Plan for Headland bridge link to marina shelved

AMBITIOUS plans to build a multi-million pound bridge connecting two parts of Hartlepool as part of an innovative art project have been shelved.

The space-age pedestrian bridge would have straddled Victoria Harbour and connected the Headland and Hartlepool Marina.

But officials at Hartlepool Borough Council say due to the current economic climate there are no plans to go ahead with the project.

The polished tubular steel structure, which would have spanned 520ft, had been designed by Turner Prize-winning artist Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond, a structural engineer.

It had been planned as part of the Tees Valley Land of the Giants initiative which aimed to see mammoth sculptures erected across the region at a cost of £15m.

The 10-year plan aimed to create huge structures in all five Tees Valley boroughs, including Hartlepool.

The funding for the innovative scheme would need to come from external sources.

Partly inspired by Kapoor’s Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago, the bridge would have been retractable to allow ships into the port.

The idea behind the Tees Valley-wide art project was to bring more visitors to town and help create jobs.

A council spokesman said: “Given the current economic climate, we have no plans to proceed with the project in Hartlepool.

“If the idea were ever to be revisited, it would still be dependent upon the funding being supplied from external sources.”

The only project to be finished is the 160ft Temenos structure, in Middlesbrough.

Temenos, which is Greek for sanctuary, is suspended between Middlesbrough’s Transporter Bridge and the Riverside Stadium.

Other sculptures planned to be built in Stockton, Redcar and Darlington have also been shelved.

Speaking at the launch back in 2008, Mayor Drummond said he was excited by the plans while Hartlepool MP Iain Wright said he thought the project could be good for the whole area and provide a catalyst for further regeneration.

The now-disbanded Tees Valley Regeneration was behind the development with the backing of the borough councils, regional development agency OneNorthEast and The Arts Council.

It was hoped to fund the projects through grants and private sector funding.