Agenda item

Town Centre Strategy

The Director of Regeneration will be in attendance to provide the Panel with an update on the Town Centre Strategy and the Future High Streets and Towns Funds


RECOMMENDATION: that the Panel determines whether further information is required



The Director of Regeneration provided an update on the Town Centre Strategy.


Businesses already signed up to units in the Captain Cook Square were progressing their fit outs.  There had been some additional interest from local businesses rather than national companies. 


The Cleveland Centre was performing well financially.   Whilst shopping centres might not be sustainable in the longer term, currently there were no concerns.  Multi brand fashion retailer “Leading Labels” had recently opened a new shop in the Centre.   Currently there were no plans for the public toilets to be re-opened as they had to be staffed at additional cost.  Public toilets were available in the Town Hall via the box office entrance.  The Cleveland Centre car park was managed by the Centre’s operators and permits had been sold off various businesses.  There was no free parking.


Proposals had been submitted for an improved entrance to the Centre from Albert Road.  Whilst the Council would like to see this in place, it would be advised by the managing agent for the Centre and would have to work for people coming into that area.


There had been some interest in the House of Fraser and the Council was working with external providers who had put forward some proposals.


Pre-planning discussions were underway with the owners of The Crown.  A scheme had been drawn up but there was some concern as to whether it was financially viable.


Work was being undertaken with retailers in the town in relation to anti-social behaviour and the Council was looking at how to address the issues to make the centre a safer and more pleasant environment using UK Shared Prosperity Fund money.   


A very successful Teesside Restaurant Week had just taken place from 5 to 10 September 2022.  


A project to redevelop Church House for apartments had been signed off and would be publicised soon.  It was anticipated that development would commence over the next 12 months.


The Council was also focussing on accessibility to the town centre.  Whilst there was a transport plan for the whole town there needed to be changes made to the town centre in terms of how people moved around.  Considerations included bus lanes, bus superstops and on street electric vehicle chargers.


The new cycle lane on Linthorpe Road was camera monitored and it was getting used.  Anecdotally the Council was hearing that no one was using it but this was untrue.  The early signs were that people were using it regularly and new infrastructure could take up to ten years to fulfil its potential usage.

The Council had entered a contract with Sustrans to provide sufficient secure storage facilities in the town centre for bikes. 


Members also discussed the cycle route infrastructure across the town.  It was noted that off road routes were often not well publicised or maintained. It was suggested that some publicity as to the routes available could be generated from the Press Office or through the Love Middlesbrough magazine.


The Scrutiny Panel had previously made a recommendation for the Council to explore building an events arena for Middlesbrough.  There was a site at Middlehaven that would be suitable and the Council had been approached by several interest parties who claimed they could deliver one.  However, in the current climate, building an arena was not financially viable since public funding would be required.  It was acknowledged that an events arena would have a transformative effect with spin offs such as hotels, restaurants and shops.  However there was currently nothing on the table that was realistically affordable.  Whilst the operating cost of an arena might balance out, it would never make enough profit to repay the building costs.  


AGREED as follows that the:

1.  the information provided was received and noted.

2.  existing cycle routes in Middlesbrough should be publicised more widely.