Planning permission has been granted for a new enterprise and innovation hub, paving the way for a radical shift in the way people use the town centre.
The multi-million-pound development, backed with Government cash, will create a unique, high-quality place for businesses, bringing new jobs and new people into the town centre.
The project includes a 46-bed unit for young professionals and medical students – locating more people in the town centre for more reasons.
Coun Rob Waltham, leader, North Lincolnshire Council and Towns Fund Board Member, said: “This is an important milestone in the latest plans to create a new future for Scunthorpe’s town centre and evidence of levelling-up happening here.
“Now, with planning permission in place, residents will start to see progress on this ground-breaking development very soon – I am genuinely excited.
“Building the enterprise and innovation hub is a huge part of our vision to attract new businesses and new jobs. The heart of the vision is to create a vibrant place which attracts a wide range of people, from shoppers and families and young professionals.”
The innovation hub is one of several projects being delivered to transform Scunthorpe and create a different future. The schemes, backed by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, come with more than £30m investment through the Towns Fund and Future High Streets Fund.
They include delivering gigabit broadband to hundreds of businesses, creating an advanced manufacturing park, delivering green energy schemes for schools and community buildings, new cultural experiences, a blue light facility, and hundreds of news homes.
The plans are designed to stimulate the creation of more, better-paid jobs, driving prosperity and ensuring a new future for people who live locally.
In the town centre, the plans are designed to counter the pressures on the traditional “high street” as it faces unprecedented change with shoppers increasingly moving online.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in 2006 online sales as a percentage of total retail spend peaked at 2.8 per cent. It has risen every year since, peaking in January 2021 at 37 per cent as the Covid-19 pandemic drove massive change in consumer habits.
Dr Faisel Baig, Chair of NHS North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group and local GP, said: “This is fantastic news for Scunthorpe.
“There are wider determinants that can help improve the health of a population – determinants such as employment, income, housing, education, working environment and the general environment.
“This exciting project gives us an opportunity to address some of these determinants and make Scunthorpe, and the wider area, a more healthy place. We know economic hardship links to poor health and that’s why these developments are exciting as they will bring more employment to the area.
“In a digital age, giving people a reason to get out of the house and visit Scunthorpe town centre is really important. It means people are out in the fresh air, walking into town or through town and these alone have huge benefits on health and mental wellbeing.”
Dr Baig, who is also chair of the Scunthorpe Town Fund Board, added: “The environment around us is so important if we want a healthy population. We have a wonderfully diverse population here in North Lincolnshire and we must ensure every community has equal access to these opportunities.”
Holly Mumby Croft, MP for Scunthorpe, and deputy chair of the Towns Fund Board said: “This is a major step forward in delivering the money that Government has given us for Scunthorpe.
“It is more than £10m of direct investment which is being spent to create a new future which includes homes for medical students and to jobs for local people in the town centre.”
A contractor is set to be appointed to lead the construction of the hub, which will offer more than 27,000 sq ft of outstanding office space specially designed to support collaborative working, as well as workshops, business development areas and an attractive communal courtyard.
Alongside this, a licensed café and bar will provide a premium space for networking and post-work drinks by night.
With work also driving forward to create the second phase of an urban park in Church Square, it is an exciting time in Scunthorpe’s transformation.
Coun Waltham added: “We worked closely with Scunthorpe MP Holly Mumby-Croft to secure the cash from the Government, with that backing and planning permission now obtained, I, like many, cannot wait to see the plans take shape.”