Prime Minister talks up ‘ambitious’ Grimsby improvement plans
24th October 2017
The Prime Minister has encouraged Grimsby leaders to continue with their “ambitious” regeneration plans for the town.
Theresa May made the comments in response to a question by Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, in which he requested more support for a “town-deal” to boost the North East Lincolnshire economy.
Entrepreneurs, top officials and North East Lincolnshire Council are working on a 10-year Greater Grimsby Project which is aiming to bolster the local economy by than £216million per year.
The plan is to create up to 5,400 jobs across Grimsby’s revitalised ports and waterways, while also building 7,700 new homes and improving the residential and leisure offer in the town.
It is being spearheaded by Grimsby-born millionaire and Carphone Warehouse founder David Ross , along with ex-Chancellor Norman Lamont and the former civil service chief, Lord Bob Kerslake, with the board looking for a five-year investment plan of up to £36.9m from central government.
Mrs May said: “I recognise and understand that ambitious regeneration plans are being developed by the Greater Grimsby Project Board.
“I welcome that because it is based on a very strong private-public sector approach.”
The Conservative Party leader said she was aware that “positive meetings” had taken place between the board and the Communities Secretary Sajjd Javid and Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry, and urged for “continued engagement” with the Government about the plans.
Mr Vickers, who has asked ministers for a debate on how coastal towns can secure more central funds in the future, said he wanted to raise the profile of the need for a bespoke “town deal” for Grimsby.
The coalition government was keen on securing “City Deals” – investment deals between Whitehall, councils and businesses which secured money, often for sector growth, for cities outside of London.
Humber neighbours Hull benefited from such a deal – worth £450m in total – when it secured the Siemens investment into the blade turbine-building Green Port factory.
But for smaller towns which are not part of a wider regional devolution deal – such as the rejected Greater Lincolnshire concept – it has been harder to access government investment.
Talks with the Government about Grimsby’s regeneration, which includes a programme to improve education and job training schemes, have proved fruitful so far.
Minister Mr Berry described his talks with MPs and the regeneration board as “very positive” and said he wanted to “continue to explore” how the plans link into his department’s overall strategy for the North.
Mr Vickers said raising the regeneration project with the PM was important as it meant it was now on Downing Street’s radar.
“I think the important thing is that, if you can raise any issue with the PM, it makes her department and staff immediately alerted to it,” said the backbench Tory.
“When we are lobbying – for what will hopefully be a successful outcome for this deal – and it needs a bit of prodding, it is on a file in Downing Street.
“It means I can ring staff in her office and talk about any problems or ask about the initial levels of support. That may or may not appear, but that is the whole thing about lobbying. This is a big ask,” he said.
News Courtesy: www.humberbusiness.com