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HARTLEPOOL: Plans for potential £25 million investment will improve the town

HARTLEPOOL: Plans for potential £25 million investment will improve the town

Image: LDRS

Plans for a potential £25million investment in Hartlepool will improve the town and provide skills for ‘current and future generations’, according to the council leader.

Hartlepool has been identified as one of 100 places that have been invited to develop proposals for a Town Deal up to £25million, as part of the Government’s £3.6bn Towns Fund programme.

Developing the Wesley Chapel site, re-imagining Middleton Grange Shopping Centre and improving connectivity around the Marina are all being lined up as projects to benefit as part of the national funding bid.

Hartlepool Borough Council leader Cllr Shane Moore, speaking to the finance and policy committee on Monday, praised members of the Town Deal Board for bringing the ‘really good proposal’ forward.

Cllr Moore said: “It is a really robust proposal and I’d like to think we stand a good chance of getting a good chunk of what we asked for.

“It’s a good balance between capital and investing in skills and making sure that not only the current generation, but future generations to come are going to be upskilled and put into the type of employment that’s going to keep them, hopefully, in a job for life.”

As part of the funding a Health and Care Centre of Excellence training facility within the University Hospital of Hartlepool would also be developed, which would be a ‘state of the art facility’ and ‘one of only a handful in the country’ of its kind.

The final project involves developing the Tees Valley Civil Engineering Institute, which proposes investment in the consolidation and growth of teaching and training capacity in Hartlepool to ‘enhance and future-proof facilities’.

Sites involved include the Hartlepool College of Further Education Exeter Street Annex and the Seymour Skills Academy in Brenda Road, an 11-acre ‘real world’ training ground with teaching facilities which opened in 2019.

In discussing the bid, Cllr Leisa Smith called for officers working on the Wesley Chapel project to ensure all insurance money, from when the site was extensively damaged by fire in 2017, is used on developing the building.

She added any potential funding from the Town Deal should be used to ‘top up’ costs needed.

Denise McGuckin, council managing director, said funds for the Wesley Chapel as part of the bid would contribute towards a bigger scheme, with the owner putting in the bulk of the funding, and she would take the insurance point on board.

Planning permission is already in place for a 36-bedroom boutique hotel with a bar-restaurant at the site.

Thanks were also given from councillors and officers to Alby Pattison, founder of international company Hart Biologicals, who chaired the Town Deal Board and helped put together the bid.

The projects all previously went before the council regeneration services committee, with chair Cllr Christopher Akers-Belcher hailing the plans as ‘the start of the renaissance of developing Hartlepool’.

A submission of the Town Investment Plan is to go to Government ministers at the end of this month, and council officers said they hope to hear in the coming months if they have been successful.

Words: Nic Marko, Local Democracy Reporter

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