Square deal is not yet sealed

Church Square 18th August 2011. Picture by FRANK REID

Church Square 18th August 2011. Picture by FRANK REID

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COUNCILLORS are expected to defer a decision on funding for a major regeneration scheme until the public have had their say on plans.

Earlier this summer Hartlepool Borough Council unveiled plans to breathe new life into Church Square (pictured), in the centre of town.

The proposals, which are subject to a major public consultation, include a phased programme of re-modelling.

Councillors are due to meet tomorrow night to discuss the funding package for the scheme, which council bosses hope will attract new businesses to the area.

Officers are recommending that a decision to use £390,000 from the capital major regeneration projects budget towards the total £650,000 cost is deferred until the consultation has finished.

The regeneration is part of wider plans to create an innovation and skills quarter on the back of the new £52m Hartlepool College of Further Education and the expansion of Cleveland College of Art & Design. The first phase includes remodelling the square with more pedestrianised areas, expanding the grassed areas around Hartlepool Art Gallery, re-surfacing work and more seating and planting. The road around Church Square will also be realigned to reduce the impact of traffic.

An exhibition giving further details, which was on display at Hartlepool Art Gallery, in Church Square, ended last week. The proposals can be viewed online.

Cabinet members have already backed the project. But full council approval is needed to use funding from the capital major regeneration projects budget. A report to full council said: “At council on the August 4 it was resolved that the report be deferred for consideration at the September ordinary council meeting.

“A public consultation exercise is being undertaken for the Church Square masterplan.

“It is therefore proposed that the decision to use the uncommitted balance of the capital major regeneration projects budget is deferred until the results of the public consultation are available.”

A decision is expected at a full council meeting in October.

Cleveland College of Art & Design has recently taken over the former Archive, Leadbitter and Municipal buildings.

Officers want to pedestrianise the top end of the square near Stockton Street by changing the access to the car park behind the Leadbitter building.

The new access would be via the gate at the side of the Municipal building.

The full council meeting will be held in the council chamber at the civic centre, Victoria Road, at 7pm.

For more information visit www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk and select the link at the bottom of this story.