Hartlepool is entering a unique time in its history - because it is set to deliver on a string of exciting projects.
That was the confident prediction of Hartlepool Borough Council chief executive Gill Alexander, and council leader Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher.
They exclusively spoke to the Hartlepool Mail to describe how schemes which were first highlighted last year were fast approaching reality.
The developments for Church Street and Church Square is taking shape and so is the Seaton regeneration scheme, they said.
A new business unit on Whitby Street, called The Biz, is also happening and Coun Akers-Belcher said: “What is really encouraging is that we have come to the end of the year and all those plans, work is underway.”
“Even at a time when the local authority is facing £20m of cuts recurring, then we are still able to deliver on quite an ambitious programme of regeneration across the town,” he added.
There is a real sense that this is a unique time now in the history of Hartlepool. We are beginning to see some really positive changes for the futureGill Alexander
Council chief executive Gill Alexander said: “The journey has started and things are really happening and that is really exciting as quite a lot of these big developments take a lot of time getting the money together, getting external funding lined up, looking at the plans, consulting with people on what the options might be.
“It was a great day when, within two weeks, we were launching about £8m of regeneration investment.
“The work has started in Seaton which is going to see a complete and utter transformation of the seafront there.
“We have started in Church Street. The Biz has started, it is attracting interest across the region and across the country as a really innovative idea for ways in which we can keep students and talent in the town and help them grow their own enterprise.
“The building is happening and it is on target. We will see that opening next year.”
Another project is the plan for the Hartlepool waterfront which Gill described as a “really exciting vision that we have got.”
The plan is to introduce a new interactive museum visitor attraction, watersports activities hub, public events space, four-star hotel and restaurants, and an expanded National Museum of the Royal Navy.
Gill added: “There is a real sense that this is a unique time now in the history of Hartlepool.
“We are beginning to see some really positive changes for the future.”
She said: “We set off on a three year plan and last year was the midway point. The first year was about putting the plans in place. This year is about starting the construction. Next year will be about the opening of some really exciting developments.”
Artwork has been commissioned and manufactured, one called The Waves and another is around Ridley Scott’s Boy On A Bicycle.
“They are going to become real show pieces in the town. Places where we think people will find selfie moments,” said the council chief executive.