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SNOW CENTRE: New Middlehaven concert or sports venue

SNOW CENTRE: New Middlehaven concert or sports venue

CGI image of how Sub Zero, Middlesbrough's planned snow centre could look, Image: Cool Runnings NE

Plans are being developed that could see a new concert venue or sports centre developed at the site of the Middlesbrough’s doomed snow centre.

Chinese state-owned property developer BCEGI, which has already been working on Boho X, is teaming up with Middlesbrough Council to prepare plans for four zones in Middlehaven for leisure, housing and offices.

Middlehaven Docks, the site of the failed £40m snow centre, could now be home to a major venue that could host concerts, events and exhibitions or a multi-sport centre, which would provide facilities for indoor and outdoor activities.

The sports centre could provide facilities for traditional, minority, and emerging sports.

Plans were also unveiled in May for 500 new homes at St Hilda’s which should be underway by 2026.

Mayor Andy Preston said: “We’re already seeing huge progress over the border – the area is changing for the better in another sign Middlesbrough is a town on the up.

“The innovative Boho 8 office development is finished, Thirteen’s Bohouse flats are almost there and work is starting on Boho X.

“St Hilda’s is changing before our eyes and we’ve got a massive opportunity to cement the area’s future so it becomes a thriving community with an exciting mix of housing, businesses and leisure.

“But there’s lots of work still to do and there’s a big responsibility for us to get this right.

“People have been understandably frustrated by years of dashed hopes at Middlehaven.

“We must do all we can to revitalise the area for the good of everyone in Middlesbrough.

“I believe the right mix of homes, businesses and things to do can see it have an exciting future.”

What will the four zones include?

snow centre

Middlesbrough Council has disposed of land to make way for a new housing development, Image: Google Earth

The plans will focus on four zones – the digital and creative hub, St Hilda’s neighbourhood, education quarter, and Middlehaven docks.

At the digital and creative hub, there would be traditional offices, start-up spaces, small workshops, independent cafes, cultural venues and housing for young professionals.

In St Hilda’s neighbourhood there will be a range of housing options including family homes and apartments.

The Old Town Hall will also be refurbished, the market square will be an event space, there will be local shops in the area too including artisan bakeries or delis as well as a sports studio.

On the southern side of St Hilda’s there will be flexible live/work spaces, workshops, studios and galleries.

The education quarter will house a nursery, secondary school (planned to be open in 2024) and Middlesbrough College, as well as further education, science, health and community facilities.

There will also be sports facilities, green spaces and play areas.

St Hilda's

St Hilda's housing application by Middlesbrough Council

The council are hoping for a quick turnaround with the agreement with BCGEI formalised over the next month and the first business cases expected by Christmas 2021.

The partnership between the council and the BCEGI, which has also worked on Airport City 3 and Middlewood Locks in Manchester, would mean that the company could buy land at market rate.

The council’s executive will be voting on the proposal at its meeting on September 21.

Why did the snow centre project fail?

Mr Preston said that the snow centre proposals ‘didn’t stack up financially’ and was concerned about putting public money into the project.

Middlesbrough Council’s chief executive Tony Parkinson also expressed concern about costs and wanted further clarity about the income of the centre.

However, the director of Subzero, Rachael Howson, said that the plans did stack up and did not understand why the council rowed back on the project.

Subzero has also launched a legal action against Middlesbrough Council over its decision to withdraw support.


Words: Emily Craigie, Local Democracy Reporter

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