As work continues on the most ambitious industrial development project of its kind in North East Lincolnshire, commercial agents and developers have been told of the ‘early signs of success’.
And, said those responsible for SHIIP (South Humber Industrial Investment Programme), by working together with associated business professionals, the £42-million development would provide the key that unlocks the future success of the area.
At the first of a new round of briefings North East Lincolnshire Council, and its regeneration partner ENGIE, invited delegates to the site of a new £8-million Humber Link Road, to see how work is now progressing. As reported the new 2.5km road, linking the Ports of Grimsby and Immingham as a quicker and alternative route to the A180, is one part of the three-spoke SHIIP scheme.
The longest section of the road, a completely new stretch from a roundabout outside South Humber Power Station will be completed by Christmas with the adjoining stretch to Moody Lane, Grimsby completed in two phases, by summer 2020.
SHIIP project manager Winston Phillips explained how this would ‘open up’ previously inaccessible pieces of development land, which sit within current enterprise zones along the South Humber bank. With cycle and bus lanes constructed, the highway would also improve journeys for employees and cut vehicle travel times from Grimsby to Immingham by more than 20-minutes.
Winston then outlined the other two spokes of SHIIP, one of which was the development of a new 94-hectare Stallingborough Industrial Park, with associated infrastructure and road improvement works, and the other being a significant draw for new business – the creation of the largest mitigation site in Europe.
The latter, he explained, took away the need for new businesses and developers to go through the process of having to sort, locate and offset land for birdlife, which took as long as 18-months.
“SHIIP is strategic by nature, simple in its operation and will enable rapid decisions. This is about investing in the future and working with our partners and colleagues. Everyone will share in the success, and there are already early signs that this is happening,” he added.
The SHIIP project, supported by funding from the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (HLEP), the Greater Lincolnshire LEP (GGLEP) and the European Regional Development Fund, (ERDF), is being marketed across the nation under the South Humber brand. Inward investment marketing expert Nick Smillie presented research proving that South Humber is Britain’s ‘Best Industrial Base’ with a real opportunity for SHIIP to attract new sector clusters in areas such as advanced manufacturing.
“This is about changing perceptions of this area and when you look into the data regarding the quality of the workforce it is very impressive. If you then look at this alongside what is now happening with SHIIP there is now a very powerful proposition,” said Nick.
Proximity to the ports, and South Humber and North East Lincolnshire’s central UK position were also identified as positives.
Supporting SHIIP, delegates highlighted one barrier to speculative development in North East Lincolnshire was the low returns on newly constructed buildings. The land costs may be cheaper than in other areas, but the returns on any investment were still lower due to the rental/saleable values. However, with industrial and commercial premises now in shorter supply in areas such as the East Midlands and Hull, there were signs this could change.
Positioning, differentiating the area and focusing on strengths were essential, they said. They added how businesses were attracted by good infrastructure, good connectivity and reliable project delivery.