Hartlepool venue given £1.8 million in Budget to transform it into top North East cultural hub
A landmark Hartlepool building has received £1.8m of new funding to help transform it into a more vibrant cultural venue.
The Borough Hall was given the money as part of this week’s Budget towards a three-year plan by Hartlepool council chiefs to refurbish the 155-year-old building on the Headland and make it a thriving centre for culture, activities and live events.
Councillors have spoken of their ambition to make the Borough Hall the best venue in the North East and aim to attract top entertainment artists to perform.
The announcement by the Treasury on Wednesday means around £3million will now be spent on the building after funding for the first phase of improvements had previously been earmarked by Hartlepool Borough Council.
Council leader Councillor Shane Moore said: “This is great news and a massive boost for the Headland and the town as a whole.
“The Borough Hall is an iconic building, but unfortunately it is showing its age and is in need of urgent renovation.”
Areas of the building to be improved include the entrance and bar areas, main hall and associated performance elements, backstage facilities and other rooms.
Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, chair of the council’s Economic Growth and Regeneration Committee, added: “The additional funding is great news and I look forward to the reimagining of this landmark building.
"There’s nothing quite like the buzz and excitement of watching a live performance in a beautiful and historic venue like the Borough Hall.”
Councillor Sue Little, the council’s Policy Chair for Culture, also welcomed the funding, saying: “We have some really exciting plans for the building which we hope will inspire existing audiences and introduce more people to the wonderful world of culture.”
A date for the work to start is still to be finalised, and the council says it plans to liaise closely with local groups and organisations that use the Borough Hall on a regular basis.
A year ago councillors praised a ‘mouthwatering’ three year plan for the venue, which has remained closed to events since the start of the pandemic.
Susan French, the council’s performance venues manager, told of rebranding the venue and attracting the right sort of musicians, comedians and large-scale theatre, and also using it for weddings, business events, and possibly launching an in-house record label for local artists.