Albion Square Development Plan gets approval from Planning Committee

Planning Committee has today accepted the development brief for Albion Square in the city centre for ‘each or any of the recommended purposes’.

The development brief provides a concept of what scale of redevelopment could be delivered on the site.

When identified in the second wave of Enterprise Zones across the city in 2015 there became a requirement to provide a simplified planning process for assessing applications for the site.  As with other Enterprise Zones across the city this has led to the production of a development brief.  Albion Square was allocated in the Local Plan (which was consulted on over the summer) as a retail-led mixed use development.

The development brief identifies Albion Square as a prime site for regenerating into a space that is likely to feature retail, housing, leisure and enhanced parking facilities. The area earmarked for development encompasses the BHS and Coop building, the Edwin Davies building and the Albion Street car park.

Councillor Martin Mancey, Portfolio Holder for Energy City, said: “The approval of the Albion Square development brief by the planning committee demonstrates the desire to continue the renaissance of the city centre and should support bringing this site forward as a priority in the next few years.

“The creation of the new square outside the former BHS store and the vacation of the entire block now provides an opportunity for a comprehensive redevelopment of the site.  This is the only site of scale within the primary shopping area which could deliver a significant element of the additional retail floor space projected to be needed in the city over the next 15 years.

“The redevelopment of this area is dependent on attracting a private sector developer who is capable of funding, and committed to delivering, redevelopment on this scale within a reasonable timescale.

“We believe that our current investment in the Public Realm, the Ferens, Hull New Theatre and Hull Venue, coupled with major private sector investments including those by Siemens, RB, Smith & Nephew and others, together with the greater visibility of the city on the national and international stage as a result of City of Culture, will make this potential redevelopment a much more attractive proposition to the private sector. We are keen to ensure that parts of the area do not remain vacant indefinitely or are acquired for landbanking purposes.”

Alex Codd, City Planning Manager, added: “It is important that any development in this site is sympathetic to the area, and respects the Georgian New Town Conservation Area, and the retention of the monumental Italian glass mosaic called ‘The Three Ships’.

“This is a key transitional site linking the retail offer on Jameson Street through to the residential offer on Albion Street, and on to the new University Technical College and enhanced New Theatre beyond.”

Plans for Hull’s first public square for 100 years unveiled

Stunning new images of the future King Edward Square have today been revealed. The space is thought to be the city centre’s first new public square in over 100 years, following the development of City Square, later re-named Queen Victoria Square, in the late 1890s.

At the junction where King Edward St and Jameson St meet, King Edward Square will become an open space for use during events, a base for street performers and as a place for people to relax and enjoy the city’s new public realm. Fresh tree lines and street furniture will stretch through the square reaching down to the end of Jameson St that meets George St and new lighting will complete the new look.

The current roadways of Jameson and King Edward Streets are also be pedestrianised and incorporated into the square to create a much larger and open space than the area previously offered.

Councillor Steven Bayes, Portfolio Holder for Visitor Destination said:

“King Edward Square will be an exciting new events space, as well as the city’s newest public space for many years.

“With our year as UK City of Culture just around the corner, the square will provide a central point for visitors from each end of the city centre and a great location for summer events as part of the fantastic programme the Culture Company are designing for next year.”

The work to the square will continue as part of the current public realm works and will be completed by March 2017. 

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First stage of public realm on schedule for Christmas completion

Hull City Council has today (Thursday 13 October) published a decision record confirming its public realm development works will be completed on schedule.

The majority of the works will be completed as planned by the end of December, whilst remaining side streets and Beverley Gate will be complete by March 2017.

In addition, plans to create a new grand entrance into Queen’s Gardens from the Rose Bowl, originally scheduled to begin 2018, will also be brought forward for completion in March 2017.

Today’s decision record agrees to move £8.7m into the project, in accordance with a decision of the cabinet in February 2015.

This brings the total cost of the scheme to £24.8m inclusive of additional works outside of the original scope of the contract. These include the work to Queen’s Gardens, wifi installation and the redesign of Beverley Gate, along with significant archaeological works and utility diversions in Queen Victoria Square, Trinity Square and Whitefriargate.

A number of pieces of street furniture, including benches and some trees, as well as the fountains in Queen Victoria Square will be installed after Christmas.

Councillor Martin Mancey, Portfolio Holder with responsibility for public infrastructure, said:

“The scale of works for the public realm project has always been a massive undertaking. We have pushed three years work into just over 12 months, however we are determined to have this work completed on schedule.

“I am happy we have been able to not only schedule completion of what was originally planned in this timeframe, but also push to include more work for 2017 than we’d originally planned for.

“It is imperative that the city presents its best face for the 2017 celebrations and this decision record will ensure that deadlines will be met as well as limiting any future costs to the council.”

Trinity Indoor Market on the move

Work will soon begin on the £1.6m refurbishment of Trinity Indoor Market with the Trinity House Lane entrance to close from this Saturday (15 October).

Existing stalls from the food hall have already moved to the mall area and users of the market are being encouraged to use the entrances at Lowgate and Hepworth’s Arcade for the duration of the project. New signage directing people to the alternative entrances is currently being installed around the market and arcade.

Market customers are also being offered the chance to win a hamper of Trinity Market goodies as a thank you for their support during the project. Customers currently shopping at the market are given a postcard which they simply present at the stall’s new locations to be automatically entered into a draw.

Garry Taylor, City Major Projects Manager said:

“Trinity Indoor Market has a very long history in Hull and it is only right that as part of the regeneration of the city centre, the market also receives a facelift.

“We have worked closely with traders to ensure they remain in the market throughout the project and I would like to thank them for their cooperation during this time.

“I am confident that this refurbishment will create a market the traders and residents of Hull can be proud of.”

The refit of the Grade 2 listed building and extension will upgrade and repair the main market spaces, stalls and the Market Place frontage with the intention of creating a busy, vibrant indoor market.

The main market spaces will have an enhanced food offering with a significant element of the development being a restaurant to partially occupy the building on North Church Side opposite Holy Trinity Church.

The project is funded predominantly by the LEP with £1.35m funding coming from the Regional Growth fund and the top up of £250k from the council’s capital programme budget.

Plans for new sculpture location submitted

Plans for a bespoke timepiece sculpture have today been submitted for Queens Gardens.

If approved, Solar Gate would not only be a focal point within the city centre park, but also act as a sundial, highlighting key dates in the city’s history that will be placed as discs of etched stainless steel and integrated with york stone paving earmarked for the area.

Solar Gate would also form part of the renovation of Queens Gardens, which will include a new grand central entrance through from the Rose Bowl. Work is scheduled to begin prior to Christmas, with completion planned in spring 2017. (NB. All other work to transform Queen’s Gardens will begin 2018 as part of the legacy programme).

The plans, which could see the 10m tall piece of art installed into a new spot at the south end of Queens Gardens, have been designed by award-winning architectural practice Tonkin Liu, made up of architects Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu (bios in notes).

On each date, sunlight will shine through Solar Gate onto the specific disc and highlight that point in time, casting a shadow the space around it.

This modern and unique piece has been amended for its new proposed location and the design now reflects the leafy surroundings of the gardens.

In total, 24 memorable dates and times for events that have shaped our world and Hull’s local history, yet to be agreed, will be marked and celebrated.

Mike Tonkin, Tonkin Liu said:

“Through the alignment of aperture in its two vertical surfaces, Solar Gate marks precise times with light rather than with shadows. Light travels through two spaces, aligned with a specific sun angle, and lands as a disc of light on the ground, illuminating a stainless steel disc with written details of the significance of the corresponding time and date.

“The time piece has been designed through computer programming to create a highly accurate alignment with specific solar angles relating to moments in the cultural calendar tailored to Hull. As with the experience of an eclipse, the waiting for the alignments brings the future, the past, and the present into play.

“At night Solar Gate is illuminated with an ever changing lighting display where its delicacy and undulating geometry is revealed and experienced.

“The advanced technology and the innovative undulating structure employs the latest fabrication techniques to make a deceptively delicate but very robust structure.

“10m tall and 4m wide, the artwork is boat-like in plan, gate-like in elevation, mast-like in side elevation, with a taper to just 10cm. The artwork learns lessons from 500 million years of evolution in sea shell form to make a very strong very light piece produced with the latest digital technologies.”

A formal decision for Planning Committee is likely to be made later this year.

Wider plans for Queen’s Gardens, earmarked for 2018 start, include an impressive new-look, inspired by the 1950’s design including a new performance area and tribute to the late great Mick Ronson.

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Hull’s historic monuments and buildings set to shine

Some of Hull’s most treasured landmarks are set to take the spotlight as plans are underway for a series of light installations.

Complementing the transformation of the city’s public realm, the light artwork has been designed to draw the eye naturally from the ground up to the sky.

Alongside buildings including Hull City Hall and Holy Trinity Church, subject to consultation and approval from church authorities, some of Hull’s most iconic statues will be illuminated, from the Queen Victoria and the Wilberforce monuments, the statue of Andrew Marvell, which is currently being restored before it returns to form, the centrepiece of a regenerated Trinity Square, and the Guildhall monuments ‘Strength’ and ‘Maritime Prowess’, which stand at the top of the Guildhall.

Commissioned to take charge of this ambitious project is nationally recognised light art installation specialist Nayan Kulkarni, who will draw on his experience of creating some of the most ambitious light works in the UK who brings his skills to Hull with designs made exclusively for the city.

Kulkarni’s unique schemes, ‘Sculptures in the Sky’ and ‘the Golden Hour’, will shine a brand new light on some of the city’s most recognisable buildings and sculptures, as well as offering the opportunity  for countless lighting displays to coincide with special events and significant dates.

As part of the project, Hull City Council have now submitted a listed buildings consent application for the new lighting rigs to be fixed to Ferens Art Gallery and the Maritime Museum.

Nayan Kulkarni said about his projects:

“It is a huge privilege to be invited to illuminate the city’s streets, historic buildings and sculptures, not just for 2017 but as a permanent installation. The Golden Hour seeks to create a calm and inspiring set of illuminations that will transform some of Hull’s significant buildings and historical monuments. In combination with the new street lighting, the installation will constantly change the city at night by manipulating its lit effects.

“Using bold and subtle mood changes, colour and shadow will attract the eye from place to place, reflecting speed of pedestrian movement and city life.

“Eyes will be drawn upwards naturally, revealing some of the Hull’s historic architectural features in a way perhaps never seen before. That is, artificial light makes us see differently.”

Subject to listed buildings consent being granted, work will begin on The Golden Hour and Sculptures in the Sky will start later this year and will be delivered in parallel with Hull City Council’s £25 million public realm improvement scheme.

Garry Taylor, City Major Projects Manager said:

“We have a great opportunity that aims to unlock the full potential of the city centre’s historic buildings and bring Hull’s lighting on par with other cities.

“The commissioning of Nayan and the integration of art and creativity throughout the project will ensure the very best of Hull is enhanced.”

Martin Green, Chief Executive of the 2017 City of Culture Company said:

“This project really captures the idea that there is more to Hull than meets the eye. You may think you know this city’s streets, but Nayan Kulkarni’s illuminations will take you on a fascinating new journey as darkness falls.

“In drawing your attention to specific features that may have previously gone unnoticed, it will encourage you to look at familiar buildings in a completely different way.”

The Vicar of Holy Trinity, the Rev Canon Dr Neal Barnes, said:

“The plans for an innovative lighting scheme covering key sites in Hull city centre are very exciting indeed and we’re delighted Holy Trinity has been chosen as one of the landmark structures to be illuminated. It underlines Holy Trinity’s status as an architectural jewel in the city’s crown and complements the £4.5m transformation of the church and grounds which are well under way.

“The proposed lighting of the church is subject to consultation and approval from the church authorities and the tests will inform that process.

“We’re really excited to see how Nayan Kulkarni will enhance even further the beauty and majesty of an iconic building as old as the city of Hull itself but as relevant to local life as it has ever been.”

Woodford Leisure Centre prepares for £6million extension

One of Hull’s much-loved leisure centres is preparing to close its doors ahead of a multi-million pound refurbishment and extension.

Woodford Leisure Centre will close on Friday 30 September for work to begin on the extension that includes a brand new 25 metre six-lane swimming pool and learner pool, as well as improved changing facilities.

Additional plans also include new sauna and steam facilities, a café located at the new entrance and enhanced parking facilities. The installation of new environmental technologies will also look to reduce longer term operating costs.

Users of the centre are being encouraged to use alternative council facilities during the closure, including a new gym that has doubled in size at Ennerdale due to open this week, as well as gym facilities at Costello Stadium. Alternative swim facilities are available at Ennerdale, East Hull Baths and Beverley Road Baths.

Hull Culture and Leisure has been working closely with existing sports and activity clubs currently using Woodford to find alternative accommodation for them with the majority already arranged.

City Manager for Major Projects, Garry Taylor said:

“Following extensive consultation with users of Woodford, local residents and visitors to 2015’s summer engagement roadshows, the new facilities at Woodford have been designed to reflect their views.

“The investment into Woodford will secure its long-term future as a top swimming and leisure facility and put it up amongst some of the best in the region, providing a top-class offer to the people of Hull.”

Councillor Terry Geraghty, Portfolio Holder for Culture and Leisure said:

“While Woodford is closed for major improvement work we are keen to ensure continuity in the council’s leisure offer. The city’s other leisure facilities ran by Hull Culture and Leisure are fantastic and the extension of Ennerdale’s fitness suite is very welcome.

“This is a very exciting time for the leisure service and the icing on the cake will be the newly extended pool at Woodford. I’m very much looking forward to seeing this project progress over the next year and would like to thank users and staff for their support and co-operation during this time.

Work will commence on the centre mid-October once a decant of equipment has taken place, with the project expected to complete early 2018.

Users of Woodford and other council leisure centres that have questions about the closure are asked to speak to staff at the centre on 01482 331 322.

Businesses invited to learn more about Old Town Grant Scheme

New and existing businesses in Hull’s Old Town are being invited to learn more about the opportunity to apply for a share of £800,000 in a grant scheme at event in the area on Tuesday (6 September).

From 10am, the doors of the former Rumours nightclub will be open to find our more with staff from the Old Town programme team available to answer any questions about the scheme and how to apply.

The Old Town Grant Scheme, which is run by the council, is split into two strands. The first ‘business start up and expansion’ grant offers existing businesses the chance to apply for funding to expand their business, and also invites anyone considering starting a new business in this area of the city centre the ability to apply for financial support.

The ‘property improvement’ grant offers existing businesses the opportunity to improve their shop frontages and make internal work improvements, revitalising the historic buildings that give the Old Town much of its character.

The scheme is part of the council’s wider commitment to ‘repurpose the Old Town’ with the revitalisation of Trinity Market and the re-introduction of a regular outdoor market also on the agenda.

Garry Taylor, City Major Projects Manager, said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for businesses in the Old Town to capitalise on the major redevelopments taking place around them and for new businesses to set up in this beautiful area and reap the rewards that 2017 and beyond will bring.

“With the development of the Fruit Market well underway and the public realm in Trinity Square and Trinity House Lane starting to take shape, the results these grants will produce are really the last piece of the jigsaw for the Old Town.

“We are very keen to see applications for Whitefriargate and the surrounding area in an effort to reinvigorate this once bustling shopping street, however we are looking forward to seeing submissions from all parts of the Old Town.

“I would advise anyone considering opening a business in the Old Town or looking to expand their business to pop down on Tuesday and find out more”.

The scheme is will remain open until September 2017 or until all funds have been awarded. Grants will generally fund up to 50 per cent of project costs and be matched from the business’s own resources (other publicly funded grants or loans are not eligible to be used as match funding).  There is no limit to the amount of funding that can be applied for.

The vision for the future of the Old Town is to create an area of thriving café bars, visitor attractions, restaurants and independent retailers making the most of the area’s medieval street layouts and architectural beauty, and of the Old Town standing as a strong economic presence at the east of the modern city centre.

The drop-in event will run 10am – 4pm with officers on hand to answer any questions and provide information on this exciting opportunity.

Anyone unable to make the drop-in event can get an application form from the Old Town Programme Team on 01482 612 552/612 565 or e-mail: oldtowngrants@hullcc.gov.uk.

Further information on the Old Town Grant Scheme can also be found online at: www.hullmeansbusiness.com/loansandgrants.

Thousands available for Old Town businesses

New and existing businesses in Hull’s Old Town are being offered the opportunity to apply for a share of £800,000 in a grant scheme between Hull City Council and the Humber LEP.

The Old Town Grant Scheme, which is run by the council, opens today. It is split into two strands. The first ‘business start up and expansion’ grant offers existing businesses the chance to apply for funding to expand their business, and also invites anyone considering starting a new business in this area of the city centre the ability to apply for financial support.

The ‘property improvement’ grant offers existing businesses the opportunity to improve their shop frontages and make internal work improvements, revitalising the historic buildings that give the Old Town much of its character.

The scheme is part of the council’s wider commitment to ‘repurpose the Old Town’ with the revitalisation of Trinity Market and the re-introduction of a regular outdoor market also on the agenda.

Garry Taylor, City Major Projects Manager, said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for businesses in the Old Town to capitalise on the major redevelopments taking place around them and for new businesses to set up in this beautiful area and reap the rewards that 2017 and beyond will bring.

“With the development of the Fruit Market well underway and the public realm in Trinity Square and Trinity House Lane starting to take shape, the results these grants will produce are really the last piece of the jigsaw for the Old Town.

“We are very keen to see applications for Whitefriargate and the surrounding area in an effort to reinvigorate this once bustling shopping street, however we are looking forward to seeing submissions from all parts of the Old Town.”

The scheme is will remain open until September 2017 or until all funds have been awarded. Grants will generally fund up to 50 per cent of project costs and be matched from the business’s own resources (other publicly funded grants or loans are not eligible to be used as match funding).  There is no limit to the amount of funding that can be applied for.

The vision for the future of the Old Town is to create an area of thriving café bars, visitor attractions, restaurants and independent retailers making the most of the area’s medieval street layouts and architectural beauty, and of the Old Town standing as a strong economic presence at the east of the modern city centre.

Application forms can be requested from the Old Town Programme Team on 01482 612 552/612 565 or e-mail: oldtowngrants@hullcc.gov.uk.

Further information on the Old Town Grant Scheme can also be found online at: www.hullmeansbusiness.com/loansandgrants.

Council progresses work on Hull Venue

Hull City Council has today (Thursday 21 July) published a Decision Record that moves forward the plans for a 3,500-seater conference and events centre in the city centre.

The Decision Record confirms the site assembly agreement between Hull City Council and Princes Quay Development Ltd.

This will be achieved by a series of land transactions which will allow for the development of Hull Venue, transforming a currently underused prime city centre site.

The Decision Record published today means the project will progress as scheduled, with the centre due to open in 2018 as part of the city’s Destination Hull legacy programme for UK City of Culture, supporting the city’s long-term ambition to become a world-class visitor destination.