Redcar and Hartlepool have both been awarded £25m each in government funding to regenerate their town centres.
Hartlepool and Redcar have both successfully bid for millions in regeneration funding, under the Government’s Towns Fund scheme.
The Towns Fund is a £3.6bn pot of money designed to “level up” regions nationwide, with 100 boards at a local level invited to draw up investment plans for up to £25m from the fund.
Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen said: “I’m delighted that Redcar and Hartlepool have secured £25m each from the government to support their ambitious plans to boost, redevelop and reinvigorate their town centres and support local jobs.
“With funding announced over last few months, today’s news takes the total cash secured from the governments Towns Fund for Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool to £118m.
“This cash will allow Redcar and Hartlepool to kickstart their plans to transform their town centres so that they are even better place to live and do business.
“This cash will allow Redcar to boost its visitor economy, while Hartlepool will be able to improve Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, boost skills by expanding the Civil Engineering Academy and better connection the town centre with Church Street and the Marina.
“As we lift lockdown restrictions and recover from the pandemic, it is more important than ever that we back our high streets and town centres and the independent businesses that make them such unique and vibrant places.”
The Redcar town board was established to come up with sustainable plans and representatives from across the community including businesses and the private sector got involved.
A CGI (above) shows how the new high streety might look after the developments.
There will now be discussions on how to proceed with developed proposals which have included:
• A new centre for adventure activities at Coatham to help attract more visitors to the town;
• Family Activity Centre on the seafront with sea views;
• A scheme to linking the seafront to the High Street with a new outdoor space where existing and pop-up businesses could trade outside;
• An improved library and community support hub with meeting rooms.
Local businesses will be key to Redcar’s success and have been heavily involved in developing the plan.
A Town Centre Management function is expected to be established which will provide a dedicated resource to liaise with investors and administer business support, such as digital training to take advantage of the e-commerce boom.
It would also help to coordinate events and drive further improvements to the visitor experience, ensuring that the town remains vibrant all year round.
A new Clean Energy Education Hub at Redcar & Cleveland College is another key plan will provide a training and skills facility tailored to the local economy’s needs.
Working with local investors and employers, the Centre would mean the borough’s residents could benefit from new jobs in the fast-growing energy sector.
The board also aims to improve transport connections to Teesworks, which is set to become the UK’s biggest industrial zone, to ensure residents can access job opportunities.
These plans would build on the major new leisure project in the Coatham area which was announced last year. The Government had previously agreed to grant Redcar £750,000 for the project which includes a new hotel, adventure golf site and play area.
Planned investment at Redcar Central Station and a new Regent Cinema will be boosted by proposed improvements to Station Road and the Northern Quarter. The proposals include upgrading the street scene to give the best first impression of Redcar, as well as supporting aspirational new housing and business units.
Town board chair Darren Winter said: “I would like to thank the people and businesses of Redcar and our strategic partners and everyone involved. We now have to prioritise the projects to align with the funding before delivering these exciting projects for the people and businesses of Redcar.”
Cllr Mary Lanigan, Leader of the Council, said: “This has the potential to be truly transformational.
“We may not have received all we asked for but this remains a huge opportunity we must grasp with both hands.
“It is inspiring to see so many people from right across the community coming together for this project which will not only benefit Redcar but the entire region and I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work so far.”
Redcar and Cleveland College principal Jason Faulkner said: “At Redcar and Cleveland College we are thrilled to benefit from the Town Deal.
“The college will be working with partners and employers to ensure we can meet the need of the future economy. Working within the remit of the Town Deal we will ensure the people of Redcar and Cleveland and the wider Tees Valley have the skills to support future investors and our ambition to create a net zero economy.”
In Hartlepool, the development proposals include:
• Re-imagining the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre;
• Improving links between the marina, town centre and railway station;
• Health and civil engineering training institutes that will enable local people to develop new skills.
Hartlepool Council leader Shane Moore said: “To get the full amount that we bid for is tremendous news, and means that we are now able to press ahead with our ambitious plans.
“The Town Deal is a real game changer in terms of shaping the town’s future, and its importance cannot be overstated.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has played a part in securing this money, their hard work and commitment to the town is much appreciated.”