Boost for regeneration of historic Church Street areaPublished Tuesday, 20th October 2020
The regeneration of one of Hartlepool’s most historic areas has received a huge boost thanks to a £1 million Government grant.
The money from the Towns Fund - part of the Government’s drive to “level up” UK regions economically – is to be spent on The Shades Hotel and a neighbouring property, the former Mama Mias takeaway, in Church Street.
The Shades, a Grade II Listed building on Historic England’s “At Risk” register, was acquired some time ago by the Council to enable refurbishment plans to be developed.
It is acknowledged that its current derelict appearance has a detrimental effect on the surrounding area and undermines investor confidence.
A programme of improvements, including structural works and a new roof, is proposed to prevent any further deterioration in the building’s condition ahead of a full refurbishment to bring it back into commercial use. Plans for the neighbouring empty property include creating flats on the upper floors and a retail unit (excluding hot food takeaway uses) on the ground-floor.
Hartlepool is currently working towards securing up to £25 million from the Towns Fund through the development of a Town Deal, and this “accelerated” funding has been released in the interim - subject to it being spent in the current financial year.
Members of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Finance and Policy Committee agreed that the money should be spent on the two projects as both can be delivered within the Government’s timescale.
Both projects have already been endorsed by the Hartlepool Town Deal Board which comprises representatives of the public, private and community sectors and has been established to provide strategic leadership to the economic regeneration of the town and the development of a Town Deal.
Councillor Shane Moore, Chair of the Finance and Policy Committee, Leader of the Council and a member of the Town Deal Board, said: “We are delighted to receive this “accelerated” grant funding which means the cost of these works does not fall on local people who pay council tax. Hopefully, this is the forerunner of something much bigger.
“The Shades has a very significant place in the town’s history and plans have been developed for a new commercial use with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Enterprise Fund. Unfortunately, the current Covid-19 pandemic has means these plans have had to be paused as the Lottery have temporarily closed their funding programme. In the meantime, the money from the Towns Fund enables us to secure the future of the building and stop any further deterioration.
“Using the funding in this way will also reduce future grant funding requirements, increasing the viability of bringing the building back into a long-term productive use.”
Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, Chair of the Council’s Regeneration Services Committee and also a member of the Town Deal Board, added: “I wholeheartedly support these proposals which will provide a big boost to the regeneration of this historic area and the Council’s wider plans to develop an Innovation and Skills Quarter that will attract new businesses and jobs.”