Proposal to revamp street

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ONE of Hartlepool’s most prominent streets could be transformed after council chiefs secured a grant towards regenerating the area.

Hartlepool Borough Council is looking to breathe new life into Church Street, in the centre of the town, after securing £7,000 from the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Economic Growth Adviser programme.

The LGA has a panel of advisers from a wide range of “regeneration and economic growth” backgrounds who help support local authorities looking to transform areas.

Officials at Hartlepool Council say the £7,000 worth of support will be used to help create a strategy focusing on reducing the number of empty properties and to stimulate private sector growth.

Councillors on the regeneration services committee meet tomorrow to discuss the successful application.

Damien Wilson, the council’s assistant director of regeneration, said: “The Economic Growth Adviser Programme was launched by the Local Government Association to offer direct bespoke advice and support to local authorities to help them deliver economic growth in their area.

“The council has been successful in securing the maximum £7,000 worth of support to create a strategy to facilitate the regeneration of Church Street.

“Church Street is currently dominated by a large number of vacant premises and a failing night time economy.

“This has occurred since the relocation of the main retail core to Middleton Grange Shopping Centre. The street therefore presents a poor image with low levels of vitality.”

The report added “enterprise levels” in Hartlepool remain low by national levels, and officers say there is a need to stimulate the private sector.

Mr Wilson added: “The aim of the project is to create a strategy for Church Street that will reduce the number of vacant buildings, facilitate additional daytime uses and create a cluster of creative industries businesses in sectors such as arts, design, photography, music and digital enterprise.

“The area has the potential to contribute towards economic growth as the historic street scene presents a unique environment for the creation of a specialist town centre quarter.

“The student base and activity generated by Hartlepool College of Further Education and Cleveland College of Art and Design are cornerstones of economic activity in Hartlepool, especially in supporting the day time economy.”

The programme will look at potential funding streams, best practice from other local authorities and “innovative” ways to boost growth.

The regeneration services committee meets at the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road, on Thursday, January 16, at 9.30am.