Landmark Hartlepool business centre is set to break even

Council chiefs have praised the progress made with a landmark business centre in Hartlepool as it looks set to break even from next year.
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The BIS – a centre for “creating businesses through innovation and skills” – was created through the refurbishment of the Grade II-listed former Post Office building in Whitby Street and opened in 2019.

The building has 28 units with flexible tenancy arrangements to help new business enterprises, with 21 currently occupied and levels remaining “fairly consistent”.

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Council officers noted the progress is “unusual to see in new spaces such as this”, especially considering the impact of Covid-19.

The BIS, in Whitby Street, Hartlepool.The BIS, in Whitby Street, Hartlepool.
The BIS, in Whitby Street, Hartlepool.

The types of businesses in the BIS include jewellery making, photography, filmmaking, web design, marketing consultancy and clothing design.

The latest meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council’s economic growth and regeneration committee heard the site is expected to break-even in 2022-23 for the first time.

The BIS was expected to report a deficit in its early years as it transitioned to full occupancy of rental units, and funds were budgeted for this.

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The 2020-21 financial outturn was a deficit of £65,000 as a result of pandemic rental losses, which was covered by Government Covid-19 grant funding, while the £30,000 deficit for 2021-22 is to be covered by the budgeted council funds.

The building is expected to make a £10,000 surplus in 2023-24.

Cllr Paddy Brown, chair of the committee, said: “It looks absolutely great that, especially considering we’ve gone through Covid, it’s about to go into breaking even.”

Officers added plans for the future include working with schools to promote career opportunities and to develop links with the new Northern Film and TV Studios nearby.