Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston have today (16 May) unveiled a bold new vision for Middlesbrough town centre.
At a major event attended by dozens of key partners and business leaders, they laid out the plans for a Middlesbrough Development Corporation – the third of its kind in the region – which will transform the town, make the streets safer and cleaner and go further, faster, in capitalising on the £106million of investment being made there.
The body would focus on the town centre, Middlehaven and Zetland Historic Quarter and tie them together more closely, including crucial assets such as the Boho zone, Middlesbrough Station, the Northern School of Art, Centre Square, Teesside University and much more. It will come at no extra cost to the taxpayer, or have any impact on council tax rates.
The Middlesbrough Development Corporation follows the success of the area’s first Mayoral Development Corporation, Teesworks in Redcar, which is currently seeing hundreds of millions of pounds of investment in low-carbon and renewable schemes from some of the world’s biggest firms.
Just weeks ago, Mayor Houchen and Hartlepool Borough Council leader Shane Moore announced a second Hartlepool Development Corporation to regenerate the centre of the town to make it a more attractive place to live, visit and do business.
Although different in purpose, when all three are operational they will complement and enhance the impact of each other. For example, good-quality jobs Teesworks is bringing will leading to more spending in local hospitality businesses as the towns become a more attractive destination. This interconnectivity will help supercharge regeneration across the sites.
Middlesbrough Development Corporation will be overseen by a new board, would slash red tape to make investing even easier for businesses and have powers over planning to drive forward projects to reshape Middlesbrough more quickly.
Many national businesses, including insurance company AXA, have already seen the benefits in relocating to a new office in the town. Modernising and developing the centre to help it rival big cities such as Newcastle and Leeds will leverage even more private sector investment, improve it for local people and visitors and keep it thriving.
Mayor Houchen said: “We have funded huge schemes across Middlesbrough to boost transport, education, business investment and infrastructure but, until now, there have never been plans to draw these together to supercharge the town and make it much, much more than the sum of its parts.
“This announcement is about more than just bricks and mortar, though. The Development Corporation will sit at the heart of the town, growing it as a place and transforming the culture to make the streets safer and cleaner. We want to create a town where young people want to live and study and businesses will flock to.
“This will be the third Development Corporation in the region, helping to cut the red tape and bureaucracy surrounding with planning and development processes to help us deliver on the key priorities faster. We’ll be able to halt delays and drive the transformation people want to see much sooner than otherwise.
“We’re doing it with Teesworks over in Redcar and plans are progressing to revamp Hartlepool too. Now it’s Middlesbrough’s time to shine.”
Mayor Preston said: “We’ve made amazing progress in transforming Middlesbrough in the past three years. We’re building the first homes in the town centre for a generation and developing the best leisure venues for miles around. We have thriving companies doing business on the global stage and millions of pounds are being invested in culture to help attract more visitors to town. A Development Corporation will help us win more investment and create jobs of all kinds. Middlesbrough can go head to head with popular cities, the time for talk is over and I’m looking forward to working even closer with Ben to make it happen.”