D-Day for Hartlepool’s £100million improvement project: Waterfront and town centre revamps set for green light

HMS Trincomalee and Hartlepool Maritime Experience Museum.
HMS Trincomalee and Hartlepool Maritime Experience Museum.

Jobs-boosting regeneration plans for Hartlepool Marina and town centre which civic chiefs say could be worth over £25million to the town’s economy looks set to get the go-ahead.

The Hartlepool Masterplan aims to raise Hartlepool’s profile as a major leisure and visitor destination, revive the town’s flagging retail sector and bringing shopping, leisure and tourism closer together.

The  car park between the Middleton Grange centre and York Road.

The car park between the Middleton Grange centre and York Road.

Regeneration chiefs at Hartlepool Borough Council estimate the proposals will result in over £100million being spent on construction projects, bring up to 700 jobs and add between £25million to £28.6million to the economy.

In summary, the proposals are as follows:

•Waterfront: Opportunity to develop Jackson’s Landing and Trincomalee Wharf and the recommended creation a ‘Cultural Quarter’ cluster of attractions with the National Museum of the Royal Navy North’s presence at Hartlepool Maritime Experience acting as a driver for new investment.

Mr Wilson said: “The Waterfront is an under utilised area and there is potential to work with the Marina and other operators to bring activity to the area.

“Trincomalee Wharf will be a major mixed use redevelopment. This could include residential, office and leisure uses.”

•Church Street: Development of an Innovation and Skills Quarter in conjunction with Cleveland College of Art and Design to bring unused buildings back into daytime use with new creative industry businesses.

The council says much progress has already been made including the relocation of the council’s Lynn Street depot to make way for a new college campus and securing of £5.4m Local Growth Funding.

•Town Centre: Proposed relocation of leisure facilities from Mill House to the centre of Town adjacent to Middleton Grange (on the car park adjacent to the Market Hall.

Mr Wilson said: “The creation of new modern community and leisure facilities which are efficient to run, close to public transport and ample car parking could encourage linked trips to the shops which may help to improve the shopping centre and attract retailers.

“The diversification of the town centre is important for its long term sustainability as town centres can no longer rely on retail alone.”

It is also proposed to open shop frontages to Victory Square which are currently empty.

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The masterplan is due to be adopted by councillors at a combined Finance and Policy and Regeration Services committee today at 1pm.

It focuses on developing specific sites at the marina, Hartlepool waterfront and wider town centre over the next 15 years. The council says it has been developed through comprehensive public consultation and negotiations with the private sector and builds upon the Vision initiative.

Damien Wilson, the council’s assistant director (regeneration) said despite the tough economic climate Hartlepool is facing, a number of developments have paved the way for the Masterplan.

They include investment and new names in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, £2m invested in the new Vision Retail Park, increased visitor spending, and the biggest fall in youth unemployment in the country from 17.8% to 4.2%.

And, last year 3.2 million people visited Hartlepool who spent £148m, up from £143m in 2013-14.

Mr Wilson said in a report; “The Masterplan has been prepared to make the most of Hartlepool’s attractive assets and to stimulate exciting new development and investment.

“Changing the perception and image of Hartlepool will be a key element of the Masterplan.”

Mr Wilson says a number of stakeholders, landowners and funding agencies are vital to delivering the Masterplan.

He added: “The Masterplan sets the direction of travel for regeneration in Hartlepool.

“The projects and timescales within the Masterplan may evolve as new opportunities or challenges are identified.”