Proposals were submitted to Hartlepool Borough Council planning department earlier this year to convert vacant units at Vision Retail Park on The Highlight to be used as part of the neighbouring museum’s expansion.
Submitted by National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) Hartlepool bosses, plans stated the land would be used for facilities such as galleries, exhibition spaces and heritage and interpretation workshop areas.
A report from senior council planning officer Jane Tindall has now confirmed the proposals have been approved, adding they should have numerous benefits to the area.
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In her report, she said: “The proposed development would see a vacant building within a designated town centre area, being brought back into use.
“This would support the vitality and viability of the area.
“The development is not considered to have a negative impact on visual amenity, the amenity of neighbouring land users or highway safety.”
The primary activities taking place in the expanded museum site are to include galleries and temporary exhibition spaces, such as touring displays, and activity space for experimental experiences.
Plans state the site is to have workshop areas for heritage restoration and interpretation purposes, along with education facilities and spaces, such as for STEM subjects.
A planning statement from Wardell Armstrong, on behalf of the applicant, says the museum expansion proposals will provide a boost to the region.
It said: “The proposals are necessary to improve and enhance the existing experience and to provide additional interest to the benefit of Hartlepool.
“The proposals will have positive economic, environmental and social benefits for Hartlepool
“The development provides a unique and exciting opportunity for the town of Hartlepool.”
The proposals are also expected to provide a permanent home for the RML 497, a Second World War motor rescue launch, currently located in a temporary base at the museum.
This will help allow the museum to “extend its offer and boost visitor numbers”, according to the plans.
The proposals will also see the site offer a museum gift shop and catering, including coffee and tea stands and a “possible cafe”.
A subsequent application is to be submitted with details of the design of the building and surrounding land.