Tees Valley Combined Authority | Published on: 22nd November 2023
Hartlepool Development Corporation board is to consider proposals to take control of Middleton Grange Shopping Centre under ambitious regeneration plans.
Hartlepool Development Corporation is in negotiations to buy the long lease for the key asset, which is located at the heart of the Development Corporation zone.
The deal – which requires board approval – would pave the way for the centre to be transformed. Current plans include regenerated public spaces and new frontage while opening it up to a wider range of uses beyond retail.
The transfer will ultimately give the Development Corporation control of the centre, helping to improve the retail landscape of the town centre, and repurpose its heart.
This acquisition is vital to the overall masterplan for Hartlepool – focused on accelerating the town by maximising the potential of its maritime past, manufacturing present and creative future.
This includes attracting 2,000 new, good-quality jobs; building up to 1,300 new homes; restoring, reinvigorating and reshaping a sustainable and vibrant town centre; and to renew the waterfront to create a thriving maritime economy around its historic Marina.
The plan would see Hartlepool Borough Council retain the freehold of the site, with the HDC Board appointing asset and property managers to oversee Middleton Grange on its behalf.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, Chair of the Board, said: “Middleton Grange shopping centre has been at the centre of Hartlepool for decades – but it’s no secret that it needs some TLC.
“This is a great opportunity to reposition the centre and make it a thriving location for the brilliant local businesses already based there, while attracting new stores to the town and helping local people make more use of it.
“We’ve got huge, transformational plans for Hartlepool and Middleton Grange is a big piece of the puzzle. If the takeover is approved, it will pave the way for a joined-up, futureproofed and reinvigorated town centre that people want to spent time in – supporting jobs, boosting the economy and making our region an even better place to live.”
Cllr Mike Young, Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council and a member of the Hartlepool Development Corporation Board said: ‘‘The leasehold purchase of the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre is a key step in the regeneration of Hartlepool. It complements the work that Hartlepool Borough Council is doing in improving other key areas of the town centre including the construction of the new £34.6m Highlight leisure centre, the £16.5m Levelling Up funded Production Village to support the growing creative and screen industries.
“Moreover, it is a key part of the £25m Hartlepool Town Deal strategy delivering projects such as the restoration of the Grade II listed Wesley Chapel and the creation of two new academies in civil engineering and health and social care skills. Middleton Grange Shopping Centre will be another important piece of this overall regeneration plan delivery and I am looking forward to seeing the plans develop in the coming months.’’
The acquisition proposal is due to be discussed at the Hartlepool Development Corporation board meeting on Tuesday, 28 November.
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