A new interactive museum could be on the way in Hartlepool where people can re-live the Bombardment.
The former Jacksons Landing site could become home to a modern museum which looks to the future as well as the past.
It would have 3D interaction for people to experience the bombardment and visitors could also see Hartlepool in the future - both below the waves and above it.
There will also be a ‘boardwalk’ to link everything to the National Museum of the Royal Navy.
The huge five-acre former Jacksons Landing site could also house a hotel, watersports centre and an area for public events.
A “water taxi” could link it all to Navigation Point so that Hartlepool would make more of its total waterside offering, the Mail has been told.
Our point is the Hartlepool story has been a gateway for exploration in the past and will be in the future, but our young people will need the kind of skills to explore the world beyond Hartlepool.Gill Alexander
Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher, the leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, and chief executive Gill Alexander spoke to the Mail about the future of the site.
Ms Alexander said Hartlepool would develop a new visitor attraction “which really triggers the imagination” and added: “We are looking at some of the proposals from GT3 against a bit of a signal to what we will be formally launching in the New Year.
“But we will be looking at a new innovative building for the future which will tell the Hartlepool story, not just in terms of our past but also in terms of shaping the future.
“We will be looking at how we can enable the visitors, and particularly the children and young people to understand our history but also to understand the kind of skills we will need to shape our future.”
Coun Akers-Belcher said: “We want it to be very hands on so that it is a lot more interactive.
“If people assume that it is going to be like a Hartlepool museum, what we want to do is move away from the traditional museum - have something that can tell the story of the history of Hartlepool but in a different way.”
Gill said they would be looking to use 3D and virtual reality technology “so you could actually experience what it was like in the Bombardment rather than just look at the artefacts.”
“Our point is that the Hartlepool story has been a gateway for exploration in the past and will be so in the future, but our young people will need the kind of skills to explore the world beyond Hartlepool.
“It will be a really exciting centre for that to happen and plans for that are being formed at the moment.
“Funding is available from Heritage Lottery to do feasibility work and “we have been talking to some big partners around an investment package around that,” said Ms Alexander.
She said the council would also be working on how to prioritise it in its own capital strategy as well as looking to the Tees Valley Combined Authority.
She added: “The decisions we will be taking in 2017 will really set the course for Hartlepool going forward over the next 20 to 30 years. It is important that we get the best advice and we get it right, but 2017 will be the year where we will be able to really fix on what it is we are going to deliver, and in some cases like Church Street you will see that happening.”
Coun Akers-Belcher said the “next big project” for Hartlepool was around the waterfront - the whole project linking Jacksons Landing to the museum.
There was also interest in a hotel for the site “but we are also very keen to make as much as we can of the public realm for places for people to walk on an evening.”
Coun Akers-Belcher said: “We want it to improve the economy, but it has to be a place where people will want to spend a lot of time. It has to be active from dawn till dusk.”
Ms Alexander said the concepts could come forward by March this year when the three-year plan and five-year strategy would be launched.
Jacksons Landing was purchased by Hartlepool Borough Council in 2013 via an interest-free loan.
Newcastle-based architects GT3 were recently appointed to lead an exercise aimed at creating a mixed use development on the site.