Grimsby Docks heritage scheme funding ends - but council hopes to get more cash

A restored building in Auckland Road, Grimsby Docks
A restored building in Auckland Road, Grimsby Docks -Credit:North East Lincolnshire Council

A funding scheme to invest in historic assets around Grimsby Docks area has ended but the council and partners are applying for more cash.

The 'PSiCA' (Partnership Schemes in Conservation Areas) fund has been delivered as part of the Greater Grimsby Heritage Action Zone. It began in 2019 with a pot of £1m, a joint project between Historic England and North East Lincolnshire Council. Associated British Ports (ABP) and the council’s regeneration partner Equans have also supported it.

The five-year fund has supported an array of initiatives, from Creative Start’s Great Escape, to Turntable Gallery (building 88), the Creative Start building expansion, and Alfred Enderby smokehouse, which has more recently had a full schedule of works. The council is working on an application for a further PSiCA funding round, with Historic England and ABP.

Read More:

The fund that has ended saw 16 grants awarded, 19 buildings improved, and more than 3,600m2 of commercial space improved or created. 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."

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 borne by the organisation occupying the space.

Steve and Caroline Ridlington of WE1 Heritage have renovated nine properties, offering workspaces and studios to artists, small businesses, and Blue Chip companies. With PSiCA’s help, they also renovated ‘Coffee on the Docks’, a popular café space in 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."

Ice Factory works and PSiCA 2

"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," said Dr Jackson. She name-checked plans to restore and convert the Ice Factory into a 1,000 capacity conference venue and office space. There will also be an adjacent hotel. Both are the work of developer Tom Shutes.

Dr Jackson stated work at the Ice Factory is "well underway". Grimsby Live has had it confirmed that remedial works on the Ice Factory are taking place and relate to earlier planning permissions preceding the conversion one.

Creative Start's The Great Escape has been funded by PSiCA cash
Creative Start's The Great Escape has been funded by PSiCA cash -Credit:North East Lincolnshire Council

Council leader Cllr Philip Jackson shared enthusiasm for PSiCA to re-occur. He 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."

Within the wider 'Kasbah Remade' regeneration programme, PSiCA has generated new opportunities to access and appreciate the area’s heritage. These include Heritage Open Days events. In 2023, these saw approximately 2,000 visitors to the area. These return in September, with details expected this summer.

Simon Bird, ABP's regional director for the Humber ports, said it was delighted to be involved in the scheme. "We are creating a rich fabric of businesses very different to the purpose the buildings began life as." He added: "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." There was more to do, and Heritage England looked forward to continue working with ABP, the council and other organisations.