New Â£1.4m park and water sports hub planned for Hartlepool marina site
Work on the first phase of a transformation of Hartlepool's former Jackson's Landing site is expected to start later this year with two projects totalling Â£1.4 million.
An interim water activity centre as well as a park and sculpture trail around the edge of the site are proposed to be created by Hartlepool Borough Council.
They are aimed to act as a ‘show of intent’ ahead of longer term ambitions for a new family visitor attraction, four-star hotel, restaurants and expanded National Museum of the Royal Navy.
The short term projects, and funding requited, are due to go before councillors at a meeting on Monday, January 22.
A report of the council’s Joint Finance and Policy and Regeneration Services Committee, stated: “As the Waterfront site will be developed in phases over a period of time it is important to deliver a series of initial projects to attract interest and potential investment and begin to change the perception of the site; to members of the public, businesses and investors.
“The scale and quality of the proposed public realm works will provide a statement of intent for the transformation of the area.”
The council is proposing to use £50,000 to set up a water activities hub near the Jackson’s Wharf pub with Hartlepool Marina Ltd.
The marina is said to be keen to expand its water-based activities through their On Water brand.
The council report stated: “The lack of a permanent location for an activity centre means that only a limited number of water-based activities can currently be provided.
“The Marina wish to address this, in the interim, by using former Olympic press cabins and containers for reception and marketing facilities, changing facilities and storage.”
The creation of a linear park is part of proposals to improve the space at The Highlight where the former Jackson’s Landing shopping mall stood.
The council stated: “This will provide much-needed green space within the centre of Hartlepool, and a pleasant walking environment and viewing platform for the water-based events in the Marina, whilst the longer term development of the site progresses.
“The interim public realm designs will provide an attractive setting to future development and soften the large unappealing hard landscaped mass of the area.”
The work would also see a significant amount of seating added along with new lighting.
The council says improvement to the area have been designed to be flexible enough to change or be removed to make way for future phases of development.
If councillors give the go ahead, a public consultation exercise is due to take place in February.
Work would start in September and be due to be completed by April of next year.
The council adopted a concept masterplan to guide the development of the waterfront around the Jackson’s Landing site in October last year.
Its key proposals include a new visitor attraction of a modern museum with facilities aimed at families and children; a Watersports Activities Hub; large space for public events; 4-star hotel and restaurants; bigger National Museum of the Royal Navy; and improvements to the public space.
Gill Alexander, chief executive of the council, told the Mail last month: “We are investing in the public realm so that we can use it for events, exhibitions.
“The National Museum of the Royal Navy may want to bring some exhibitions.
The second phase of development will be around a feasibility study on the visitor centre for Hartlepool.
Ms Alexander added: “We want it to be a really great site where people can come and spend time together.”
The council used the area to stage a new Waterfront Festival last September which was attended by thousands of people.
A second festival is due to be held again this year.
The council purchased the site for £1.5 million in 2013 with an interest-free loan.
It was dominated by the former Jackson’s Landing shopping mall which had stood empty for over a decade after it ceased trading in 2004.
The building was demolished by the council just over a year ago.