The bid to secure two Mayoral Development Corporations in the region has taken another step closer, as events were held to tell local business bosses about all the benefits these could bring.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has now written to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Simon Clarke MP, to formally designate the Hartlepool and Middlesbrough Development Corporations.
The opportunities that could spring from the town centres being given such a status, and the wider plans for the towns, were outlined by the Mayor when he met the bosses of small businesses based in Hartlepool and Middlesbrough.
Hartlepool’s Mayoral Development would cover Oakesway Business Park, retail and leisure land – including Mill House Leisure Centre and Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, along with public realm and civic buildings.
Meanwhile, plans for Middlesbrough would take the town centre, Middlehaven and Zetland Historic Quarter. It will tie them together more closely – and link in with crucial assets such as the Boho Zone, Middlesbrough Station, the Northern School of Art, Centre Square and Teesside University.
A total of £20million in funding has been committed by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority to drive the projects forward, with the Development Corporations expected to be up and running by the end of the year. The make-up of the Boards to oversee these schemes is also expected to be announced next week.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “I have now officially put the plans for two Mayoral Development Corporations to the Levelling Up Secretary, which will create safer, cleaner and more connected town centres and have a wider knock-on effect in making our region an even better place to live, visit and invest.
“It was a pleasure to be able to outline our schemes to the local business community, highlight their opportunities and explain how this will work for them as we go further, faster in our ambitions to deliver new investment and jobs for local people.”
Cllr Shane Moore, leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “It’s great news that things are really getting moving for these once-in-a-generation opportunities to reshape our town, which will have a real knock-on effect right across the borough.
“With these engagement events, our business bosses now have a better and more practical understanding of the benefits that they – and others – will see, all helping to spread the message that there has never been a better time to live, work and invest in Hartlepool.”
Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: “We’ve made truly amazing progress in transforming Middlesbrough in the past three years. We’re building homes, creating exciting new leisure venues, and attracting thriving global companies.
“These developments in the heart of Middlesbrough will help us win more investment, create jobs of all kinds, and bolster our efforts to ensure we go toe-to-toe with the big cities of the North.”