New £4million plan to improve traffic flow in Hartlepool

Major changes for Hartlepool Town Centre - car park behind Middleton Grange Shopping Centre

Major changes for Hartlepool Town Centre - car park behind Middleton Grange Shopping Centre

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A NEW £4m programme to transform Hartlepool could see a new roundabout created to boost town centre traffic flow.

And in another part of Hartlepool’s ambitious plans for the future, a council depot is being shifted out of the middle of the town and onto an industrial estate to free up prime land.

The Masterplan will be discussed by members of the Hartlepool Borough Council regeneration committee next week.

Denise Ogden, the council’s director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, told the Hartlepool Mail: “It is quite a document in itself but we think we have got it right.”

Council leader Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher said the local authority was “working at a pace which is unbelievable”.

The Masterplan forms part of the Hartlepool Vision plan which aims to revitalise the centre of Hartlepool.

The Vision’s proposals could eventually see 2,000 new jobs created.

The plans could include a new roundabout which would be sited at the Marina Way bridge over the railway line, replacing the complex system of traffic lights which are currently in place.

Part of Hartlepool’s future, officials have indicated, lies in the “connectivity” between places such as the town centre, shopping centre and the colleges.

“We want to change the infrastructure around that so that we have a greater flow and a greater connectivity,” said Denise.

Part of that could be a £4m-plus investment in facilities including the roundabout with £1m of council funding and with the council also hoping to get grant backing as well, although it has not yet been secured.

Having said that, while the plans are connected to bids for grants, they don’t rely on them. Coun Akers-Belcher added: “If we don’t get the money, there is that much ambition, we shall find a way.

“We have got other options.”

They include public/private partnerships.

He added: “This is not piecemeal. It is one plan, one vision and one masterplan.”

The council depot which is on the move is the one currently sited behind Church Street. The local authority wants to shift it to a new base at Tofts Farm in a £3m investment.

That would free up town centre land to be used as part of Hartlepool’s vision for an education and skills quarter under the Vision proposals.

In September, Cleveland College of Art and Design revealed details of an exciting £9.3m investment which could lead to it becoming a university.

That included the main college site in Church Square possibly being demolished and replaced with a new purpose-built facility.

Also planned was extra accommodation for first year students and the college bidding to become a university within 10 years.

Coun Akers-Belcher said: “It is about having an education and skills quarter and the college aspiring to have university status. We all buy in to that.”

Ms Ogden said: “Part of attracting students is having these places to live and work. The hardest thing is leaving home at 18, and you need to know that there is a network around you. As these students graduate, we want them to stay.

“We have a creative strategy to make sure that we provide accommodation and business start-up units for students to start in business.”

Read more:

•Shopping centre, boulevard and museum on Hartlepool Masterplan list
•Masterplan: Leaders set out dream vision for ‘vibrant’ Hartlepool