While the Tories continue to weave their unhappy way through Brexit and other crises they have created not only for themselves, but for all of us, here in North East Lincolnshire I’m delighted to say Labour is seeing our ambition to improve the lives of our residents begin to take shape.
Our role in moving our communities forward to a brighter future is something many of you are directly involved in and recently, we’ve had a number of prime examples of how this area is evolving and regenerating itself. In different ways, all of these spell out what we’re trying to achieve here- helping re-invigorate the area and working with our communities to help them help themselves.
Doing that successfully and sustainably is the key to our future prosperity
Many of you will already be aware of our ambitious multi-million pound town deal proposal for Greater Grimsby, which has now been presented to central government. We’ve drawn up the proposals that could become the blueprint for how similar towns across the country work with government on major regeneration.
This really is groundbreaking stuff, not pie-in-the sky ideas, but a clear 10-year plan aimed at growing the local economy by more than £216 million per year, creating up to 5,400 jobs across the Enterprise Zones and other key employment sites, building 7,700 new homes and increasing North East Lincolnshire’s contribution to UK plc. It will transform the ‘place offer’ through the development of a new higher education presence, waterfront housing, cultural and leisure facilities through the redevelopment of historic sites including the Silo at Victoria Mills and the Kasbah at the Port of Grimsby.
Colleagues, we should be proud that this is a Labour administration bringing key UK players together to hopefully deliver some real, tangible and long-term benefits for our community. And while there’s still a long way to go on this, I’m optimistic the project will be included in the Government’s Autumn Statement.
On the same theme and despite some hiccups with the status of the popular Barge, I’m confident we’re also now in a position to see a new cinema complex at the Riverhead in town move forward. We’ve held very productive talks with both the owner of the Barge and the cinema complex developers to explore a number of options to ensure we not only look to the future with the development of the cinema and restaurant project, but also maintain our links to the past by securing a sustainable future for the Barge and its users. Again, all about working together for the benefit of the whole area-and oh.,listening to and responding to our residents concerns, especially those in the West Marsh.
Parallel to this, we’ve also worked to bring more than £6m of external investment into Cleethorpes, via CoastNEL, which was awarded nearly £4million from the Coastal Communities Fund to help deliver a number of key projects in the town and £1.9m Heritage Lottery Funding which was awarded to us to support our Townscape Heritage programme in Cleethorpes.
Comrades, while these highlight the progress we’ve made, we’ve also got to be careful about taking our eye off the ball, despite the usual political point scoring from our opponents.
Taking challenging and difficult decisions in the face of continuing cuts from central Government is something none of us find easy. But we need to be clear that these decisions have to be taken in order that the Council remains solvent and we’re in a position to continue to protect our most vulnerable residents. To be in a position to deliver on our promises, we’ve got to do all we can to maximise the regeneration of this wonderful place we all call home.
And in doing all of that, we must continue to ensure our residents know where the real blame for continuing cutbacks lay and that we’re doing our very best for them in spite of the Tories and their blundering leadership and misguided austerity rhetoric.