Hartlepool council chiefs have announced the latest phase of the multi-million pound regeneration campaign to give the town centre a facelift is set to start next month.
Following the completion of work to Church Street and Church Square, civic chiefs are getting ready to improve Stockton Street.
The aim is to create a ‘sense of arrival’ as town leaders say too many people drive past the town centre before they realise it.
Work on the £1.2m project to improve appearance and connectivity in Stockton Street will start next month.
The central reservation that runs along Stockton Street between the bottom of Park Road and Victoria Road will be taken out, the crossing at the top of Church Square replaced, and a new turning into the Middleton Grange multi-storey car park created.
Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher said: “I’m really looking forward in the New Year we will continue that project all the way along Stockton Street.
“That starts in January. The whole central reservation is coming out.
“There will be a single very wide crossing to encourage connectivity with Middleton Grange and the town.
“What we are trying to develop is an Innovation and Skills Quarter; Church Square, Church Street, so it’s about linking all of that together.”
New street dressing, similar to that used to advertise the Waterfront Festival but larger will be added.
It will be themed around 20 ships that were built in Hartlepool.
Coun Akers-Belcher added: “A lot of people will just drive through Hartlepool and you don’t realise you have passed the town centre until it is behind you.
“It’s about opening it up. One of the things we are going to be doing is having some city dressing so you get a sense of arrival when you come into Stockton Street.
“People will really know when they arrive in Hartlepool with the city dressing which is similar to the flags we put up for the Waterfront Festival but much bigger and will be permanent displays.”
Coun Akers-Belcher said it will be part of the biggest period of regeneration Hartlepool has experienced in years including £3.4m spent on Church Street, over £1m at Seaton and between £3m-£4m on turning the former Whitby Street Post Office into a centre for start up creative companies.
He said the impact is being seen with housing growth, the success of the town’s Enterprise Zone and the highest survival rate of small to medium size businesses in the region.
Council chief executive Gill Alexander added: “I think people of the town are starting to notice we are making a big difference, but we started this about four years ago and it’s just great to start seeing some of these big things coming to fruition.”