Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston described as “brilliant news” the government’s budget announcement of £22m from the Towns Fund to help “reimagine” the centre of the town.
Mayor Preston says the £21.9m Towns Fund money will be combined with a previous successful application for £14.1m through the government’s Future High Streets Fund as the town prepares a new vision.
This reimagining of central Middlesbrough was the focus of bids to the Towns Fund and Future High Streets Fund.
Middlesbrough Council’s vision of thousands more homes and a revamped leisure offering on the doorstep of a thriving digital sector has been outlined.
It includes regeneration of the area right around the centre of the town including shopping area Captain Cook Square, which was purchased by the council last year along with the iconic House of Fraser building, once home to Binns.
Mayor Preston said: “This is brilliant news – we were expecting it but it’s now formally approved and I’m delighted.
“We’re going to put this Towns Fund money with our Future High Streets funding – £36m in all – and we’re going to transform the town centre.
“We’re going to create jobs and change futures, build homes and offices on brownfield land and create jobs of all kinds for everyone. If you need a job or are leaving school, there’s going to be exciting things happening.”
He continued: “We have plans for empty retail units in and around Captain Cook Square and the heart of the town centre. We are in detailed discussions with a cinema operator, bowling alley operator and are developing a really exciting focused on food and music.
“This is an idea that’s proving a huge success in some of the bigger cities and we’re learning from them with the idea of improving on it to drive hundreds of thousands of people into the centre of Middlesbrough for leisure.”
Put quite simply, he said, Middlesbrough town centre would become a place people want to go to.
“People are going to come to Middlesbrough in years to come and they’re going to say ‘Wow, what a place’.
“Thank you to the government. We want more, we deserve more but this is a great start towards levelling up and creating a brilliant future for our town.”