Derelict ice factory to become 1,000-seat live events venue

Credit: Waugh Thistleton Architects

Consent has been gained to transform Grimsby’s derelict Ice Factory into a 1,000-seat live events venue, which will also house offices and a research and development area for offshore renewables.

Proposals for a 161-bed, five-storey hotel next door have also been passed by North East Lincolnshire Council.

Together, the developments on Grismby Docks are expected to create about 600 jobs.

The Great Grimsby Ice Factory, a Grade-II listed property, was built in 1900 and once supplied crushed ice for the town’s trawler vessels. But since its closure in 1990 the building’s condition has deteriorated.

Developer Tom Shutes, who acquired the site from Associated British Ports in 2021, has promised a “radical regeneration” of this location.

A planning committee report, which recommended the application be approved, notes: “This proposal represents an exciting and important investment into one of Grimsby’s key historic buildings.

“The building has been in a declining condition for many years and remains at serious risk should no action be taken to secure a viable proposal for it.

“The applicants have worked extensively with key heritage bodies and others, to propose a scheme which is both respectful and sympathetic to the heritage significance of the building, but equally one which can function and be successfully delivered.

“The proposal would result in enhancements to the building and wider area and its significance for Grimsby Docks cannot be underestimated.”

The ice factory produced up to 1,200 tonnes of ice a day at its peak and is believed to be the earliest known surviving building of its kind in the world. Its historic ice compressor room will be retained as part of the redevelopment.

In future, the south building will provide conference, events and leisure floor space at ground-floor level, mainly in the former ice making hall and refrigerated store.

The boiler house will be used for food and drinks facilities. And the first floor of the property, along with the former ice-making halls of the northern building, will be used for office space.

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