A TOURIST attraction’s trust chairman has praised the planned new vision for Hartlepool as “exciting”.
John Megson, the chairman of the HMS Trincomalee Trust, also encouraged the town to get behind the wide-ranging plans and said: “It is a great opportunity moving forward.”
He said the plans to reinvigorate areas such as Jacksons Landing were “very positive” and added: “There will be criticisms but the word vision is an exciting one whereby it should encourage all of Hartlepool.”
Two thousand jobs could be created through the Hartlepool Vision proposal which was revealed just weeks ago.
Meetings were held late last month where the plans were unveiled for the first time to business bosses and Hartlepool residents.
They heard of plans to regenerate eight parts of town which are the town centre, Jacksons Landing/Trincomalee Wharf and the marina, Church Street, Seaton Carew, the Headland, Wynyard, the Port and Queens Meadow.
Mr Megson, who is also the former Hartlepool Business Forum co-ordinator, said: “I have been in town since 1995. If you went back before then, unemployment was around 30 per cent when there was the crash of companies.
“If you bring that forward, people forget that unemployment is now around the national average and there are efforts by the local authority to create genuine partnerships.
“The town was once on its knees but what has been achieved in recent years is the regeneration of Hartlepool to date.”
He added: “You can’t help but feel optimism and an opportunity for further and significant tourism which could put Hartlepool on the map.
“If that is the case, the Tees Valley, Hartlepool and the whole of the North-East will benefit.”
Mr Megson said people should look at the move forward Hartlepool has made in the last 20 years. He added: “If you move that forward another 20 years, Hartlepool’s economy could be further enhanced and a lot of the social problems will be further depleted.”
The proposals are still in the early stages and open to further planning but experts are hoping to have a Master Plan drawn up in the next year after consultation with a wide range of organisations and residents.