A CIVIC chief says the council will prove doubters wrong about ambitious plans for the regeneration of Hartlepool.
Dave Stubbs, chief executive of Hartlepool Borough Council, said its town centre Masterplan proposals will go ahead.
Mr Stubbs responded to critics of the draft Masterplan – part of the wider Hartlepool Vision project – as councillors agreed to move to the next stage of the project.
He said: “To the people who write on social media and who doubt the intentions behind this vision, they are wrong.
“This will happen. Your officers will make sure it happens and the council is fully supportive.”
The Masterplan aims to create new leisure, retail and tourist facilities and create better connections between the town centre, Church Street and Marina.
It includes the creation of a ‘skills quarter’ in the Church Street area linked to the building of a new Hartlepool College of Art & Design.
Other priorities include working with the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) which could develop Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience into a tourist attraction of national and international significance.
The former Jacksons Landing building could become part of an extended Hartlepool Maritime Experience.
Proposals also include replacing the Mil House Leisure Centre with a new community and leisure facility and major improvements to Middleton Grange Shopping Centre.
GVA Grimely, the UK’s largest independent commercial property firm, are working alongside the council to help deliver the ambitions.
Residents overwhelmingly backed the Masterplan in an earlier consultation exercise when 94 per cent of people agreed with what the council is trying to achieve.
Damien Wilson, the council’s assistant director for regeneration, said: “The Masterplan will address a number of strategic aims including making Hartlepool a major leisure and visitor destination, improving shopping in the town and regenerating Jacksons Landing, Church Street and Trincomalee Wharf, through the development of bold but deliverable proposals.
“It is important that development opportunities are included within a structured framework to ensure that the Masterplan has a joined up approach.”
People are now being urged to have their say in the next round of consultation which runs from Monday, January 19, to Thursday, February 12.
Councillor Robbie Payne, chairman of the regeneration services committee, said: “Despite the huge financial constraints being placed on the council by the Government, we remain extremely optimistic about the town’s future and have a clear vision for what we want to achieve.
“I think the proposals set out in the Regeneration Masterplan are well thought out, realistic and have the potential to significantly improve our town.
“However, what is more important is what local people think and we now want to hear from residents and the business community to let us know whether they think we have got this right.”
A drop-in session will be held at Hartlepool College of Education, Stockton Street, on Tuesday, January 20, between 1pm and 2pm.
There is an online questionnaire at www.hartlepool.gov.uk/masterplanconsultation.
People can also visit Civic Centre and Central Library where there will be information and questionnaires.
Council leader Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, said: “We know that Hartlepool has lots of assets but there is also so much more potential to make the town a better place to live, work and visit.
“The Masterplan demonstrates just how bold and ambitious the Council is but it is also achievable.
“It’s so important to have a clear vision and a coordinated plan in place if the town is to move forward and this is what the Hartlepool Vision and Regeneration Masterplan are all about.”