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Council inaction worse for Grimsby’s image than Sacha Baron Cohen film

Sign the petition to get North East Lincolnshire Council to designate a new conservation area to prevent the demolition of internationally important buildings in what was once the largest fishing port in the world.

Grimsby, Fish Dock Road. Photo: Googlemaps

The Victorian Society is urging North East Lincolnshire Council to designate a new conservation area to prevent the demolition of internationally important buildings in what was once the largest fishing port in the world. The Society has urged the Council to take this simple step to protect the buildings for years yet no action has been taken. You can sign the petition asking the council to create a conservation area here. Associated British Ports’ demolition plan has been condemned by numerous other heritage bodies including the World Monuments Fund and Historic England.

James Hughes, Senior Victorian Society Conservation Adviser, said: ‘Only immediate action by North East Lincolnshire Council to designate a conservation area can stop the demolition of Grimsby’s internationally significant industrial fishing heritage. For years the Council has ignored our requests to protect these buildings. Now, after years of neglect, Associated British Ports wants to take the cheapest option and demolish them. The Council must listen to the concerns of ourselves, the World Monuments Fund, Historic England and others before it is too late.  If the Council fails to protect this important site – which has potential as a tourist attraction – residents should rightly be angry. The Council’s inaction is likely to have a much worse long term impact Grimsby's image than Sacha Baron Cohen’s recent film ‘Grimsby’. Development for new industry does not have to involve destruction of the town’s heritage.’

Grimsby’s ‘Kasbah’ dock area has global significance as a unique survivor of an Victorian industrial fishing port. Sadly, much of that heritage has been severely neglected. Associated British Ports (ABP) plans to demolish numerous buildings on the west side of Fish Dock Road, the most important road in the docks, to redevelop the site for the offshore wind industry. ABP argue that these buildings have no historic value. The Victorian Society strongly rejects this view and endorses the World Monument Fund’s statement that the ‘buildings are an integral part of Grimsby’s globally important fishing heritage’. Although not individually listed the loss of these buildings would have a huge impact on the historic docks, its listed buildings and its ability to tell the story of Victorian industrial fishing.  The demolition of these buildings would also harm the significance and setting of numerous listed buildings in the Kasbah including the Grade I-listed Dock Tower and the Grade II*-listed Ice Factory.

Generally, planning permission is not required to demolish buildings like those on Fish Dock Road which are not listed or in a conservation area, as such demolition is ‘permitted development’ for which only ‘prior determination’ is required.  Designating the area as a conservation area would mean planning permission is required for demolition. Historic England has also stressed that permitted development rights do not apply where a development falls under the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011. It is highly unusual for Historic England to express such serious concerns over the demolition of unlisted buildings outside a conservation area. This reflects its assessment that the surviving buildings in the Kasbah are the ‘most important representation of the industrial-scale fishing trade in England’. 

The neighbouring Ice Factory appeared on the Victorian Society’s Top Ten Endangered Building List in 2010The World Monuments Fund included Grimsby on its 2014 Watch listA Historic England report on the significance of the Kasbah is here.

Friday 20 May, 2016

More recent item: Council wrong on Brighton’s Madeira terrace
Earlier item: Hortons' Estate presented with Birmingham & West Midlands Group Conservation Award

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