Grimsby town centre is set to receive a massive boost as 170 employees from North East Lincolnshire Council's regeneration services partner, ENGIE, move to New Oxford House in Town Hall Square.

Investment in the building and the transfer of staff to the new offices is expected to provide a further increase to the town centre economy.

New Oxford House was the former home of Wilkin Chapman solicitors who moved to new premises in the state-of-the-art Cartergate development in January.

Planning permission has been granted for a major  refurbishment of the building by its owners, Purple Emperor Limited, who anticipate investing over £1.5 million into the project before the new tenants start moving in next spring.

The building's exterior will be updated with new cladding and the interior will be remodelled to create a ground floor reception with office space on the upper floors. The remainder of the ground floor will be let separately as one or two units.   

The move is part of the Council's ongoing building rationalisation programme and is due to be completed by the end of June 2018 when the lease at ENGIE's current Europarc location expires.

Councillor Matthew Patrick, portfolio holder for finance, governance and tourism, at NELC, said:
“Grimsby is going through an exciting period of change and, as we demonstrated with the new Cartergate building, the Council is committed to bringing business into town centre and strengthening the local economy.

“By taking out a 15 year lease at New Oxford House, we can reduce our operational property costs, work more closely with our partner ENGIE and make it more convenient for people who visit them.

“Making the move also helps keeps the town busy with people spending money in local shops and businesses, which in turn helps keeps others in work.

“This is a prominent town centre building and it forms part of our ambition to create an environment for local people and visitors to enjoy and where businesses can flourish.”

Purple Emperor Ltd director Mike Whittome said: “We have been negotiating with North East Lincolnshire Council for some time now, both in facilitating and assisting in the development of the Cartergate office scheme, and also in providing suitable offices in the heart of the town centre that could meet the Council's needs and also add to the regeneration currently taking place.  I'm pleased that we have been able to work together to come up with a scheme that works for all.”

Scotts' Partner Lawrence Brown, who has been advising Purple Emperor said: “This has been a challenging project as the requirements of both the Council and ENGIE have been very specific.

“They have wanted to make sure that the offices meet their needs both now and into the future.  “The level of investment required is significant but by committing to this amount of money the landlord is confident of providing offices that enable the Council and ENGIE to continue to undertake the work that they do in the area.”

Works are anticipated to start in the next few weeks and conclude in early 2018.