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SUB ZERO: Ideas for the Middlehaven Docks venue

SUB ZERO: Ideas for the Middlehaven Docks venue

CGI image of how the snow centre could look, Image: Cool Runnings NE

The council approved plans to transform the doomed snow centre site with a new attraction, earlier this week.

However, it has not been decided what this will be and the report suggested that it could be a new venue for concerts or exhibitions or a huge sports venue with indoor and outdoor facilities.

Since it hasn’t been decided yet, we thought we’d ask people in the area what they would like to see at the Middlehaven Docks.

Jess Bakewell, 16, and Brooklyn Dixon, 16, who both study childcare at Middlesbrough College are keen to see a concert venue that could host major acts.

Jess added: “I would like it to be a huge concert venue because you have got to go to Newcastle or Leeds or Manchester, and you have to travel ages for any good ones.

“I am going to see JLS in Leeds at the end of October so it would have been good if they could have come closer so I don’t have to go there and back.”

Brooklyn also wanted to see a music venue, but especially one that was closer so she didn’t have to travel for gigs.

She added: “All the concerts that I have been to are in Manchester and you just feel tired when you get there.”

Jess agreed that a nearby venue was needed, she said: “By the time you get there you just wanna come back home again. And you get home late too, you don’t get home until like 11 or 12 o’clock and you want to go straight to bed.”

Fellow students at the college, Jade Horsman, 16, and Mia Irvine, 16, who are studying Health and Social Care, were also keen for there to be a music venue.

They hoped that it would host their favourite stars including popular Manchester rapper Aitch, Bradford-based rap group Bad Boy Chiller Crew, grime star Stormzy, and London rapper Dave.

Daniel Stanwick, 33, owner of Hit the Bar in Middlehaven is also hoping that it becomes a cultural venue for music and exhibitions.

He added: “I don’t think we need to be pushing down the sports route, with how many gyms are in Teesside and the Sports Village on Marton Road.

“The events, exhibition, live music space could definitely work because the sort of venue that I have got is classed as a destination venue.


Hit The Bar in Middlehaven, Image: Hit The Bar

“There are no walk-bys really it’s all event-driven, people aren’t going to walk around Middlesbrough College and the Transporter without something there for them.

“It’s beneficial for me as a business and I always say that anything is better than nothing when it comes to derelict land and rundown buildings.”

However, he did say that there would be pros and cons of the venue as it could impact performances at the Riverside but thought that a permanent music venue would be better.

One group definitely used their imagination about what they would like to see on the site as Loella Atkinson, 16, hoped for a beach area to take over the land next to the river.

While, Luanna Shearey, 16, said: “A wet ‘n’ wild, somewhere with slides and a wave machine.”

And their friend Naomi, 18, added:  “A Center Parcs in Middlesbrough!”

Middlesbrough College principal and chief executive Zoe Lewis is also pleased about a potential venue and said that her students could ensure a highly skilled workforce.

She added: “Both staff and governors at Middlesbrough College are excited to see more and more neighbours arriving at Middlehaven and calling it their home.

“The plot adjacent to the College, which was originally earmarked for the snow centre development, remains perfectly placed to become the future home of a major sporting or leisure attraction that will draw visitors from far afield.

“The area around the dock is simply magical when it is alive with students and football supporters, so to have another big attraction here makes perfect sense to us.”

However, some see this as an opportunity to reduce crime and keep teenagers entertained.

water park

Wet 'n' Wild water park in North Shields that has now closed, Image: Google Maps

Mark Johnson, 32, who is completing a forklift truck course,  said: “The area definitely needs more places for people to go.

“All the kids are running about these days, they’ve got nothing to do. It would be good for them to have somewhere to go to reduce crime.”

The council is working with Chinese state-owned property developer BCEGI, which will be coming up with proposals for the site.

It’s unclear when this will be, however, the company only has an exclusivity agreement in place, to stop other people from being able to bid, for up to a year.

Once the plans are approved by the council, the developer will then be able to buy the land at the market rate.

Middlehaven Docks was meant to house the failed £40m snow centre, but that fell through after council concerns over the finances.

This is part of a wider development of the area, which includes 500 homes at St Hilda’s and regeneration of the Old Town Hall.


Words: Emily Craigie, Local Democracy Reporter

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