and our capacity to trial assemble components off site significantly helps the restrictions imposed by limited access for installation,” he said. “All of our fabrications conform to exacting Network Rail standards and CE level 3 accreditation.”

The contracts come on top of the recent completion of a £1 million project to provide new structural steelwork for the creation of a new station at Ilkeston, Derbyshire, a £480,000 steelwork upgrade project for Carillion at Doncaster Station, and a £540,000 project for Balfour Beatty at Abbeywood Station, south east London.

Britcon is one of the UK’s most successful and progressive construction and development businesses in the north of England.

Established for nearly thirty years as a family owned business, it has an impressive and diverse client portfolio. The business directly employs more than 100 people in its team and maintains an operating turnover of £50 million.

FIRST CLASS LOCATION
British Steel’s Scunthorpe headquarters could become a Heathrow airport logistics hub. It has been named on a new shortlist of 18 potential sites to host one of the facilities.

Heathrow is looking to open four hubs across the UK to spread the economic benefits of the expansion and last year visited 65 sites bidding to host one of the hubs.

After a strict vetting process, it selected the shortlist of contenders who will now be invited to formally submit.

Gerald Reichmann, British Steel’s chief financial officer and deputy CEO, said: “The creation of a Heathrow logistics hub at our Scunthorpe site would help drive economic regeneration throughout Yorkshire and the Humber so we’re delighted.

“Along with the first-class location, logistics and services we can bring, one of our key strengths is the calibre of our partners and we look forward to working with them to help our region benefit from the incredible opportunity Heathrow expansion brings.”

The new hubs will maximise the opportunities for businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, to become key partners in delivering Heathrow’s new runway. Throughout the region more than 12,000 people are already employed in British Steel’s supply chain and this figure could rise significantly with a successful bid.

Heathrow spends in excess of £1.5 billion annually with more than 1,200 suppliers from across the UK and with expansion there’s an opportunity for their roles to grow and for new innovative suppliers to be identified.

Heathrow’s executive director for expansion, Emma Gilthorpe, said expansion plans were progressing apace and continued to be refined thanks to feedback from a wide range of stakeholders.

“Heathrow is as committed as ever to creating a plan that delivers for every corner of the UK,” she said. “Logistics hubs are key to achieving that. This innovative approach will be more cost-effective, efficient and sustainable, helping to unlock much needed capacity quickly and responsibly.

“Logistics hubs are also integral to harnessing the skills the UK needs post-Brexit. We are working with other major infrastructure projects to see if they might also benefit from these hubs, creating a bright, new future for the UK’s construction sector.”

The four locations chosen to host hubs are scheduled to be announced in early 2020, ahead of work starting in 2021.

Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin said: “The benefits of a Heathrow Logistics Hub in Scunthorpe would be felt across the whole region and I wholeheartedly believe this area can not only deliver a first-class location but the exemplary levels of skills and service Heathrow requires.”

And UK Steel director general, Gareth Stace said: “As one of the UK’s largest infrastructure projects, the Heathrow expansion is a hugely important prospect for steel producers.

“British Steel has the ability to play a significant role, both as a supplier and logistics hub host. Heathrow’s commitment to follow the public guidelines on steel procurement, maximising opportunities for UK steel companies, is to be applauded. We encourage all private infrastructure projects to copy this example.”

Simon Green, North Lincolnshire Council deputy chief executive and executive director of commercial, also welcomed the news. “This is excellent for both British Steel and North Lincolnshire, a fine example of public and private sectors working together,” he said.

Mick Lochran, Principal of North Lindsey College which is opening a new University Campus for North Lincolnshire, said: “The number of highly-skilled people in this area continues to grow at pace and as the largest provider of post-16 education and training in North Lincolnshire, we’re committed to supporting British Steel’s bid and ensuring this region’s economy and people flourish.”

British Steel is a world leader in the production of long steel products with facilities across the UK and France, supplying premium products around the world.

STUNNING, UNIQUE WEDDINGS AT THE HISTORIC HIRST PRIORY
Hirst Priory is a Grade II listed mansion house nestling in 14 acres of private grounds and surrounded by the 135-acre Lincolnshire Golf Course on the Isle of Axholme.

Now renovated and restored to an exceptional standard by renowned local builders Britcon UK, this atmospheric and delightful building provides a stunning venue for boutique weddings.

With an eye for heritage detail, and showcasing luxury fixtures and fittings, wedding parties want for nothing as they enjoy their special day in this charming building.

Popular with many guests, and a dream for wedding photographs, is the enchanting woodland clearing found in the grounds of the Priory. Perfect for those wanting an outdoor ceremony, vows are taken under the canopy of the mansion house’s magnificent trees. Choose this setting at night, and the bows twinkle with fairy lights.

If country home interiors are more your style, then Hirst Priory’s sweeping staircase is a must see. Thoughtfully and sympathetically restored, the staircase is picture perfect, with its elegant chandelier and feature ornate mirror.

Or for those couples looking for something a little cosier and truly unique, the Priory’s stunning vaulted cellar rooms make for an unforgettable wedding day experience.

Whatever your chosen experience, the Priory and its landscaped grounds are entirely yours throughout your special day and stay.

Spaces for 2019 weddings are limited but still available, as are 2020 dates, and the team at Hirst Priory would like to extend a warm welcome to future wedding parties for the Open Evening on Wednesday 17th July from 4pm to 8pm.

The seven new bespoke en-suite bedrooms will be available to view and the main hall will be dressed for a wedding with expertise provided by Blush venue décor.

NEW BUSINESS PARK
A major new business park is on the cards for Scunthorpe after planners gave the green light to the first phase of the development on a site to the north of the town.

Lincolnshire Wolds based Goodwin & Tucker Ltd, via its principal contractor – Market Rasen’s Evergreen Group UK Ltd – is behind the multi-million-pound 8.5 acre Sawcliffe Industrial Park scheme which it is hoped will attract scores of businesses to the area.

Phase One provides eight business units varying in size from 800 to 2,000 sq ft complete with secure yard.

The site, off Hargreaves Way, is bordered by the DEM Manufacturing and Skymark facilities, to the north, BOC Gases to the south and Holme Steel Fabricators to the west.

The company plans to develop the industrial estate by creating commercial space that is affordable, functional and makes a bold design statement. Offices and heavy industrial opportunities could follow in further phases, with the developers open to adaptations to suit users.

Sean Tucker, director of Evergreen Group UK, said: “The proposed development would give businesses control to shape their unit to their needs.

“We understand that every business is unique and has a diverse range of requirements, and we are happy to provide a variety of rental options right through to straightforward freehold purchases.

“We have worked closely with the council and AM2 Architects to provide a place to work that embraces architectural statement and commercial viability.”

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