Scheme to improve Hartlepool's historic Church Street area extended after covid pandemic and other issues cause setbacks

A project offering grant funding to improve Hartlepool’s historic Church Street area is to be extended until the end of 2022 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and other setbacks.

By Nic Marko
Wednesday, 10th February 2021, 7:13 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th February 2021, 7:14 pm
Church Street, pictured during lockdown. Grants are on offer as part of efforts to improve the town centre area.
Church Street, pictured during lockdown. Grants are on offer as part of efforts to improve the town centre area.

This followed an extensive project development phase, where the condition of the area was studied in detail and the scheme of works established for a three-year project.

Council officers have reported the delivery of the scheme has been extended until November 2022 due to the impact of Covid-19, along with staffing issues.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Church Street, pictured during lockdown. Grants are on offer as part of efforts to improve the town centre area.

In addition to this revisions to the programme have been proposed, including simplifying the process to gain grants for building works and altering the activities plan to ensure more residents are involved.

A report from Sylvia Pinkney, council assistant director for regulatory services, states after several issues, they have agreed to extend the scheme.

She said: “Since the launch of the scheme, recruitment of an officer to oversee works has been a challenge.

“At the beginning of the scheme, six months passed prior to an officer being in post. The position then became vacant again in December 2019 for a further 10 months.

A window to apply for grants to help improve buildings in the Church Street area has been extended to 2022.

“The absence of an officer to lead the project, along with the pandemic, has had an impact on the ability to deliver the building grants and activities within the required timescale for the scheme.

“In light of the events of last year, and the staffing issues, discussions have taken place with the National Lottery Heritage Fund regarding the delivery of the scheme.

“It has been agreed that it can be extended for a further two years to November 2022, in order to deliver the remainder of the project.”

The revised activities plan as part of the scheme will look to reduce or remove activities which are a challenge to carry out under the current circumstances, and reschedule activities for when time allows.

Alongside these proposals investigations are underway as to how connected events and activities can be delivered in the street in order to generate activity and interest.

The report also noted the National Lottery Heritage Fund advised in September that in light of the lack of applications, the building grants element of the project is reviewed.

The revised scheme proposes the grant funding offer is simplified, with a single grant scheme offering 75% of the total cost of the works including any professional fees without any cap for buildings in the area.

The previous building grant scheme offered properties between Whitby Street and Mainsforth Terrace grants for works to make buildings structurally sound and watertight, offering 75% up to a maximum of £20,000.

It also offered architectural details grants for works to restore shopfronts, windows and doors, providing grants for 90% of the costs of the works up to a maximum of £10,000.

Grants were also available to help improve ‘key buildings’ noted in the Church Street area.

The report is to be discussed by the council regenerations services committee on Wednesday, February 17, from 10am.

Support your Mail and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest on Pools and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.