Grant scheme plan to use ?10m Humber Freeport investment in North East Lincolnshire

A grant scheme is planned to support the building of new business units within North East Lincolnshire's freeport area. North East Lincolnshire Council[1]'s cabinet agreed last week to shift the way it will spend GBP10m Humber Freeport seed capital government investment, expected to be received post-election. It planned previously in 2021 to build up to eight business units' industrial workspace at Pioneer Park.

But rising material costs and interest rates in the last three years has caused a shift in thinking. A GBP10m public grant scheme is thought will be more successful in getting more units built. The council document that went before its cabinet last week on the South Humber Industrial Investment Programme (SHIIP) as it is known, is quite jargon-filled.

Essentially though, it is now thought a grant scheme will ensure the seed capital gets more bang for its buck with the creation of new 'speculative' business units. Grant-aided units will then be let or sold to businesses to use. In February, the council's cabinet signed off on three proposed uses for GBP15m seed capital funding[2] in North East Lincolnshire.

This included cash to support the expansion of CATCH in Stallingborough, and with it a new industrial decarbonisation centre, and smaller investment in Humber Gate infrastructure. The third category was for the creation of flexible industrial space. After advice on current development costs, "it is felt that the quantum of floorspace which can be achieved will be substantially reduced and falls short of addressing the need locally," the council document states.

The need for good quality commercial units has not changed, but a "significant rise" in material costs and interest rates is "an even bigger challenge". It is estimated that revision to a grant scheme could allow for the creation of nearer 100,000sqft (9,290 m2) industrial floorspace, compared to original plans for 40,000sqft. Private sector investment of up to GBP16m may be able to be used for it.

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Not building any of the new units itself means the council will not own them, and will not get any rental income from them. However, being in an enterprise zone, 100 per cent of business rates are retained until 2041. Any development of industrial space on the sites will consequently accelerate expected council income.

The proposed GBP10m grant scheme will include GBP80,000 admin costs.

These will also come out of the seed capital funding.

Next month will be a year exactly since Humber Freeport's official launch.


  1. ^ North East Lincolnshire Council (
  2. ^ three proposed uses for GBP15m seed capital funding (
  3. ^ click the link (
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