'Re-imagining' of Hartlepool's Middleton Grange shopping centre and better connections to marina included in £25million regeneration plan
A ‘reimagining’ of Hartlepool’s shopping centre, improving access to the marina and other moves to boost job skills are among core proposals as town leaders draw up the borough’s wish list for a £25million bid to Government.
The Hartlepool Town Investment Plan, which aspires ‘to transform the town’, has been prepared after Hartlepool was named as one of the first 100 towns in England to access funding through the Town Fund.
Key projects designed by local leaders on the Hartlepool Town Deal Board and based on resident and business input include a ‘re-imagining’ of Middleton Grange shopping centre.
Ways to make it easier for people to access the marina are another.
And a new state-of-the art training academy at the University Hospital of Hartlepool is part of a plan to address the town’s job skills shortage.
People are being asked to give their views before the plan is submitted to the government for approval at the end of January.
Hartlepool Town Deal Board chair and local businessman Alby Pattison said: “The importance of the Hartlepool Town Deal cannot be overstated as, if approved, it has the potential to really transform the town.
“Funding secured through the Town Deal will enable Hartlepool Borough Council to build on improvements already underway in the town and it will also act as a catalyst for further investment.”
The consultation document says Hartlepool is still catching up on 40 years of economic and industrial changes while a skills shortage is holding back growth.
In a public consultation last summer, residents’ top five priorities for Hartlepool were its attractiveness as a place to work and visit, job availability, regenerating the town centre, visitor attractions and leisure facilities.
As part of the regeneration of the town centre it is proposed to re-imagine Middleton Grange ‘to create a clearly defined mixed-use heart for the town centre with the introduction of new uses’.
The plan also includes the redevelopment of the Wesley building which has become an eyesore after being badly damaged by fire in 2017.
Its owners are said to be working with a range of partners to develop plans to turn it into a hotel, but adds it will need support.
To boost job skills, a new health and social care training academy at the University Hospital of Hartlepool would replicate a range of real life environments for numerous qualifications.
It would be operated by North Tees & Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with Hartlepool College of Further Education.
And a Tees Valley Civil Engineering Institute would invest in the consolidation and growth of teaching and training capacity at Hartlepool College of Further Education’s Exeter Street Annex and the Seymour Skills Academy in Brenda Road.
Footpath and cycling enhancements are proposed around the marina to improve connectivity.
New land uses are also proposed and to provide the opportunity for better connections between the marina, town centre and Hartlepool train station.
The document states: “Together, the projects present a real opportunity for transformational change in Hartlepool, bringing jobs, regenerating the town centre and improving connections across Hartlepool.”
The Hartlepool Town Deal Board is made up of representatives from the local public, private and voluntary sectors.
The survey and more information about the Town Investment Plan can be found at www.hartlepool.gov.uk/HartlepoolTownDeal