Vicky Hartung, Chair of The Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust, writes about the campaign to save the historic ice factory.
Like a lot of people involved in this kind of project, my fellow trustees and I are on a steep learning curve. Fortunately for us, we are able to draw on the experiences and resources of The Princes Regeneration Trust (PRT), who have supported us almost from the beginning.
Grimsby has suffered a steep decline since the loss of the fishing fleet, and although has recently become a focus for the renewable energy industry, there is a backlog of deterioration and deprivation that cannot be addressed by the presence of these multinational firms alone. We need to attract more diverse investment, to create an environment which will help us retain our graduates and improve the quality of life for residents old and new.
The Ice Factory is ideally placed to help us achieve these ends. Located on the edge of the Grimsby Docks, facing what was once the main commerical street in the town, Freeman Street, this huge building has the potential to house a number of uses which would meet local needs and at the same time, tie into a broader cultural and tourism offer in North East Lincolnshire.
Grimsby currently lacks a dedicated public art gallery, a cinema, a theatre, conference facilities - to name just the obvious.
We have recently embarked upon an Options Appraisal (funded by Architectural Heritage Fund, the Pilgrim Trust, Council of British Archaeology, SAVE and many other individuals and businesses) which will test the viability of these and other uses, and access the impact on current residents and potential tourists to the area.
Since its inception, the Trust has metamorphosed from a group of locals, promoting an off-the-wall solution for the problem of the town's gigantic eyesore, to a respected team which has the support of heritage and regeneration organisations across the country, such as PRT. We are very excited to be entering this phase of the project.
Wish us luck!!"