Press release: SAVE challenges demolition of historic Grimsby Docks buildings and launches fundraising appeal

8 July 2016

Press release: SAVE challenges demolition of historic Grimsby Docks buildings and launches fundraising appeal

SAVE has launched a legal challenge to protect a series of historic port buildings from imminent demolition in Grimsby Docks, Lincolnshire.

The Victorian brick buildings, known collectively as the Cosalt Buildings on Fish Dock Road, form part of the historic Grimsby Dockyard, and are threatened with demolition by Associated British Ports following approval by North East Lincolnshire Council.

Despite strong objections to the demolition from SAVE as well as Historic England (the government’s advisers on heritage), the World Monuments Fund, The Victorian Society, Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust and hundreds of people who signed a petition to protect the buildings, approval was granted in May 2016.

SAVE has submitted an application for a Judicial Review of the decision, which we consider was legally flawed. Stripping out of the buildings in preparation of demolition has already started, so we have also applied for an emergency injunction to halt further works.

Please help us cover our legal fees for this work. Visit our fundraising page - launched today - here

The Cosalt buildings, which are not listed or in a Conservation Area, make an important positive contribution to the historic port of Grimsby, and form one half of the principal street in the port.

The threatened buildings also contribute significantly to the surrounding historic port buildings which include the grade I listed Dock Tower, the grade II* listed Ice Factory, the grade II listed Royal Dock and other grade II listed buildings within the area of the historic port known as the Kasbah.

A Council commissioned report from 2013 by Atkins entitled, “The Kasbah, Port of Grimsby Heritage Assessment” (2013) refers to the main Cosalt Headquarters and building to the north as an ‘important landmark building’. The report also establishes that the Kasbah and Ice Factory comprise the largest surviving group of historic buildings related to the fishing industry in the country, in what was the largest fishing port in the world.

Henrietta Billings, Director of SAVE said: “These are not the first buildings in Grimsby Docks to be threatened with demolition and we are extremely concerned about the potential piecemeal destruction of such an important historic site. These buildings need urgent protection and rightful recognition and we are confident they can be retained and re-used to regenerate this part of the docks, as part of a wider strategic approach to the site. We have been advised that we have good grounds for a legal review, and are keen to ensure that the demolition is robustly challenged.”

Marcus Binney, President of SAVE said: “SAVE led the way in proposing a new vision for the Grimsby Ice Factory three years ago.  The docks make Grimsby what it is and these buildings represent a history of fishing that spans a thousand years. We will continue to work for regeneration and revival based on this remarkable cluster of industrial buildings.  In ports all around the world, from San Francisco to Sydney, quayside buildings bustle with life and Grimsby can follow.”

Notes to Editors:

1. For more information and images, please contact Henrietta Billings, Director: Henrietta.billings@savebritainsheritag.orgor Mike Fox, Deputy Director 020 7253 3500

2. Grimsby was one of England’s foremost ports in the late 19thcentury and early 20thcentury and is recognized as one of the most important surviving examples of the industrial scale fishing trade in England.

3. The buildings to be demolished are referred to collectively as the Cosalt buildings. They form one whole side of Fish Dock road, the principle street in the Kasbah. They consist of 6 buildings, all of which reflect the different character of uses at this location: warehouses, factories, shops, and offices.

4. SAVE is advised on this case by Susan Ring at Harrison Grant and John Steele QC.

5. In their letter of objection regarding the demolition application, Historic England stated: “We advise that demolition of the Cosalt buildings would:

- “Harm the significance of the Ice Factory (grade II*), including through the loss of important views of the Ice Factory and Fish Dock Road together from within the enclosed street itself;

- Harm the significance of the Dock Tower (grade I), including through the loss of the Cosalt buildings in important views of the tower from Fish Dock Road; 

- Severely harm the significance of the grade II listed buildings on Fish Dock Road itself, particularly through the loss of the whole of the other side of the street;

- Harm the significance of the other grade II listed buildings in the Kasbah.

- As heritage assets the Cosalt buildings are irreplaceable and the impact of their demolition would be irreversible.”

6. SAVE has a long standing interest in Grimsby Docks, and has been campaigning for their preservation and reuse for several years. In 2012 we worked with architect Graham Byfield to draw up an alternative vision for the site, showing how it could be revived and restored.

7. The Word Monuments Fund included Grimsby Ice Factory and Kasbah in their 2014 Watch. Every two years the Watch draws international attention and support for some of the world’s most important and fragile cultural heritage. This nomination was accepted by WMF’s independent and international panel of experts because of the outstanding global significance of the site as a unique survivor of the Victorian industrial era.

8. The Victorian Society is calling on the Council to include the buildings and wider site within a Conservation Area. Click here to sign the petition.

9. SAVE Britain’s Heritage has been campaigning for historic buildings since its formation in 1975 by a group of architectural historians, writers, journalists and planners. It is a strong, independent voice in conservation, free to respond rapidly to emergencies and to speak out loud for the historic built environment.

Press release issued by SAVE Britain’s Heritage

70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ

Registered Charity 269129

Tel. 020 7253 3500  Email

Follow SAVE on Twitter: @SAVEBrit

Donate to SAVE via Justgiving

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