Food markets, street art, light projections and history trails among ambitious plans for Hartlepool's Church Street

Street art, outdoor food markets and educational historical projects have all been touted as ideas to come forward in Hartlepool as part of the Church Street regeneration.

Thursday, 18th February 2021, 10:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th February 2021, 10:45 pm
Looking down Church Street from Church Square. The area is one of borough leaders' key priorities for improving the town.

Hartlepool Borough Council chiefs have given an update on work going on around Church Street as part of the regeneration of the area.

Several projects have been, and are in the process of being carried out, thanks to National Lottery grant funding as part of the Townscape Heritage Scheme.

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Church Street during lockdown.

This includes providing artwork visible in the streets, walking tours, and hosting events to celebrate the area’s heritage.

Sarah Scarr, council heritage and countryside manager, told the regeneration services committee they have plans for lots of initiatives around Church Street to draw people to the area.

She said: “We have a limited budget for what we can put on, but we know that there needs to be a lot more activities in the street.

“We need to really strengthen the offer for Church Street to draw people into the area and draw them back into town as well.”

She noted street art was one of the ways they could improve the appearance of the area, which could be visible on walking tours as part of the scheme.

Ms Scarr added: “If you do go down the back of Whitby Street on the back of one of the properties, someone’s done a mural of David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust days.

“We really like that idea… and that kind of thing so that’s something we’d look to develop and work with building owners about how we can do that.

“We think that’s something that we could link into our walking tours.”

She noted the council has ambitions to hold a street food event, similar to the Orange Pip Market held in Middlesbrough, while business owners also want ‘more opportunities’ to spill out into the streets.

She said: “What we feel is quite important to animating Church Street is the idea of a street event and food market.

“We know from the work that Middlesbrough have done around things like the Orange Pip Market, that these can really generate a lot of interest and can make things more of a visitor destination.”

The council is also continuing to work with local photography company Raw35 to document the changes around Church Street, which they hope to display at some point.

Officers noted the historic mapping project started before lockdown is also nearing completion, while postcards from residents detailing memories of Church Street could also be displayed.

Following on from a project which has seen building shutters decorated with graffiti to improve their appearance, council officers noted they have had talks with using objects and art to ‘animate windows’ in Church Street.

A ‘history in lights’ scheme is also being worked on, which would project onto buildings information about the history of the street, with images and research of past residents and sites.

A celebration event will also be planned for the end of the scheme in two years time, to celebrate the work which will be carried out.

Councillors on the committee were unanimous in their praise for the projects, adding it will leave a legacy and form part of the ‘jigsaw of regeneration’ in the town.

Cllr Christopher Akers-Belcher, chair of the committee, said: “I think this is an excellent part of that jigsaw and that’s why it’s important to get the public behind what we’re doing.

“We just need to hold our nerve really and make sure that we get to the end point so people can enjoy the history of Church Street.

“We’re going to invest in the future, but we’re going to celebrate the heritage of Hartlepool at the same time.”

Cllr Jim Lindridge added the projects will help develop local talent, which he hopes will encourage young people to stay in Hartlepool.

He said: “I think there’s been some fantastic work done by the officers, I don’t think we can give them enough credit for the work they’ve been doing.

“There’s so many positives here and I think it’s’ really exciting.

“It would be nice to see an end result in this where we are having the street markets and things and the public can really see the hard work that the town’s put in and the investment we’ve drawn in to do this.”

Council officers also stressed the vast majority of funding for the projects has come from grants and other external avenues.

Cllr Brenda Loynes added: “I think it is exciting times and definitely long overdue, we need to get this up and running ASAP.”