Ambitious plans to transform Hartlepool’s waterfront into a thriving tourist area would create hundreds of jobs.
Proposals for the former Jacksons Landing site and Jackson Dock area include a four star hotel, new family visitor attraction using the latest technology, and a watersports hub.
A Waterfront Masterplan setting out the ambitions is due to go before councillors for approval today.
It is estimated the proposals would create up to 275 jobs plus a further 430 construction jobs.
Newcastle based architects GT3 were appointed by Hartlepool Borough Council to come up with a masterplan for the area last year, as previously reported by the Mail.
Tourism specialists were also appointed to carry out research into potential demand.
The Waterfront site provides the opportunity to transform the economy of HartlepoolHartlepool Borough Council
The masterplan proposes:
• A new visitor attraction of a modern museum with facilities aimed at families and children;
• A Watersports Activities Hub and a large public events space;
• A 4-star hotel and restaurants;
• Bigger National Museum of the Royal Navy;
• New public realm area to allow visitors to access the water.
A report of Denise Ogden, Hartlepool council’s director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, states: “The Waterfront site provides the opportunity to transform the economy of Hartlepool and capitalise on the unique opportunities provided by the National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool (NMRN).
“A number of options were tested and consulted upon prior to arriving at a preferred masterplan concept scheme.”
The report adds: “High level analysis at the feasibility stage suggests that if the concept Masterplan was delivered 250-275 jobs could be created in addition to 430 full time equivalent construction jobs, a significant increase in visitor spend across the Tees Valley, the attraction of additional private sector investment and increased business rate income.”
The proposed Water Activity Hub aims to bring together the various water activities around the marina in an easy to access location with changing, marketing, training and education facilities.
Land-based activities such as climbing walls, skate park and indoor caving could also be provided says the council.
Operators are already said to have expressed interest in the scheme.
An outdoor events area would provide a platform for a range of temporary activities from markets and street food festivals to exhibitions, naval displays and music shows.
Significant investment is said to be planned by the National Museum of the Royal Navy to create new exhibitions and attractions.
The development of the site would take place over a number of years.
But the council says it is important to deliver a series of “quick win” projects, including a new programme of events and public realm works at the site to change the public’s impression of the site and see it used more.
In the short term, the navy museum has indicated it will provide a commando style assault course.
And former Olympic press cabins will be used to run an interim water activity hub until a more permanent centre is established.
The next phase of work will look into the feasibility of the proposals with a view to securing planning permissions and marketing to potential investors.
It is expected to cost £744,000 funded by £680,000 secured from the Tees Valley Combined Authority and £64,000 from a Museum Resilience Fund grant.
But the council says the plans will need public investment to make them a reality.
Tourism is said to be worth £142 million to Hartlepool’s economy.
The proposals are due to be discussed by the council’s Joint Finance and Policy Regeneration Services Committee in the civic centre at 2pm today.