Despite the troubles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the holes in the budgets caused by government cuts, there has been some good news for our county’s towns and capital city this year.
More than £150 million of funding aimed at levelling up towns and cities across the country has found its way to the Greater Lincolnshire region this year, to go towards major projects in the area and help secure further investment.
Not only that but councils across the area have revealed their own plans for future projects.
In March, a series of Towns Fund deals were announced, including:
- Lincoln – £19 million
- Skegness – £24.5 million
- Mablethorpe – £23.9 million
- Boston – £21.9 million
- Scunthorpe – £20.9 million
- Grimsby – £20.9
While in October £10million for Gainsborough was announced in the chancellor’s budget, with a further £20million set to go to Lincolnshire County Council to improve the A16 corridor between Spalding and Boston.
Despite not receiving any extra cash in that funding round, North and North East Lincolnshire will see the benefits of new freeports along the Humber and at the Port of Hull and Goole.
Freeports are special economic zones with different rules to make it easier and cheaper to do business. They include infrastructure planning, customs and favourable duties and taxes.
It is hoped freeport status will provide greater security for the future of steel making in Scunthorpe as British Steel is allocated as a special “customs” site which will create the conditions to develop a greater competitive edge in global markets by reducing tariffs.
Meanwhile, the area will have the opportunity to develop three types of sites within the designated freeport boundary – customs, tax and seed capital, which are designed to attract new businesses and encourage existing companies to invest.
Below are some of the ways Lincolnshire’s councils benefited:
In Lincolnshire’s capital, a £31 million wishlist of 14 projects included revamps of the Drill Hall, as well as the Barbican Hotel.
Regeneration of the Central Market in the Cornhill Quarter also featured highly.
Money was also planned to go towards a new Hospitality Events and Tourism Institute, in partnership with Lincoln College, and further work in the Sincil Bank area.
Plans included the regeneration of a site on Tentercroft Street as well as transformation of Wigford Way through the centre of the city.
By June, further plans for the redevelopment of the Lincoln Central Market were revealed and approved.
And in December, plans for the next stage of the Cornhill Quarter regeneration were revealed, with a new 150-bedroom hotel and specialist accommodation being built in place of the old City Square shopping arcade.
Projects planned for Skegness include further improvements to the resort’s foreshore, as well as establishing a new further education facility.
The masterplan for the foreshore included the pedestrianisation of Tower Esplanade, a new event arena at the Southern Boating Lake and a new flexible events space on South Parade.
Renovations of the railway station and further transformation projects in the town centre are also a priority, as well as a new multi-user trail, a police training centre, a YMCA and development of the Skegness Gateway to the south of the town.
Alongside the Skegness plans, the Connected Coast Board is also looking to spend money on items including a new £12 million leisure centre .
The money from March was also earmarked for a new transport hub and works on the colonnade at Sutton on Sea.
A new medical and innovation hub is hoped to focus on attracting healthcare professionals and research.
Money will also go towards the Seal Sanctuary and the National Trust at Sandilands.
In all, the board is hoping its plans for Skegness and Mablethorpe will increase connectivity, improve education, spark regeneration and create business.
In Boston, the projects included the development of a local radio station and media outlet “championing Boston” and broadcasting information about the town in a bid to “boost” its image.
It also had plans to transform the town centre and create a key gateway through funding public realm and green space improvements.
Money was also proposed for “smart home” solutions as well as the conservation of St Botolph’s Church and Library.
Investment in the Trinity Centre will see the building refurbished for better use by church and community groups, while a new Centre for Food and Fresh Produce Logistics is planned.
All of this is on top of regeneration plans across the PE21 postcode and investments in Blenkin Memorial Hall, Shodfriars and Boston Train Station.
Boston is also one of two choices for a new “Museum of Brexit” – with the other being Peterborough. It was chosen from a shortlist of 50 initial locations.
In December, council leaders submitted an application for the town to be granted city status ahead of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.
Leaders cited the town’s recent growth in the food industry, plus the investment from the Boston Town Deal fund. The application emphasised history and heritage and its connections with twinned partner places across the globe.
It is hoped the move, if successful, will lead to bigger regeneration and promotion programmes that will continue in the future.
North Lincolnshire leaders focused their investments on creating an advanced manufacturing park with four million sq ft of space which is hoped will attract world-class engineering firms to the area.
Nearly 2,000 ‘well-paid, high-skilled and sustainable’ jobs are set be created at the site located west of the M181 off the junction of the new northern junction.
It is to be developed in the location allocated by the Lincolnshire Lakes Area Action Plan as a “strategic mixed-use area”. The Advanced Manufacturing Park is part of the wider Lincolnshire Lakes development.
Further development will include the town’s cultural quarter in and around Church Square and progressing work on a health and emergency services hub.
The development of around 500 new homes in the town and a skills development programme will be designed to ensure local people are best placed to take advantage of all the new opportunities.
Around £35 million has so far been committed by government for Scunthorpe through the Town Deal and Future High Streets Fund, plus £12 million for the Burringham Bypass connectivity improvements on the M181, £14 million for flood defence on the River Trent, and £35 million for the new pumping station at Keadby.
The Greater Grimsby Board’s list of priority projects included the development of a new public area at Riverhead Square along with better pedestrian and cycle loops connecting the town to Alexandra Dockside.
Council leaders hope the plans will make better use of the waterfront, and provide a canopied events space with new landscaping, lighting, signage, a river footbridge, and street furniture. Work to improve the water quality in and around the Riverhead area is also being explored.
The Towns Fund would also go towards the next phase of a new major residential waterfront community off Garth Lane, as well as refurbishment of the Central Library and the development of Victoria Mill Quarter.
The board also wanted to complete further regeneration of St James’ Quarter in the town.