Work is under way on improvements to Hartlepool’s King Oswy Shops area, off King Oswy Drive.
The work will cost £175,000 and is part of Hartlepool Borough Council’s wider Neighbourhood Investment Programme to revitalise neighbourhood areas, with £55,000 of the total cost provided by local housing provider Thirteen.
Due to the considerable problem of tree roots lifting the resin-bound surfacing of the pedestrian area, the existing trees are being removed and will be replaced with smaller trees in large planters, which will maintain the green aspect of the shops but keep root growth in check.
The resin-bound surfacing will be replaced with more attractive granite-topped paving and the public seating will also be renewed, with new timber tops for the benches.
The work is expected to be completed by the end of March.
While it is being carried out, full pedestrian access to the shops will be maintained and most of the neighbouring public car park off Nicholson Way will be available as normal.
Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher, chair of the council’s Neighbourhood Services Committee, said: “These improvements will give a fresh, open look to the area, making it more attractive for business owners and a pleasanter place for shoppers to visit, and I would like to thank Thirteen very much for its contribution to the project.”
Councillor Rob Cook, chair of the council’s Planning Committee, who is also a De Bruce Ward councillor, added: “As well as improving the appearance of the area, the work will also put an end to the increasing amount of damage being done to the pedestrian area by tree roots. The new, smaller trees which will be put in place will be contained, ensuring that they will enhance the area without the risk of them damaging the new paving.”
Natalie Usai, neighbourhoods service manager at Thirteen, said: “We’re very happy to be working alongside Hartlepool Borough Council and the local councillors on this investment project.
“Working in partnership really helps to deliver the best results in projects like this and the investment from Thirteen’s Neighbourhood Investment Programme will help to make the area a more attractive place for local people to be. We hope the work will have a positive impact for people and businesses in the area.”