Stockton Council chief executive Neil Schneider presents 10 exciting projects happening within the borough…
Despite the remaining challenges that local authorities are facing throughout a time of austerity and cuts to funding, we retain a huge sense of ambition for the borough of Stockton-on-Tees and its people.
This has been translated to the practical delivery of some major investments and regeneration projects to ensure Stockton-on-Tees is a great place to live, work and play.
The borough is home to a host of internationally recognised brands and businesses including Quorn Foods, Nifco, Venator, Tata and Fujifilm, and we pride ourselves on being a business-friendly, ‘can do’ council that offers a range of bespoke support.
We continue to invest to support businesses and drive economic growth. We’re always keen that we see reinvestment and jobs retained within the borough and the recent success of Midas to supply and fit cladding for the new hotel is just one example of this.
And we’ve got so many exciting projects on the go on this front.
Here’s your starter for 10, in no particular order:
1. The Globe
This much-loved art-deco venue on Stockton High Street has played host to The Beatles and Shirley Bassey and we’re bringing it back into use as the largest venue of its kind between Leeds and Manchester. Internationally renowned live entertainment operator The Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) will bring big names from today’s music, comedy and variety circuits to position Stockton at the cultural heart of the Tees Valley.
The Globe restoration is supported by a £4.5million National Lottery grant through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Heritage Enterprise scheme. It will bring an estimated £18m into the local economy each year and create up to 250 jobs.
2. Hampton by Hilton Hotel
For some time now, businesses have been telling us there is not enough appropriate hotel provision in the borough. So we’re building one! With the Globe reopening, the growing numbers coming to Durham University’s International Study Centre and strong business growth, we believe there’s a sound business case for this investment.
This 128-bed business-focused hotel will bring in £6.7m per year to the local economy. Midweek occupancy rates at similar hotels across the Tees Valley are at 95 per cent and there’s evidence of growing corporate demand.
3. Ingleby Barwick Leisure Facility
This multi-million pound centre will provide Ingleby Barwick with first class public leisure facilities. It’ll feature swimming pools, a health and fitness suite, gym, community access library and customer service point for the residents of Ingleby Barwick and beyond.
4. Stockton International Riverside Festival
SIRF is our headline annual festival and is back in August 2018, bringing more incredible performances for everyone to enjoy. The launch show, This Is Not For You, is an epic outdoor event that pays a moving tribute to Britain’s wounded war veterans and is performed by a mix of professional artists and local community choirs. Keep up to date at www.sirf.co.uk for full details of the programme, including our huge community carnival.
5. The 54th Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance will welcome performers from a host of nations for a celebration of cultures through music, dance and costumes.
6. The Danger Tree
We’ve pulled off a real coup in bringing this ground-breaking art exhibition to Stockton after being displayed in London, Manchester, Liverpool and Belfast. The Danger Tree – in association with The Royal British Legion, Scarlett Raven and Marc Marot – marks the centenary of the end of World War One and features a series of colourful and tactile oil paintings that each tell the harrowing stories of those who fought and fell during the war. It is coming to Stockton from Thursday 2nd August to Friday 28th September and is set to be an incredibly moving experience.
And there’s more to the painting than meets the eye. Through the digital app Blippar, visitors can use a smartphone or tablet to scan the artwork and bring to life layers of fascinating animation, music and wartime poetry narrated by acclaimed actors including Vicky McLure and Sean Bean.
7. Simplyhealth Great Tees 10K
This brand new event takes place on Saturday 8th September as part of the Great North Run weekend. The Simplyhealth Great Tees 10k will hug the banks of the Tees and take in iconic landmarks such as the Infinity and Newport bridges. We’ve also got the Great North CityGames Elite Mile Race, which is relocating from NewcastleGateshead for the first time, and runs for kids too.
8. Fountain Shopping Mall
We’ve got some big brands in Stockton town centre but we’re also very keen to ‘grow our own’. Through the Fountain Shopping Mall on Stockton High Street, fledgling businesses have the opportunity to test their retail ideas with a support package specifically tailored to nurturing new business.
Since opening in 2011, a good number of start-ups have grown from strength to strength, not least DRAKE – The Bookshop who have gone on to open their own premises in the town’s Silver Street and were recently nominated for the regional shortlist of The British Book Awards’ Independent Bookshop of the Year.
9. Investment in schools
We’re investing £37m in school buildings to support the education of our children and young people over the next two years. There’ll be a series of expansions, improvements and rebuilds with numerous schools, nurseries, children’s centres and the Skills Academy in Billingham all set to benefit.
And there’s been plenty to celebrate in terms of how well our schools are performing. According to Ofsted, the number of pupils attending ‘good’ or better primary and secondary schools has increased to 94 percent.
10. Great quality housing
Whether you’re single or bringing up a family, there are some great places to live in Stockton-on-Tees. And more are on the way. We are currently working on multimillion pound investment schemes at Meadow Rise in Hardwick Green, Norton Park, Parkfield and Mill Lane in Stockton and the town’s Victoria Estate. And the Infinity Riverside development in the shadow of the famous Infinity Bridge continues to prove incredibly popular.