The 11 ambitious Hull projects set to change the city skyline in 2021

Let’s face it, 2020 has not been the most productive of years for many of us.

While some of us may have improved our gardening skills, learnt how to make our own face mask or carried out the odd DIY project, few of us will have achieved many of the goals we had set out for the year.

The same can be said on a grander scale.

Many of the large schemes across Hull ground to a halt during the coronavirus lockdown and developers have been playing catch up since.

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But 2021 should be another busy year as many projects are either progressed or completed pandemic permitting.

We take a look at what major projects, both public and private, will take shape or be completed in 2021

A63 Castle Street

The project, which is set to cost £355 million, will see major transformative changes to one of Hull’s busiest roads.

This is very much in the ‘progress’ bracket as it is expected to take around five years to complete.

The Highways England scheme will see one of the busiest sections of the A63 heading east and west through the city lowered at the Mytongate junction under a new stretch of road between Ferensway and Commercial Road.

In addition, the eastbound carriageway on the A63 between Princes Dock and Myton Bridge will be widened to three lanes, while another pedestrian footbridge will be constructed at Porter Street.

Archaeologists arriving on site

At the moment large white tents can be seen as the development has sparked the largest-ever scientific excavation of a post-medieval burial ground in northern England, potentially involving thousands of bodies.

Nearby residents know all about the work and have been left awake in recent weeks due to loud overnight sheet-piling work.

Castle Street bridge

This was meant to be the flagship project of 2020.

The bridge was already in place by 2019 and was due to open this year.

Getting this scheme up and running has been a long-running saga and has taken years to finally come to fruition.

The new £12m bridge over Castle Street has been pieced together and has been in place for a long time but no members of the public have been able to cross it yet.

It has been named of course and the ‘Murdoch Connection’ – a nod to Hull’s first GP Dr Mary Murdoch – and was due to open in the summer.

The Highways England project, part of a wider £400m scheme to ease congestion on the major road, will help connect the city centre to Hull’s marina area.

It will improve safety and access, making it easier for pedestrians, cyclists and disabled people to cross the busy A63.

Watch: drone footage of the new bridge

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In October a spokesman for Highways England said: “The opening of Murdoch’s Connection on the A63 in Hull has been delayed until January 2021.

“Highways England had hoped the bridge would be open to the public before the end of this year, but the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has hampered the final stage of the scheme.

“Work on the structure is continuing, however the process has been slowed down due to key staff having to go into self-isolation due to Covid-19.”

Queens Gardens

In December designs were revealed for a series of new artworks in the proposed £4.3m facelift of Hull’s Queens Gardens.

They include an open-plan amphitheatre area where steps will feature collages of items from the city’s collection of Scrimshaw folk art which dates back to the days of the whaling industry when sailors created detailed images on teeth and bones from their catch.

The artist behind the idea, Katayoun Dowlatshahi, is also proposing a new look for the central Peace Garden area. The space will be re-designed to create a fresh area for contemplation and seating.

Another new design feature has been commissioned from artists Heinrich & Palmer are creating installations for the boundary of the site.

The artworks form part of a new planning application submitted by Hull City Council as part of the authority’s ambitious Hull: Yorkshire’s Maritime City project.

The new-look amphitheatre area in Queens Gardens will have Scrimshaw maritime art designs etched into new sections of steps
The new-look amphitheatre area in Queens Gardens will have Scrimshaw maritime art designs etched into new sections of steps

Physical works planned for the park include better public access, improvements to the boundary walls and restoration of the Rose Bowl fountain as well as electric vehicle charging points, the introduction of plants and trees to increase the biodiversity in the gardens and special drainage features that will allow the existing ponds to be used for flood alleviation.

The council has recently drawn up a six-strong shortlist of potential contractors to carry out the work.

While separate, the Queens Gardens project is linked to the Hull: Yorkshire’s Maritime City project, backed The National Lottery Heritage Fund, is one of the biggest project in the city over the next few years and is set to provide a huge boost to the tourism industry.

The £27.4m project will see the Maritime Museum totally refurbished along with revamping and opening up the Dock Office Chambers to the public.

The Arctic Corsair will also be housed in its new home at a dry dock in the Northern Shipyard behind Hull College while the Spurn Lightship is also being restored.

Beverley Road Baths

Works worth £3m to renovate Beverley Road Baths are already underway in a bid to bring the historic building into the 21st century.

The scheme includes restoring historic features on the building, which first opened in 1905, as well as fitting new heating and electrical systems.

Refurbishments to the Grade II listed building also include building a new larger gym, restoring the original one and refitting the swimming pool and changing rooms.

The councillor added the Baths were set to reopen in May 2021.

The works come after the council agreed to increase the total budget for the Beverley Road and Albert Avenue baths restoration to £7.5m at the start of this year.

Beverley Road Baths is currently undergoing £3m refurbishment works.
Beverley Road Baths is currently undergoing £3m refurbishment works.

Internal refurbishments got underway in October, with repairs to the building’s roof and exterior set to be finished this month.

Cllr David Craker, portfolio holder for culture, leisure and tourism at Hull City Council, said in September: “This a 100 year old building that we’re reinvesting in so the people of Hull can use this facility well into the future.

“Coronavirus has been a challenge for everyone. But this building was in need of repair, and it’ll be a big boost to Hull’s leisure offering once it’s finished.”

Second phase of C4Di

Work is almost finished on a new three-storey sister building for Hull’s Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI) to create much-needed space for start-up and rapidly-growing established digital businesses.

The 20,000 sq ft building developed by regeneration company Wykeland Group will extend the tech-based campus in the Fruit Market area and should open in 2021.

The new hub is a sister building for the existing Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI) and is the latest major investment at Wykeland Group’s @TheDock tech campus

It will create around 160 new jobs and is supported with nearly £1.3m from the Humber’s Local Growth Fund allocation, secured from the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

C4DI opened five years ago and around 200 tech firms are now based at complex or closely linked to it, as well as hundreds of digital specialists and freelancers.

The building has ground-floor parking for 25 cars, including two electric car ports, and a secure cycle unit, with two floors of offices and co-working spaces above.

Albion Square

This long-term project has been something of a moveable feast.

Demolition work has begun on the project which is not due to be completed for another three or four years.

Originally, the £130m Albion Square plans were due to see a new shopping, leisure and housing development complete with a new multi-storey car park.

There are still plans for a new ice arena built in the heart of Hull, with the new development incorporating the Edwin Davis Building and the former BHS and Co-op building.

The local authority originally hoped to draw large high street retailers to the city centre with approval granted for a total of 12 ground floor shopping units.

The proposed Albion Square development in Hull city centre

But plans have since altered to focus on office space and leisure after a report earlier this year found there was little appetite among big store chains for the development.

Homes England has handed the council a £820,000 grant to provide 240 flats as part of the scheme.

However, the development has been dominated by what will happen to the Three Ships mural which has been granted listed building status.

The council is now looking at ways to preserve the Alan Boyson work and remove the dangerous asbestos from the former BHS store on which the mural lives.

National Picture Theatre

A passionate band of volunteers have battled for years to turn this bombed out theatre on Beverley Road into a museum on the Hull Blitz.

The derelict Hull cinema was almost destroyed in a 1941 bombing raid and proposals to re-open it as an education centre and memorial late next year are edging ever closer.

It’s thought to be one of only a few examples in the UK of a surviving non-military ruin from the Second World War.

Transformation plans are in the second round of development as part of the National Lottery Heritage Fund application with long term goals including restoring the front of the building.

The second stage of the project bid were submitted in November with a result expected Spring 2021.

Volunteers are needed to restore and preserve the remains of the beloved theatre

National Civilian World War 2 Memorial Trust member Hilary Byers said in October: “After so many years of campaigning it is great to see work starting on site at last.

“We are excited to be able to see the full extent of the ruins now the over-grown vegetation has been removed and look forward to seeing the structure secured while, together with the council, we put together our case for the next stage of funding.”

Castle Street Chambers / Earl de Grey pub

Work could start in 2021 on a 150-bed hotel with a rooftop sky bar offering spectacular views of Hull’s waterfront.

The £20m plans, which would create 120 full and part-time jobs, would see the nine-storey hotel built on land next to Hull’s Bonus Arena.

The plans would also revive the Castle Buildings site and breathe new life into two historic buildings that have been derelict for many years.

The scheme includes the relocation of the main part of the former Earl de Grey pub and refurbishment of the neighbouring Castle Street Chambers building, as well as creating a new public realm area, including a south-facing piazza.

Demolition work has already started and building could commence in 2021.

The Earl de Grey pub has stood on the same spot since the middle of the 19th century it is on the move.

The famous facade of the Grade II listed building has all but disappeared as part of demolition work with a difference at the site overlooking Castle Street in the city centre.

For the front of the pub will eventually be reconstructed 40 yards away in Waterhouse Lane as part of a new-build scheme which will be linked to the refurbished Caste Street Chambers building next door.

The remans of the Earl de Grey pub overlooking Castle Street
The remans of the Earl de Grey pub overlooking Castle Street

The pub’s eye-catching facade is thought to have been added in 1913 as part of a refurbishment which also saw the addition of a full-width curving bar counter and new toilets.

In the 1970s it was left isolated when many nearby buildings were demolished as part of a road-widening scheme to create a new dual carriageway along Castle Street.

The current Castle Street upgrade scheme means the pub is now on the move as the site is required for the new route.

Under planning approval granted last year, its future use could be as a restaurant, cafe, bar or offices. It will be physically linked to Castle Street Chambers by a new glazed walkway.

The project is being carried out by the Hull-based Wykeland group, the company behind the Fruit Market regeneration scheme.

The last part of the facade is expected to be dismantled over the next few weeks.

Allam Diabetes Centre

The three-storey centre next to the Women and Children’s Hospital is under construction and already looks an impressive sight. It should be completed by May 2021.

Once completed, the Allam Diabetes Centre will see enhanced diabetes, endocrinology and metabolic bone disease services relocated from their current, outdated home in the Brocklehurst building, in Anlaby Road.

It is hoped the centre will attract high-calibre research staff and research funding streams into the region. It is due to open next May.

The building will also create space for a number of academic departments, including vascular surgery and neurology, and a new classroom for students of Hull York Medical School.

The new £6m Allam Diabetes Centre takes shape
The new £6m Allam Diabetes Centre takes shape

Benefactor Dr Assem Allam, after whom the new centre is named, and his family have in recent years contributed significant sums to the improvement of health facilities in Hull and the East Riding.

Arco headquarters in Fruit Market

Arco’s new £16m headquarters in Hull’s Fruit Market was set to be unveiled later in 2020 but has been delayed by the pandemic.

It is now due to open in 2021 and is the largest development of its kind in the city for over half a century.

It will eventually see more than 500 Arco staff move into the new, five-storey complex.

The site, in Blackfriargate, will also house a 350-space multi-storey car park, supporting both Arco and the wider Fruit Market area of Hull.

How the new Arco headquarters will look in the city’s Fruit Market

Arco, the UK’s leading safety equipment supplier, has also invested £25m in a new National Distribution Centre in Hull.

Arco’s new headquarters will be the largest new-build office development for a single business in the Hull area since the late 1960s.

Later stages of development on the site will feature 34 residential units and 3,000 sq ft of retail/leisure space to continue the reinvention of the area.

Border Control Post

The new facility earmarked for King George Dock is one of two being planned on land around the Humber owned by Associated British Ports.

They will provide facilities for customs and port health inspectors to carry out the huge volume of new required checks on goods arriving from the European Union once the current transition period covering the UK’s departure from the EU ends in 2020.

Building work will include new parking areas, buildings and facilities for both drivers and customs and port health staff.

However, physical inspections on EU imports are not due to start until next July.

Latest forecasts suggest nearly 300 physical inspections of EU food products will be required every year at Hull and Killingholme.

At the moment, there are no physical checks on EU food imports arriving in Hull under current frictionless trade arrangements between EU member states.

In addition, nearly 19,000 documentary checks will be required annually on EU food and high-risk non-food products arriving at the two ports.

Together, the value of the work to build the new facilities at the Humber ports is £12m.