PLANS for a £20 million leisure development bringing up to SEVEN brand new national restaurant names to Grimsby, a nine-screen cinema and 350 jobs, will be unveiled to the public next week.

The consultation at Freshney Place Shopping Centre will give people from across the region the chance to have a first look at the exciting provisional plans for the proposed new development, being built as an extension to the shopping centre in the town’s Riverhead.

It comes just two days after North East Lincolnshire Council was been awarded £570,000 from central government to help kickstart town centre developments, including the so-called town centre Gateway Entrance around Frederick Ward Way, Peaks Parkway and Victoria Street, and a “waterside” promenade retail and leisure site near Alexandra Dock, among other things.

“This is an exciting time for Freshney Place,” said development director Maurice Fitzgerald. “We have worked for a couple of years in formulating ideas in partnership with the council, and the public consultation is our opportunity to obtain the views of local people before finalising the designs to be submitted in a formal planning application.”

The scheme – first announced three years ago – will be known as Freshney Place Riverhead.

“The exciting development will house a new cinema, as well as seven new restaurant units which will be home to a host of leading national operators new to Grimsby,” said Mr Fitzgerald.

“The project will provide both a boost to the evening economy and a quality offer. Both the centre owners and proposed tenants have undertaken extensive market research to ensure the proposals meet demand to ensure a successful scheme.”

The consultation will be held in the unit at the corner of Baxtergate and Clayton Walk malls, opposite Next, from 10.30am to 4pm next Friday, April 7, and from 9.30am to 3pm on Saturday, April 8.

“We will be displaying plans and designs explaining the proposals and background to the development,” said Mr Fitzgerald. “Representatives from Freshney Place will be on hand to explain and answer any questions. We will be inviting visitors to leave their comments and feedback for consideration as part of the final design for the planning application.”

The vision for a Grimsby town centre ‘entertainment hub’, as revealed in the Town Centre Investment Plan, with the Post Office on the left.

The development is expected to generate at least 100 construction jobs at any one time, as well as up to 250 long-term jobs, together with initial and long-term investment in the local economy.

With the final plans for the project expected to be submitted by May, Mr Fitzgerald said this consultation was very much the first stage of a lengthy process.

“There will be another formal stage where members of the public will have a chance to comment further,” he said, “but we envisage the development – if approved – being complete and open approximately 28 months from planning.”

Cllr Peter Wheatley, portfolio holder for regeneration, skills and housing at North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “This development is a very important step forward in the regeneration of Grimsby town centre and North East Lincolnshire, and we’re pleased to see the developers taking the next steps. If approved through the planning process, Grimsby town centre will be transformed by the redevelopment of Riverhead.

“It’s a truly exciting time for the borough and this has been brought about through our close working relationship with town centre businesses to develop projects that act as catalysts to attract more investment and create more jobs,” he said.

“Private sector confidence in the borough is growing all the time and as a result North East Lincolnshire is becoming a better place to live, work and invest.”

Proposals for a ‘waterside’ development in Grimsby.

Mr Fitzgerald added: “We are also pleased to announce an innovative initiative to promote with the main contractors where possible, acknowledging contractual and Health & Safety Executive issues, request that they advertise job opportunities and apprenticeships in local employment centres and media,” said Mr Fitzgerald.

“We will also encourage the new tenant occupiers to engage local workers wherever possible

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