December 26, 2021 6.00 am

Reflections 2021: Philip Jackson – Opportunity will outweigh our challenge as we look to a bright future

North East Lincolnshire Leader looks at the resilience of the borough

By North East Lincolnshire Council Leader

North East Lincolnshire continues to face unprecedented times. The uncertainly that this dreadful pandemic has brought with it has affected us all to a greater or lesser extent. However, as individual communities, we have united and have explored new ways of working, new ways of living and new ways of coming together.

What we have also achieved is a fresh determination to find ambition and opportunity, despite the significant hurdles we have faced and will continue to face.

Over the last 12 months in North East Lincolnshire we have seen many opportunities come our way and that will continue into 2022 and beyond as we look to support our communities – both the people and the businesses. These opportunities will allow us to provide a better future for our young people and families, which we need if we are to continue to develop and grow.

Twelve months has seen tremendous change in some parts of our borough, proof of a willingness to ‘make things happen’. Working with partners in the public and private sector, the transformation of Grimsby Town Centre has begun and will continue.

Our first Festival of the Sea was held across the town centre and showed just how we can blend our maritime past with our future to create a cultural extravaganza. Keep your eyes out on social media and the news for details of the event this summer along with others in Grimsby town centre.

Work hasn’t stopped there, and 2022 will see our urban transformation continue as money secured from various Government and private sector funds is invested.

Alongside this, work will start on the Grimsby Youth Zone in the heart of our town centre, located in the West Haven Malting, a Grade 2 listed building that has been derelict for a generation. This project is representative of this borough’s drive to invest in our children and young people. They are our adults of tomorrow, and we are determined to overcome the challenges that we have within areas of our community to improve the opportunities for them.

With Cleethorpes fast becoming the jewel in the East Coast’s crown, we have plans to further invest in the resort and were delighted to welcome the internationally known Wayne Hemingway to lead the development of a visionary masterplan.

Within all of the above we are threading the environmental and green agenda. As a world-leading hub for renewable energy, North East Lincolnshire hosts some of the leading ‘green’ firms – taking advantage of our unique positioning along the South Humber Bank for their operations and maintenance activity.

Myenergi, a Lincolnshire-grown company leading the way in the design of renewable energy products, has its new headquarters at our multi-million-pound Pioneer Business Park. This stands alongside our award-winning ecological mitigation site Cress Marsh. Such activity is attracting new business and projects of international importance, all of which continues to push our area to the fore.

The re-invention of North East Lincolnshire and our main towns of Grimsby, Cleethorpes and Immingham will be determined by our ability to succeed on an industrial, commercial and social level. It will not be easy, and we must overcome challenges that will continue into 2022 and beyond. But our desire to work with our partners and our community is real and we will continue to push for positive change.

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Philip Jackson is the North East Lincolnshire Council leader