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Historic buildings scheme comes to an end with hopes for further funding in the future

Stuart

5/13/2024 1:08:31 PM

Business

3 mins read

A HUGELY successful scheme investing in heritage assets around the historic quarter of the Port of Grimsby recently came to an end, but with hopes that funding may be found for a “PSiCA Phase Two”.

The “PSiCA” (Partnership Schemes in Conservation Areas) fund has been delivered as part of the Greater Grimsby Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) and has supported projects such as Creative Start’s Great Escape, Turntable Gallery (building 88), the Creative Start building expansion, and Alfred Enderby smokehouse, which has more recently undergone a full schedule of works.  In total, 16 grants have been awarded, 19 buildings improved, and more than 3,600m2 of commercial space has been improved or created.

The PSiCA scheme began with a total pot of £1m, and has been a joint project between Historic England and North East Lincolnshire Council, with support from Associated British Ports (ABP) and the council’s regeneration partner Equans.  The five-year grant scheme began in 2019 and officially finished in January 2024, but several of the bigger projects supported by PSiCA ran into late March.

PSiCA grants have been awarded to assist projects, businesses, and organisations with structural repairs, brickwork repair and repointing, window and door repairs, new rainwater goods, and reinstating lost historic features.  Any internal work must be carried out at the expense of the business or charity occupying the space.

Dr Stella Jackson, Regeneration Project Manager, said: “We are very happy with what we have achieved as a group since 2019, particularly working in difficult conditions during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Our aim was to halt any further deterioration to the buildings, bringing them back into use, and creating local jobs.  The knock-on effect has been the promotion of the historic dock area’s heritage, new facilities, an improved environment for people that work in the area and, of course, a strengthening of ties across the wider community.

“We are hopeful for a continuation of PSiCA as we move through 2024, particularly as the original scheme’s end comes at a time when there is much attention on the dock.  Work being undertaken by businessman Tom Shutes is well underway at the Ice Factory, which will ultimately become a conference venue and office spaces, while ABP has its sights on the creation of a film quarter with proposed purpose-built studios.  A hotel, proposed to be sited next to the Ice Factory, will also make a significant difference to the area.

“From a PSiCA perspective, this is already generating further interest in the historic area of the dock, encouraging people across this sector to look at many of the buildings as possibilities for their businesses.”

Creative organisations are the dominant sector to have utilised the PSiCA grant scheme to date, along with Enderby’s smokehouse and the Peterson’s project.  Steve and Caroline Ridlington of WE1 Heritage have renovated nine properties, offering workspaces and studios to artists, small businesses, and Blue Chip companies.  They also, with PSiCA’s help, renovated ‘Coffee on the Docks’, a popular café space on Auckland Road with a rustic interior.

Steve commented earlier: “This is an amazing place to be, you are surrounded by so much rich history and the architecture is so inspiring.  This is a really exciting time for Grimsby, and we feel privileged to be associated with the scheme and its partners.”

As part of the wider ‘Kasbah Remade’ programme of regeneration, the scheme has also generated new opportunities to access and appreciate the area’s heritage and contribute to its ‘sense of place’, including Heritage Open Days events which, in 2023, saw approximately 2,000 visitors to the area. The Heritage Open Days return in September, look out for details in the summer!

Simon Bird, ABP’s Regional Director for the Humber ports, has been keen to see the area emerge as a vibrant place for people to work.  He said: “We’re delighted to be involved in this scheme and to see the wonderful transformation of the buildings, some for great purposes, which is truly inspirational. We are creating a rich fabric of businesses very different to the purpose the buildings began life as.

“The Heritage Open Days on the port have proved very popular and it’s a great opportunity to showcase the amazing work that is being achieved here. We know more great things are yet to happen as we drive our vision for a film quarter on site.”

David Walsh, the principal adviser for partnerships at Historic England said: “We are delighted to see the fantastic progress made on the historic docks by local people, businesses and organisations as part of this scheme. They have led the way in regenerating the Kasbah conservation area and reviving the sense of community and life that has always existed on the docks.

“North East Lincolnshire Council has done a great job as lead partner, with support from Associated British Ports. The development of the Ice Factory will also have a huge impact on the docks.

“There is much more to do and more opportunities to grasp to further regenerate the area. We look forward to continuing to work with North East Lincolnshire Council, Associated British Ports and other partners to help make the historic docks a vital commercial hub in Grimsby once again.”

Leader of the Council, Cllr Philip Jackson, said: “PSiCA has been a fantastic scheme, bringing many of our historic buildings back to life, and others much improved.

“With big plans for the dock in the pipeline, we hope that ‘PSiCA 2’ becomes a reality, adding to the brilliant work already completed by this project to date, and preserving our town’s rich fishing history for future generations.”

For more information on PSiCA and the wider Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) and Kasbah schemes, visit: www.investnel.co.uk/developments/grimsby-developments/kasbah.

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