Ambitious plans to revitalise Hartlepool’s waterfront will step up a gear in 2019.
Hartlepool Borough Council chiefs will seek funding from the Tees Valley Combined Authority towards an expansion of the National Museum of the Royal Navy and for a new multi-million pound visitor attraction.
Work to improve the public space on the site of the former Jackson’s Landing factory shopping outlet comprising of landscaping, new lighting and seating, is due to be completed by June.
The waterfront project is a key element of Hartlepool Borough Council’s town regeneration programme.
Council leader Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher said: “We will be looking at a package of funding for the waterfront through the combined authority.
“I will be taking a report to the combined authority to seek funding for a new build on the waterfront which will be our new visitor attraction and also funding for the extension of the National Museum of the Royal Navy.”
The extension of the navy museum is linked to a £5m restoration project of a Second World War rescue boat due to arrive in Hartlepool in January.
Council chief executive Gill Alexander said plans for the national visitor attraction, which will focus on the role the sea has played in Hartlepool’s history, will go before councillors this year.
She said: “There is going to be a centre which tries to tell that story around as an island how the sea, the North Sea particularly, has been critical to shaping our destiny.
“There will be a centre which looks at the past of that but also looks to the future in terms of some of the new technologies and sub-sea work that’s going on and gives children and young people an opportunity to really be inspired about the marine life as well as marine technology.”
No overall figure for how much the visitor centre will cost has been given yet.
Ms Alexander said feasibility studies were still being carried out.
She added there has been strong interest from hoteliers about having a presence on the site.
Ms Alexander said: “We have got some premium hotels who are very interested.
“We have to put together a package for the public realm and visitor centre.
“All of that will come together in next year.
“There is a commitment from the combined authority that this is going to be given priority.”