Local people are today (23 June) being asked to give their views on two major projects that will be key to cutting red tape, attract huge investment into Hartlepool and Middlesbrough town centres and making the streets safer.
A six-week consultation is now underway on the plans to create two Mayoral Development Corporations for Hartlepool and Middlesbrough, presenting bold new visions that will deliver the biggest transformation of the two town centres in decades.
The Hartlepool Development Corporation plans were first unveiled by Tees Mayor Ben Houchen and Hartlepool Borough Council Leader Shane Moore in April. It aims to reshape the town to make it a more attractive place to live and visit, support small businesses and deliver a master plan to maximise future funding.
A month later Mayor Houchen and Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston revealed their proposals to make the streets of Middlesbrough town centre safer and cleaner as part of plans to capitalising on the £106million of investments being made faster. The body would focus on the town centre, Middlehaven and Zetland Quarter and tie them – and major assets – together more closely.
The schemes are the second and third of their kind in the region following the success of Teesworks – which is helping to secure billions of pounds worth of investment, and delivering thousands of good-quality well paid jobs for local people, at the UK’s biggest industrial zone and Freeport.
To be able to set up these transformational projects, Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen needs all 5 local authority leaders to vote in favour of the plans. A meeting to get approval from the 5 leaders will take place in July.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This is a huge chance to revitalise our towns, making them, safe, attractive, vibrant places for local people, businesses and visitors in ways that are more than just bricks and mortar.
“These Development Corporations will help us secure extra powers so we can cut red tape and bureaucracy to deliver the real change that people are crying out for faster than ever. Ultimately, this is all about supercharging our town centres for the good of our communities and so it’s vital that they give their views even at this early stage.
“We’ve seen over at Teesworks how a Development Corporation can breathe new life into 4,500 acres of brownfield land to create the cleaner, safer and healthier sectors and jobs of the future. We now want to take what we have learned through the redevelopment of the former Redcar steelworks and apply it not to another industrial site, but to our communities, creating a region we can be even more proud to call home.
I hope the leaders of our local councils recognise how important these projects are and support my plans. If I’m unable to get the backing of the five leaders then it will be hugely damaging to our area and could slow down the progress we’ve been making over the last few years.”
Mayor of Middlesbrough Andy Preston said: “We’ve made amazing progress in transforming Middlesbrough in the past three years. 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, allowing Middlesbrough can go head-to-head with popular cities. Now it’s time for local people to start to shape our plans with this consultation.”
Hartlepool Borough Council Leader, Cllr Shane Moore, said: “The Hartlepool Mayoral Development Corporation is a once in a generation chance to reshape our town centre for the better and I am determined to make the most of this opportunity.
“We already have amazing plans for the future that will deliver a vibrant, welcoming town that local people will want to visit. These plans will mean we can put rocket boosters under the exciting plans we already have and secure even more investment, so we can deliver the town centre improvements local people way to see faster.
“I would urge everyone in Hartlepool to get behind these proposals, be part of the consultation and help us deliver for our town centre and local people.”
People can give their views on the plans by visiting www.teesvalley-ca.gov.uk/consultations