DEVELOPERS have spoken of their “delight” after ambitious plans to transform an area of Hartlepool received the backing of councillors.
The multi-million pound Mill House Masterplan aims to breathe new life into the area of town near Hartlepool United Football Club and the Mill House Leisure Centre with new housing and potential leisure facilities.
As part of the first phase land north of Victoria Park, off Clarence Road, will be developed by Gus Robinson Developments for 12 new homes, subject to planning permission.
Dan Robinson, chairman of Gus Robinson Developments, has spoken of his delight but warned there are still many more hoops to jump through before the complete Mill House Masterplan becomes reality.
He said: “We were delighted for a number of reasons.
“This is a huge urban regeneration opportunity for Hartlepool in a key part of the town in need of a scheme like this.
“Plans for this area have been around since the 1980s but the fear was that it was always too challenging because it was seen as too risky and expensive.
“But when the opportunity for preferred developer status came up, I actually got on my bike and cycled to the site and I had a really good feeling for it.
“If anyone was going to do this then it was going to be us, we are uniquely placed in the town.”
Mr Robinson said it was then a case of bringing his designers and architects on board and drawing up the plans.
There are a number of stakeholders involved in the plans and he said there are many “hurdles” still to overcome.
But Mr Robinson added: “We are committed to doing our very best to deliver this.”
Mr Robinson was speaking after councillors on the finance and policy committee met recently to give their unanimous backing to the masterplan.
Speaking earlier this month, independent councillor Paul Thompson said he was “delighted” with the plans while Labour councillor Carl Richardson added: “This seems a very exciting development if its comes off.”
Council directors have previously said there is a commitment from Camerons Brewery to continue to invest in the Mill House pub, while the master plan could also help secure the future of the derelict privately-owned Odeon Cinema.
The wider master plan could also see a new 3,000-seat stand at Victoria Park which could include a hotel and there are also plans for an adult learning difficulties centre and dementia centre.
Councillors agreed to adopt the masterplan with two options depending on whether the Mill House leisure facilities are redeveloped on the existing site or relocated elsewhere in town.