MIDDLESBROUGH is a “hotbed of creativity” – says the country’s number one arts and culture impresario.

Arts Council Chief Executive Darren Henley visited Middlesbrough to meet Mayor Dave Budd to discuss the town’s ambitious plans for the future and to see for himself mima and the restoration of Middlesbrough Town Hall.

Mr Henley described the “internationally renowned” modern art gallery as “absolutely fantastic” and said he was “really excited” about the Town Hall works.

Earlier this year Arts Council England announced that the Town Hall would receive £1m over four years once the venue reopens next spring.

The money comes from the Arts Council’s National Portfolio funding programme for organisations to deliver arts and cultural activity.

Mr Henley said: “It’s great to be here in Middlesbrough – a hotbed of creativity, some really exciting arts and culture activities happening right across the town.

“We are really excited about the work the Arts Council has done to invest a lot of money into Middlesbrough Town Hall and seeing the building work there and of course mima which is absolutely fantastic, internationally renowned and something that we at Arts Council England are very, very proud to invest money in.”

Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd added: “It was great to welcome Darren to Middlesbrough again and to discuss some of the really positive arts and culture things we have going on.

“We have huge ambitions for Middlesbrough with our investment plans and culture and heritage will play a major role in our future.”