Building the UK’s best place for business: plans for growth in North East Lincolnshire
3:23 pm, Friday, 1st November 2019 - 2 years ago
Clive Tritton, Director for Economy and Growth at North East Lincolnshire Council, spoke to us about the platform his team is creating for investors coming to the region.
“It’s fair to say that when I came here I wouldn’t have known the industrial status of the Humber,” says Clive Tritton, who came to the area having spent much of his career in London.
“I might have thought: ‘old coal port, fishing port, probably struggling…’ and I couldn’t have been more wrong.
“Here was a thriving, massive port with huge opportunity across all kinds of sectors. Our economic strategy helps all of them, whether it’s logistics, food, advanced materials and engineering, or offshore energy.”
Planning ahead to pave the way for investors
Clive is especially passionate about the council’s forward-thinking approach to attracting new business.
“The investment in SHIIP (the South Humber Industrial Investment Programme) is really exciting. It’s the driver behind things like building the link road between the two ports, setting up Enterprise Zones, and the infrastructure at Stallingborough.”
“Investors can clearly see that there’s aspiration to support investment,” he adds.
Environmental mitigation: a job already done for developers
A huge benefit for investors is the council’s pre-emptive work on ecological mitigation.
“In South Humber you have large areas of farmland and open space, and there’s naturally a lot of ecological activity,” Clive explains.
“If a developer wants to build a large plant, the Environment Agency will ask what they plan to do to mitigate the impact and prevent the loss of environmental quality.
“So because we know what kind of developments we want to bring to these sites, we’ve worked together and put mitigation in place upfront. We’ve created a large wetlands site, sites on the waterfront and others further inland, so that developers don’t have to worry about it.”
“We’re starting to see massive investment interest as a result and the Environment Agency intend to use it as a model for other areas.”
Joined-up thinking: advocacy for business in North East Lincolnshire and beyond
Investors in North East Lincolnshire aren’t just benefiting from proactive planning. The council is deeply committed to providing a range of value-adding support services, as Clive explains.
“Our inward investment team pulls together people across council and Engie, our industry partner, to support new businesses. If we’re working with an investor, we’ll have conversations on their behalf with planning, highways and others, breaking down any barriers in advance.”
“Our senior management team also are committed to creating pathways for business to flourish here. We have very strong relationships with North Lincolnshire and the other boroughs, so we’re in tune with regional support that’s available. On top of that, there’s a strong relationship with government through the Town Deal. While it’s not necessarily related to industrial sectors, it’s really driving forward growth across greater Grimsby, and having the relationship means we can move nimbly whether locally or nationally.”
Future-proofing opportunities for the region’s key sectors
“We want the Humber to become the Energy Estuary and we’re getting big investment interest from the energy sector,” says Clive.
“Clearly offshore wind is a huge area we have to capitalise on, and we’re absolutely determined to do that.
“For us it’s also about the supporting infrastructure, whether that’s practical investment like housing and transport, or supporting skills in the region. These are very highly skilled jobs and we’re fortunate to have a skills base that supports that, but we need to keep developing it.”
“We have some real selling points that other areas don’t in terms of the availability and affordability of land, cost of living, quality of life and all those things that make North East Lincolnshire very, very attractive as a place to be in business.”