Middlesbrough Council is looking to acquire key commercial and retail property as part of a drive to boost the town centre.
Under proposals to be considered by the executive, the acquisitions would help to rebalance the town centre economy, helping to secure its long-term future.
The move will help to address some of the challenges facing Middlesbrough, while also acting as the basis for a bid for £20m from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund (FHSF).
If the FHSF bid is successful, some of the cash would be put towards repurposing the new acquisitions.
The proposals reflect a need to redress the balance between retail and commercial uses, to reduce vacancy rates and introduce more leisure and housing.
Over the longer term a healthier mix will help to attract investment and drive up footfall, revitalising the town and delivering much-needed economic benefits.
Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston said: “This is all about us putting our money where our mouth is, by investing directly in the health and long-term viability of our town centre.
“It’s Middlesbrough’s beating heart, and it has amazing potential – but it also faces huge challenges, and if we’re to overcome those we need to step in to make major changes.
“We need to reverse our over-reliance on retail, and boost the mix of commercial, leisure and residential use to secure a prosperous and sustainable future.
“We can then build on that with a successful bid to the Future High Streets Fund, which is recognition from Government that we need support to meet those challenges.
“We’ve already made a good start, and these proposals – subject to Executive approval – will pave the way for a whole new chapter in Middlesbrough’s history.”
• A report on the acquisition of town centre property will be considered at a meeting of Middlesbrough Council’s executive on Friday, December 20.