By North East Lincolnshire Council Leader

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been the most unusual year many of us can remember in our lifetimes.

With the promise of a COVID vaccine on the horizon, and the potential that might bring for 2021 and beyond, I’m sure many people will be glad to see the back of 2020 and, whilst it may still be a few months away, a return to a life that feels a little more like normal.

I must applaud not only all the staff in the NHS and care systems for looking after our loved ones at this particularly difficult time, but also the people of our borough for taking the steps to protect others, for working through the pandemic as key workers, and for carrying on, getting the job done.

And at the same time, I’d also like to say an enormous thank you to our own staff at the council- from our waste crews, to our care workers and our back office teams, who have collectively played a huge role in keeping the borough safe, well and on track during the last 12 months.

While life during the pandemic has felt very different, work in North East Lincolnshire has been continuing, albeit with a slight hiatus in the first national lockdown.

Renewable industries is clearly one of our future economic strengths. Looking to the Government’s plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, and retaining out place as a world market leader in offshore wind Operations and Maintenance activity, it’s clear we have a major part to play, not just locally, but nationally.

More locally, since the beginning of the year, our regeneration schemes in Cleethorpes and Grimsby have been coming on apace, with the substantive works across Cleethorpes finishing in the summer.

More than £7 million has been spent across the resort so far, with money secured through various grants. We now have our key tourist hotspots looking clean and open, ready to welcome visitors to the resort.

We know that 2021 will be a difficult year for tourism, but by concentrating on our domestic market, taking the opportunity to promote our staycation offer is something we can capitalise on in the coming months.

Meanwhile, in Grimsby, the reinvention of the town has been continuing. Work has almost completed on two major projects: the remodelling of St James Square and the Garth Lane project. Re-modelling the landscape to create spaces for relaxation. Both projects are due to finish in the early part of 2021, and will make a significant difference to how the centre of town looks.

Meanwhile, next to the Garth Lane scheme, a converted Grade II listed West Haven Maltings building will become home to the new Youth Zone. When complete by the end of 2022, a ‘new haven’ will be created for thousands of young people, providing them with somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to, seven days a week.

Alongside the schemes already on the ground, plans have been submitted to Government to be part of the Future High Streets Fund and the Towns Funds, plans totalling £50 million so far. And the Cultural Development Fund work, Grimsby Creates, will be delivering some great activities in the town in 2020 and beyond.
Outside of the key towns, work on the multi-strand £42 million South Humber Industrial Investment Programme is ongoing: a new business park is being created just off the A180 near Immingham, and the first building nearly completed for new tenants, myEnergi; highway works will be completed in the new year on a brand new road to connect the major ports of Grimsby and Immingham; and an award-winning ecological site is maturing to offset development in the area.

We sit on the brink of major opportunities here and it is the responsibility of ourselves, our stakeholders and partners to ensure they don’t slip through our grasp. If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s shown us that by working together, we can do so much more than by working alone.

Philip Jackson is the North East Lincolnshire Council leader

By North East Lincolnshire Council Leader

2019 has certainly been a year of change in North East Lincolnshire, a year of listening to local people. And a year of progress.

Since taking over North East Lincolnshire Council in May, we’ve pressed forward on changes to long-standing schemes throughout the borough, revitalising our local economy.

While continuing to press ahead with partners on various aspects of the Town Deal, including the OnSide Youth Zone, in December, we also approved plans for Garth Lane in Grimsby.

Meanwhile, in Cleethorpes, we’ve been working on a £7.2m regeneration programme. We’re about half way through the changes, having completed works to the High Street and Sea View Street so far, as well as starting work on the public art programme on the North Prom to help attract visitors to that part of the resort. Visionary plans for a derelict site on Sea Road will be taken forward to improve that key site, directly opposite our iconic pier. A mix of funding through a range of partners has meant that we can bring all these schemes together to really make a difference to our resort.

We’ve also input into the proposals for St James Square and those in Cleethorpes to make sure the plans that were approved and are being delivered addressed the concerns people and businesses raised. We listened to feedback and acted on it.

The South Humber Industrial Investment Scheme, SHIIP, is well underway now, with the link road meeting its milestones and likely to be completed next autumn. The mitigation site is now established, and this is the first proper winter where we’ll see overwintering wildlife in this new area. And we’re seeing planning being approved for several industrial developments within the wider SHIIP area with more in the pipeline. SHIIP will be pivotal to making sure this council starts to pull in the business rates it needs to be sustainable as well as generating more jobs.

Aside from our own plans, we have had major discussions with other key players in local industries – from long standing food manufacturers in our community, to the newer sustainable energy industries. Companies are seeing the developments and our visions come to reality, and are seeing Grimsby and North East Lincolnshire as a place to base themselves and grow.

Meanwhile, on highways schemes, we’ve had good conversations with the housing developer at Toll Bar roundabout, meaning we’ve been able to consider different scheme options this year. Once agreed, this long-standing issue will be dealt with next year, before Christmas. In the short term, a toucan crossing has been installed to make the junction safer for school children to use. An average of around 23500 cars use the junction each day, with 700 school children using the crossing each school day, so this crossing was brought forward to help immediately improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists crossing to and from Toll Bar Academy.

Additionally, we’ve been able to bring forward initiatives such as removing the bus lane at Scartho Road to improve traffic flows, replacing the roundabout at the busy Sea Road junction in Cleethorpes, and early in the new year, will be on site to do the necessary safety improvement works on the A18 and at Little Coates Junction. 2020 will also see the first council houses being completed in many years at Convamore Road – building local homes for local people.

In terms of our waste service, we’ve made improvements to waste and recycling and are currently consulting on longer term options to potentially get rid of the much maligned three box recycling system. We’ve brought in bigger and better litter bins across key parts of our borough to improve how our streets look, helping people to get rid of their litter easier.

Turning to tourism, we’ve had a bumper year this year. As well as the long standing and well supported events such as our brilliant Armed Forces Day, this year also saw the amazing Festival of the Sky, a feast of colour and arts, developed just for Cleethorpes. Not only that, but our wonderful beach returned to Blue Flag status – something we should be proud of.

As a whole council, we approved a resolution on the Climate Emergency – something that affects not only us but future generations. In terms of practical steps, we’ve replaced all street lamps with more efficient LED lamp, installed solar panels on public buildings, we’re making the transition to an electric fleet and providing grants and support to businesses through the SMART Energy programme. There will inevitably be more to do as we encourage other people to take up the mantle and act.

Looking forward to next year, we want to develop closer working relationships with partners across the Greater Lincolnshire area. Building on the success of our long established shared service arrangements, this has already seen us develop some new household waste disposal to power arrangements with our colleagues with North Lincolnshire; that partnership of working and sharing of opportunities will continue to grow into 2020 and beyond, not only with North Lincolnshire, but also with Lincolnshire County Council.

There will be a raft of schemes and programmes on the ground in the New Year, regenerating our communities. It’s not a short term fix, but a long term change that will help to create the environment where people and businesses can grow together.

And finally, from a personal and political perspective, I’d also like to take this opportunity to congratulate our two Conservative MPs, Martin Vickers, who was re-elected in Cleethorpes and Lia Nici, one of our own councilors, who won the Great Grimsby seat earlier this month.

Their election will provide a great opportunity to work together to take the area forward and argue our case directly into Westminster- I very much look forward to having their direct line into Boris…

Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year to all our residents, businesses and visitors.

Philip Jackson is the North East Lincolnshire Council leader