Town set for £2m re­vamp

Middlesbrough Herald & Post - - HERALD & POST -

A CASH in­jec­tion of £2m is set to re­vi­talise and re­gen­er­ate fa­cil­i­ties in a Teesside town.

Stock­ton has been picked as one of 10 ‘run­down’ UK con­ser­va­tion ar­eas to re­ceive the fund­ing boost.

It is hoped the sum will breathe new life into the town’s econ­omy by restor­ing his­toric build­ings and bring­ing them back into use by the com­mu­nity, busi­nesses and vis­i­tors.

The money is part of a £17m in­vest­ment pack­age, spear­headed by The Heritage Lot­tery Fund (HLF), to mark 50 years since the pro­tec­tion for his­toric towns was in­tro­duced.

Ros Ker­slake, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Heritage Lot­tery Fund, said: “We’ve been in­vest­ing money raised through the Na­tional Lot­tery in the UK’s con­ser­va­tion ar­eas for more than 20 years and we’ve seen first-hand the in­cred­i­ble dif­fer­ence it has made to lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.”

She said that where lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties build plans around heritage, “it can have a pow­er­ful ef­fect not only on lo­cal pride but also on lo­cal eco­nomic pros­per­ity”.

Stock­ton High Street was re­cently named one of the best in the coun­try af­ter scoop­ing the “Ris­ing Star” ti­tle of the Great Bri­tish High Street of the Year Awards.

Work on bring­ing to­gether arts, en­ter­tain­ment and sport into the town cen­tre along­side the multi-mil­lion-pound re­gen­er­a­tion project has won praise for the town.

The bid’s theme, “All the world’s a stage”, recog­nised the re­gen­er­ated High Street’s abil­ity to host events like cycling cham­pi­onships, street the­atre and spe­cial­ist mar­kets.

The competition saw a record 900 en­tries across all 14 cat­e­gories, with win­ners be­ing de­cided by a com­bi­na­tion of scores from a judg­ing visit and a pub­lic vote.

And af­ter reach­ing a short­list of three, Stock­ton High Street beat off the competition to scoop the ac­co­lade at a cer­e­mony in Lon­don in De­cem­ber last year.

Last year saw a start to the hugely an­tic­i­pated restora­tion of the town’s Globe the­atre. The work came af­ter Stock­ton Coun­cil an­nounced it would in­ject £2m of tax­payer funds into the stalled re­fur­bish­ment, which ini­tially be­gan in 2011.

HLF had ear­marked nearly £4m to­wards the project’s costs - but a bid for the re­main­ing money was not sub­mit­ted due to dis­cus­sions be­tween the coun­cil and Jo­mast, the prop­erty’s owner.

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