In August 2022, the Council bought Freshney Place Shopping Centre. Since then, plans have been approved to redevelop the western end of the shopping centre and Top Town Market to create a new offering for local residents.
In order to facilitate this redevelopment, units within the Flottergate area have been vacated, and, where desired, relocated within the shopping centre.
Plans have also been confirmed to bring the NHS Community Diagnostic Centre into Freshney Place, securing significant additional footfall each year once it opens.
In the last 12 months, several units have committed to investing in new shop fits, and new retailers, such as New Look and One Beyond, as well as smaller independent retailers, have been brought into the centre, improving the overall occupancy rate to 90.4% from 77.3% when it was taken over.
Footfall in the same year has increased to more than 6.5million visits. Whilst this is still lower than pre-Covid, it is broadly in line with national trends, the footfall has continued to grow year on year above national and regional averages.
Cllr Philip Jackson, leader of the Council, said: “Diversification of uses away from pure retail will be the key driver of Freshney Place’s commercial performance and social value to the local community.
“Securing Parkway Cinema for the new Leisure Scheme is a huge milestone for the town centre and bringing forward the CDC will drive a different type of visitor, who will more than likely use the centre for not only appointments, but also ancillary shopping while they are on the site.
“We’re also working hard on other areas of the town centre, such as the Doughty Depot, which will bring additional staff to work in the town centre from other sites, and increase general footfall and spend.”
In the last year, there have been significant reductions in consumption of electricity, gas and water use, and along with a raft of environmental and sustainability initiatives, this has reduced the overall cost and environmental impact of the shopping centre.
Additionally, a range of social initiatives are now supported in the shopping centre, including training to be able to support those with disabilities, Alzheimers and autism, and externally supporting heritage, culture and those in need.
Cllr Jackson continued: “We wanted to take on the shopping centre to help stabilise the centre of Grimsby – to be able to use it for positive transformation, for the good of local people. In the next year, we’ll be continuing that work, driving moves towards increasing footfall and spend, alongside work to deliver the leisure and market scheme and attracting new tenants to the heart of the town.”