Council chiefs say it is an ‘exciting’ time for Hartlepool as three regeneration projects totalling more than £7million are set to give the town a facelift.
Next week will see the start of a £1.3million scheme to revitalise Seaton Carew.
It comes as work is starting on the latest £3.4million redevelopment of Church Street and Church Square.
And work also began earlier this month on transforming the former Post Office in Whitby Street into a £3million business centre and this week Hartlepool Borough Council formally adopted an ambitious masterplan for Hartlepool Waterfront.
Coun Kevin Cranney, chairman of the council’s Regeneration Services Committee, said it is very much a time for the town to be looking forward.
He said: “I am really excited, there’s so much positive stuff going on. When I talk to people they are really enthusiastic about everything because they can see the changes being made.
It’s investment in Hartlepool, because Hartlepool is worth investing inKevin Cranney
“We cannot just look back, it is about looking ahead and creating new things.
“Investment is being put into Hartlepool, because Hartlepool is worth investing in.”
One of the investors, Peter Stephenson, executive chairman of Able UK, and supporter of Hartlepool, has ploughed £100,000 into the Seaton Carew development.
He said a large proportion of his workforce live in the town and he is keen to see the seaside area regenerated.
The businessman said: “The work that is going to be done here will last a long time.”
This project will see a new outdoor leisure park created on the section of promenade currently occupied by the paddling pool and the adjacent grassed area running north as far as the slipway. The leisure park will feature a children’s water play area including ground geysers, water tunnels, jet streams and a fountain spray. There will also be children’s play equipment and picnic tables and – echoing Seaton’s heritage as a seaside resort - beach huts.
A new 12ft-high glass and steel sculpture by Hartlepool artist Stuart Langley called ‘Waves’, reflecting the town’s maritime and industrial heritage, will be installed on the prom near Seaton Reach.
A further focus of the improvements will be the Grade II-listed art deco clocktower and bus station.
There will be structural repairs to this popular landmark plus new paving, as well as bulb planting in the grassed area in front to create an attractive springtime welcome for visitors and residents alike.
As well as the investment from Albe UK, the Seaton improvements have been made possible thanks to a £600,000 contribution from the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund.
The multi-million pound project for Church Street will see it closed to through traffic for 30 weeks while the work takes place, which is due to be completed in May 2018.
It has been funded by the Tees Valley Combined Authority, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Hartlepool Borough Council.
There will be a sign-posted diversion in place along Tower Street and Huckelhoven Way while work is taking place. Vehicle and pedestrian access to the businesses and the railway station will be maintained.
The existing trees in Church Street which obscure the buildings will be removed and replaced with smaller ones and unnecessary street clutter such as bollards and signs will be taken away. Engraved stones will be set into the pavement outside key buildings, explaining their history.
Two-way traffic along Church Street will still be maintained and there will still be a number of parking bays, and the new layout will make it easier for sections of Church Street to be closed off for hosting future events while still maintaining good traffic flow via short diversions.
The project will see Church Square given a major uplift, with the area to become pedestrianised, with a large oval event space encircled by trees and raised seating to be created in front of Hartlepool Art Gallery.