The proposed public realm works in the town’s Historic Quarter Conservation Area would cost in the region of £1.5m, initial analysis suggests, and would improve the environmental and economic prospects of the area.
Middlesbrough Council’s Executive has given the green light to the submission of a Stage 1 application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for Townscape Heritage Funding and also the authority making a contribution of £300,000 for the delivery of the project.
Middlesbrough’s Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Regeneration, Cllr Charlie Rooney, said: “Middlesbrough boasts a particularly proud industrial, arts and architecture heritage. As part of our town centre vision we want to exploit our heritage assets, lifting the eye above street level and proudly boasting our rich heritage.
“The Historic Quarter is the key gateway connecting the town centre to Middlehaven. At the heart of the historic quarter is Middlesbrough Train Station, which sees over two million people flowing through each year.
“To visitors outside of Middlesbrough, the Historic Quarter is often their first point of arrival via rail and plays a huge part in formulating their opinions of the town.
“With recent investment in the Transporter Bridge and the awarding of HLF funding for the restoration of Middlesbrough Town Hall this area will also form a key part of an emerging heritage trail.”
In an initial assessment of the area 15 properties have been identified in the area that are either vacant or under-utilised, while Exchange Square is also highlighted as needing improvement.
If it were to go ahead the scheme would offer the opportunity to transform the space into a vibrant arts quarter, linking to the creative theme already established by the Boho developments and House of Blah Blah.
Additionally it would also allow Middlesbrough residents to learn about the history and significance of the grand Victorian buildings around Exchange Square.
Middlesbrough’s Historic Quarter has the Grade II listed Railway Station at its heart and is bookended by the Cleveland Club and HSBC on Albert Road and was designated as a conservation area in 1989.
Townscape Heritage provides grants for schemes which help communities improve the built historic environment of conservation areas in need of investment.