IT is sad to see the derelict Jacksons Landing building, which was a retail outlet for many years, and the empty Garland’s buildings nearby.
Changes in Hartlepool, such as the enhancement of Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, Anchor Retail Park, the marina shops, the now flourishing Tees Bay Retail Park, and the many smaller shops and mini supermarkets, mean that retail is very much catered for in Hartlepool, to an extent that it has become somewhat oversubscribed in this area.
This is also having an adverse effect on the town’s shopping centre with its high rents and rates.
Also, the majority of the other retail areas have free parking.
Many suggestions for Jacksons Landing range from yet more shops and restaurants to the good old standby, the conference centre.
My idea, with the aid of lateral thinking, is to forget ideas of retail, and convert the iconic-shaped Jacksons Landing into a marine college.
It is in an ideal location, next to the marina, where apprentices could be taught boat building and other marine skills, just as their grandfathers were taught.
One of the Garland’s buildings could be converted into student flats.
With these proposals and a little imagination, I believe that a marine-type college, teaching almost forgotten skills, would enhance Hartlepool and add another centre of excellence to our already established College of Further Education and Cleveland College of Art & Design.
Regarding the Hartlepool Main Plan, instead of giving over £1m to some consultants, and then tearing up their report, why not have a competition among the final year school students for their ideas?
They are the ones to inherit the town.
It wouldn’t cost anything and Hartlepool Borough Council might just find some good ideas for free!
And the money saved would go to the marine college project.