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'Time is now' to redevelop land over the border

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A photo of Andy Preston at Boho 8

The opportunity to redevelop the St Hilda's and Middlehaven areas of Middlesbrough is greater than ever before, a new report outlines.

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston and his Executive team will next week be asked to approve outline plans that could see development in four separate zones in the oldest part of town.

An agreement with international property developer BCECI has been proposed which would see the company commit significant funds to the vision.

BCEGI would prepare business cases for each new development and, subject to the agreement of Middlesbrough Council, purchase land at market rate.

The proposed development zone would be split into four priority areas: a digital and creative hub, a new housing neighbourhood surrounding the old town hall, an education quarter around Middlesbrough College and the Middlehaven Docks.

A planning application for 500 homes that would follow the original grid street pattern of St Hilda's has already been submitted.

And a new secondary school is scheduled to open by 2024.

In addition, the new report details how the dock and land immediately surrounding it has the potential to be transformed.

Mayor Preston said: "We're already seeing huge progress over the border - the area is changing for the better in another sign Middlesbrough is a town on the up.

"The innovative Boho 8 office development is finished, Thirteen's Bohouse flats are almost there and work is starting on Boho X.

"St Hilda's is changing before our eyes and we've got a massive opportunity to cement the area's future so it becomes a thriving community with an exciting mix of housing, businesses and leisure.

"But there's lots of work still to do and there's a big responsibility for us to get this right.

"People have been understandably frustrated by years of dashed hopes at Middlehaven.

"We must do all we can to revitalise the area for the good of everyone in Middlesbrough.

"I believe the right mix of homes, businesses and things to do can see it have an exciting future."

In addition to the ‘option agreement' proposed for St Hilda's, a further contract will be put in place for Middlehaven Docks to allow BCEGI to complete feasibility work on the potential for leisure attractions, dockside living, and for the use of the dock itself. This agreement - expected to last around one year - would provide BCEGI with a period of exclusivity within which to complete their work, and present firm proposals to the Council.

At this stage, no further Council investment is required to adopt the proposed approach.

Money from the Council's successful bids to the government's Towns Fund and Future High Streets Fund is already allocated to projects in the area, as well as cash from the national Brownfield Housing Fund.

BCEGI is currently leading on billion pound projects such as Airport City and Middlewood Locks in Manchester, and is the Council's development partner for the Boho X complex.

The Council's Executive will consider a report on the future development of Middlehaven on September 21.