Hartlepool Borough Council says the creation of a new jobs-boosting business centre is one step closer after an application for planning permission.
The former General Post Office and Zeus nightclub in Whitby Street, Hartlepool is planned to be turned into 31 new units for start-ups businesses specialising in creative industries and creating over 100 new jobs.
Cleveland College of Art & Design has teamed up with the council to collaborate in the management, marketing and operation of the centre.
The proposed redevelopment of the Grade II listed building forms part of the council’s Innovation & Skills Quarter project aimed at breathing new life into one of the Church Street area.
Councillor Kevin Cranney, chair of the council’s Regeneration Services Committee, said: “Our ambitious plans to revitalise the Church Street area have got off to a good start with building work progressing well on the new £11m Cleveland College of Art and Design.
“Bringing historic, empty buildings back into productive use is also a high priority for the Council and the former Grade II listed General Post Office (GPO) presents an excellent opportunity to develop new business workspace for the creative industries sector.
The proposed scheme will preserve the historic features of the GPO building whilst providing a new internal layout and upgraded information technology services to meet the needs of professional design businessesCouncillor Kevin Cranney
“We want to ensure that more young people stay in Hartlepool once they’ve completed their studies, but to do this we’ve got to create the right environment and facilities to help them succeed.
“The proposed scheme will preserve the historic features of the GPO building whilst providing a new internal layout and upgraded information technology services to meet the needs of professional design businesses.”
Other colleges are also working alongside the council to help graduates start their own businesses.
The work to revamp the Church Street area follows the council winning £5.5 million of Local Growth Fund cash and a £1.2 million Heritage Lottery Grant.
Consultation on proposals to improve highway and pedestrian areas as well as environmental enhancements is due to start soon.