PUBLIC PLAZA: Weather fears prompt ‘mobile roof’ suggestion
An artists impression of a proposed public space for events and outdoor retailers, Image: Redcar and Cleveland Council
Plans to open up an outdoor space between Redcar High Street and the seafront for cultural events and ‘pop up’ businesses could be hindered by the great British weather, a councillor has suggested.
Coatham ward councillor Carl Quartermain said he liked the plans, which are part of the £25m Redcar ‘Town Deal’ scheme aimed at rejuvenating the coastal town.
But he suggested the development could create a “wind corridor”.
Cllr Quartermain also said Redcar and Cleveland Council should consider some kind of roof over the planned space which could be erected in winter.
He said: “Redcar does not have any indoor shopping.
“There are places around the country that have a mobile roof which is removable so you can open up in the summer during the good weather and close during the winter.
“Whether the council has the money, or the inclination to do that I don’t know.”
Cllr Quartermain said the local authority had to be “canny” when looking at potential improvements to the retail and leisure offer in Redcar town centre.
He added: “Retail has moved on, people can easily stay at home and order online.
“So we have to re-create the high street and give people a reason to be there, and we have got to be a bit canny.”
Last month the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) revealed that the council had bought the old Marks & Spencer building on Redcar High Street, which will be demolished to make way for the public plaza.
The council is also understood to be targeting the property next door for the same purpose.
It currently houses discount retailer Goodwins, part of the Yorkshire Trading Company, and was previously home several years ago to the town’s former Woolworths store.
Cllr Quartermain previously described Goodwins’ Esplanade-facing frontage as an “eyesore” and standing out like a sore thumb.
He said: “My understanding is that is the intention, but whether they [the council] have got it yet, or are still going for it I’m not sure.”
The council was unable to provide a response when contacted by the LDRS, while the Yorkshire Trading Company has also been contacted for comment.
Last month a council spokesman said it was working with partners on the Redcar Town Deal board to “make sure this huge opportunity to transform the town is grabbed with both hands”.
Other aspects of the Town Deal plans, being funded by Government cash, include a proposed outdoor watersports centre at Coatham, an indoor family activity centre, renovations to properties in Station Road, an improved library for the town and a clean energy education hub at Redcar & Cleveland College.
Words: Stuart Arnold, Local Democracy Reporter
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