Middlesbrough Council TOWN CENTRE...

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  • Middlesbrough Council TOWN CENTRE STRATEGY


  • This document is formatted for double-sided printing.

    ROGER TYM & PARTNERS 19 Woodside Crescent Glasgow G3 7UL t 0141 332 6464 f 0141 332 3304 e [email protected] w www.tymconsult.com



    1  INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................... 1 

    2  OPPORTUNITIES AND THE CASE FOR CHANGE ..................................................... 3 The Case for Change - Progress .................................................................................... 3 The Case for Change - Economic ................................................................................... 7 Implementation of Key Strategic Projects ..................................................................... 11 The Case for Change - Physical ................................................................................... 13 Areas of Opportunity ..................................................................................................... 15 Key Development Opportunities ................................................................................... 21 Movement and Transportation ...................................................................................... 22 

    3  OPTIMISING OPPORTUNITY .................................................................................... 27 Strengths ...................................................................................................................... 27 Weaknesses ................................................................................................................. 28 Opportunities ................................................................................................................ 29 Threats ......................................................................................................................... 29 Conclusions .................................................................................................................. 29 Recommendations – the “Tool Kit” for a Vibrant City Centre ......................................... 31 

    4  PHYSICAL INTERVENTIONS .................................................................................... 47 Key Issues Summary .................................................................................................... 47 Town Centre Core ........................................................................................................ 49 

    5  PRIORITISED ACTION PLAN .................................................................................... 61 

    Appendix A – Supporting Information: Middlesbrough’s challenges

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    1 INTRODUCTION Town Centre Strategy

    1.1 Middlesbrough needs a coordinated strategy for the Town Centre which provides the rationale for further economic and physical change and reflects key policy and strategies, including the Local Development Framework (LDF), Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS), Regional Economic Strategy (RES) and the Tees Valley City Region.

    1.2 Middlesbrough Town Centre is important as a key economic driver for the City Region and has a significant influence on perception of the wider area. The social, economic and physical performance of the Centre provides an indication of the economic health of the area.

    1.3 Middlesbrough is the main service centre in the Tees Valley. It therefore has a vital role at the head of the sub-regional hierarchy for commerce, employment, retail, education, culture and social activities. The town centre is the focus of most of this activity and its ongoing regeneration can be used as a platform to build a critical mass of economic activity.

    1.4 The Town Centre Strategy covers an extended area (representing the boundary shown within the Regeneration Development Plan document (RDPD) and on the diagram below) from Cannon Park in the west to Middlesbrough Leisure Park in the east, and from the southern end of Linthorpe Road and the University to Middlehaven in the north.

    Figure 1-1 Strategy boundary

    1.5 The Town Centre Strategy is an umbrella under which a range of Policies and Physical Interventions are coordinated to bring maximum benefit to residents and all Town Centre users. The Town Centre’s strategic role at the heart of the Tees Valley City Region brings with it the aspiration to function and perform as a city. To achieve the critical mass this implies, the Town needs to identify, assess and address the key issues currently influencing the dynamic of its centre.

    1.6 Middlesbrough has seen significant improvement in recent years. Key investment in the retail core, in education (University of Teesside, Middlesbrough College), creating a centre of excellence in Digital Media (Boho), Arts and Culture (mima) and proposals for ambitious strategic planning (Middlehaven, Cannon Park, Linthorpe Central) have

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    started to establish the future direction of the Town. Over the next twenty years, the challenge is to build upon recent successes and current strengths and further develop economic, social and cultural activity that delivers the look and feel of a city.

    1.7 The policies and interventions within the Strategy aim to build and diversify the range of economic activities and promote a physical infrastructure that joins the extended centre together in a manner which encourages cohesion, ease of movement and activity.

    1.8 A place-making function is at the heart of any Town Centre Strategy. Middlesbrough has already initiated a series of interventions that already give a strong indication of its ambition. A sense of “place” – distinctiveness, attractiveness, quality of life for residents and quality of offer for visitors is critical to establishing identity and shaping perceptions.

    1.9 The Strategy outlines a range of policies and interventions to facilitate the step-change from active Town Centre to achieving the critical mass of economic, social, educational and cultural activity synonymous with the functions of a successful city in the 21st Century.

    1.10 The Town Centre Strategy:

    Outlines the overall Case for Change, considering the key areas of opportunity;

    Provides a SWOT analysis for the Town Centre;

    Outlines the Key Objectives for the Town Centre Strategy;

    Outlines the Core Policies by which the Objectives are to be achieved: the “Tool Kit for a vibrant centre”;

    Displays graphic representation and description of the proposed Physical Interventions; and

    Presents the Key Policies and related Actions within a prioritised Action Plan.

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    2.1 The case for change in Middlesbrough Town Centre is examined, considering;

    Progress – recognising the strategy development and investment of the Council and its partners to date;

    The Economic case – examining the economic performance across key sectors for its future development; and

    The Physical case – assessing how the centre’s physical structure constrains performance.

    The Case for Change - Progress 2.2 Recent interventions by the public sector in Middlesbrough have created an

    environment of change and have begun to alter external perceptions. Some of these interventions have been brave in their nature – Middlesbrough carries an industrial legacy, but there have been bold moves to establish the town as a hub for cultural activity, education and digital media.

    2.3 Recent investment in the delivery of key infrastructure and targeted development which has already been successful in attracting investment has begun to alter perceptions of Middlesbrough. Such activity has indicated the Public Sector’s intent and has already established some of the key economic development policies and sectors that Middlesbrough will continue to target.

    2.4 Middlesbrough’s commitment to evolving the Town Centre as a hub for education, culture and the arts changes perceptions of the place and its administration. These policies signal a move towards distinctiveness, but they must continue to be built upon.

    2.5 Key successes include:

    mima – the delivery of mima marks the culmination of ambitious plans to provide Middlesbrough with a landmark art gallery in a key central location. mima provides a broad catchment of visitors and increases the ability to attract category A and B visitors from greater distances.

    Centre Square – delivered in tandem with mima, the high quality public realm in Centre Square also indicates ambition. It provides a central space of social and cultural significance and adds profile to the Civic Quarter. Although the Square would undoubtedly benefit from increased animation, particularly out-with office hours, this will be encouraged by the development of Centre Square East and the former police station site at Dunning Street. As a space, the Square already benefits from the presence of the Victorian Town Hall and Carnegie Library. Proposals released for Centre Square East include modern office facilities, car parking and a hotel, thus creating jobs and activity in Centre Square.

    Public Realm – the Town Centre Company drove the delivery of high quality public realm treatment along Corporation Road and around the Retail Core of Linthorpe Road. The public space and art at Centre Square is also of the highest quality. It is important for cohesion and image that Middlesbrough seek to replicate this quality of Public Realm across the Centre.

    University of Teesside Expansion – the rapid expansion of the University has surpassed expectations. The Estates Strategy reflects this and the University’s commitment to growth. The University is now an important economic driver for Middlesbrough.

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    Boho – the current delivery of Boho is indicative of ambitious joined-up working between educational and public sectors, including Middlesbrough Council, ONE NorthEast and Tees Valley Regeneration. Boho is an economic development project of benefit to the entire North East, but brings distinctiveness to the Town Centre. The project has been successful in securing investment from a range of public bodies. Digital media is a modern and global industry. A hub of activity in this sector broadens Middlesbrough’s wider appeal and encourages both the attraction and retention of skilled people. The location of Boho, adjacent to Greater Middlehaven, Exchange Square and the Station is of enormous significance to the Town Centre.

    Middlesbrough College – the new and consolidated Middlesbrough College site opened in September 2008 and represents the first stage of delivery on Middlehaven. It has been reported that the facility (with capacity for 14,000 students) has impacted instantly on the dynamic of the Town Centre, massively increasing flows from the Retail Core (particularly from the bus station) to Middlehaven. The physical and pedestrian connection between these locations therefore offers potential and must be subject to improvement.

    Linthorpe Central – this area has started to develop high quality fashion space and supporting independent retail and leisure outlets. Further development of the independent retail and café culture quarter around Linthorpe Road South is anticipated.

    2.6 Supported by core funding from ONE NorthEast, Middlesbrough Town Centre Company had responsibility for town centre management and regeneration until 2006. The Company – the Board of which was made up of key stakeholders – delivered significant achievements. It was responsible for the Middlesbrough Town Centre Strategic Options Study in 1998 and subsequent delivery of the high quality public realm along Corporation Road and development of the Town Centre Quarters.

    2.7 Middlesbrough Town Centre has the benefit of being guided by a positive planning framework. Each of the following key policies support growth in Middlesbrough and the Town Centre:

    Regional Spatial Strategy;

    Regional Economic Strategy;

    Tees Valley Economic Strategy;

    Local Development Framework; and

    City Region Strategy.

    2.8 As it increasingly attracts city level functions, the development of the centre of Middlesbrough is also consistent with the objectives of the Stockton-Middlesbrough Initiative (SMI). The emergence of the SMI has the potential to transform the urban core of the Tees Valley. SMI is based on three clear themes which reflect the short, medium and long term interventions which will be required to deliver the SMI vision. These are:

    The two town centres, Middlesbrough and Stockton, and the need for each centre to maximise its contribution to the SMI vision in ways which are collaborative and respect the distinctive role each centre has to play;

    The two key regeneration projects, North Shore in Stockton and Middlehaven in Middlesbrough, and the enormous impact the two sites will have on the urban core area; and

    The delivery of the Green-Blue Heart along the river corridor between the two towns, and its long term potential as the longest underdeveloped urban river corridor in the country for future housing and leisure development.

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    Proposed Development

    2.9 A number of significant development proposals are planned in the Town Centre, demonstrating intent and a level of activity that is critical to altering perceptions and attracting investment. It is acknowledged that the current recession will slow delivery timescales for much of the regeneration activity which has been planned to date. Nonetheless, it is vital that momentum behind the ongoing development of the town centre is maintained.

    2.10 A schedule of current and proposed development in the Town Centre is shown below.

    Table 2-1 Middlesbrough Town Centre: Proposed & Ongoing Development

    Proposal Parties Status/ completion

    1 Middlehaven (Phase 1)

    HCA (formerly English Partnerships), Tees Valley Regeneration, ONE NorthEast, Middlesbrough Council via Bio Regional Quintain and Terrace Hill

    Ongoing. Bio Regional Quintain’s residential and hotel development appears to have been put on hold. Discussions ongoing with Terrace Hill re next phase of offices.

    2 Greater Middlehaven (Phase 2)

    Middlesbrough Council, Tees Valley Regeneration, ONE NorthEast, HCA

    Still acquiring property interests via CPO. Expected to be started when Middlehaven completed.

    3 Greater Middlehaven (Phase 3)

    Middlesbrough Council, Tees Valley Regeneration, ONE NorthEast, HCA

    Former St Hilda’s residential area north of Queens Square now largely cleared and awaiting development. Adjoins new Police Station, Boho Zone and Digital Media Business Centre.

    4 Centre Square East

    Terrace Hill and Middlesbrough Council

    Dependent upon property market although hotel may proceed.

    5 Cannon Park St James Securities, Barker & Stonehouse, Tesco and Middlesbrough Council.

    Preparation of detailed Masterplan under discussion. Completion anticipated by 2013.

    6 University of Teesside

    University of Teesside. The Estates Strategy (2006-16) anticipates £30 million investment in major projects, subject to funding availability. Projects in hand include construction of IDI and CCT Buildings (£20m) and refurbishment of Middlesbrough Tower (£3m)

    7 Dunning Street Recently changed hands from local developer.

    Hotel, offices and multi-storey car park. Dependent upon availability of finance.

    8 Corporation Road

    Mandale Property Company Two sites (ex Odeon and Cleveland Scientific) with consent but not started and available for sale.

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    Proposal Parties Status/ completion

    9 Crown House, corner of Marsh Road and Linthorpe Road

    Acquired from Crown Prosecution Service who moved to Hudson Quay.

    Dependent upon planning consent for mixed use, market conditions and finance.

    10 Upper Floors, The Mall

    Mall Corporation Proposals incl 1st floor food court and leisure use on upper floors. Upper floor leisure use to take account of proposed casino (depending on location). .

    11 Middlesbrough Town Hall Entertainment and Offices

    Middlesbrough Council. Dependent upon market and funding.

    12 Hillstreet/ Newport Rd Entrance

    Resolution Asset Management.

    Dependent upon property market.

    13 Middlesbrough Leisure Park Extension

    Middlesbrough Council & Highpoint Estates.

    Dependent upon market and casino.

    14 Kitchen Store, Cargo Fleet Road

    Trinity Chambers, Newcastle

    Proposed 30,000 sq ft offices dependent upon market conditions.

    15 Gurney House/Church House/ Albert Road/Queens Square/ Exchange Square

    Jomast Property Company Unknown. Significant amount of potential and unoccupied space and will have impact on viability of other schemes.

    16 Linthorpe Road Campus Lifestyle Student accommodation to be completed 2009.

    2.11 Key successes in tackling social challenges in Middlesbrough Town Centre include:

    St Hilda’s and Cleveland Police Headquarters

    2.12 St Hilda’s housing estate was synonymous with many of the social problems experienced in Middlesbrough and crime in the Town Centre. Middlesbrough has signalled its intent with the ongoing demolition of St. Hilda’s.

    2.13 The Regeneration Development Plan Document 2highlights the need for feasibility study and masterplanning work. The site is also identified as Open Space within the Greater Middlehaven Masterplan, but this merits reconsideration; the area to the north of Boho provides significant opportunity for commercially-led development with good access to the Centre and railway station.

    2.14 In addition, the new Cleveland Police Headquarters opened adjacent to the former St Hilda’s housing site in 2007. The strategic location of the Headquarters also signals intent in terms of Middlesbrough’s approach to tackling social issues, particularly crime.

    2 Middlesbrough Council, January 2008

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    Middlesbrough Housing Market Renewal

    2.15 Redevelopment and refurbishment is proposed for the Gresham area as the council seeks to provide a greater choice of housing type. Clearance of up to 1,500 dwellings is scheduled during the period 2006-2016. The plan to replace these dwellings includes 134 new dwellings in St Paul’s/Newport during 2004-2011 and 750 dwellings in Gresham / Jewel Street area between 2011 and 2021. Retained housing will be enhanced by external facelifts. The plans should incorporate a minimum of 15% affordable housing, high quality public realm, the creation of safe communities and new employment opportunities.

    The Case for Change - Economic Introduction

    2.16 Middlesbrough faces a range of economic and social challenges. While various interventions are targeting these, it is important that the Town Centre Strategy acknowledge those aspects of Middlesbrough’s performance that must be addressed from 2009 onwards.

    2.17 The economic downturn provides a backdrop to the Case for Change; it cannot be ignored and will have a short to medium term impact, particularly upon the delivery of development. The Town Centre Strategy will ensure that Middlesbrough is best placed to capitalise once market conditions improve.

    2.18 The economic case for change is based on the expectation of improved economic performance in both the Middlesbrough economy and the wider North East over the long-term. It relates closely to the step change strategy proposed in the Northern Way and RES.

    2.19 Further supporting information and analysis relevant to the Town Centre’s socio-economic challenges is shown at Appendix A.

    Strategic and Policy Drivers of Growth

    2.20 It is important to note that the assumptions informing strategic policy were developed before the onset of the present economic recession. As a result, in the short term at least, policy aspirations for growth of the scale envisaged are unlikely to be achieved. However, the medium and long term objectives remain valid. Milestones and implementation timeframes are likely to be extended.

    2.21 The North East is planning for significant future growth in its economy. “Sustainable Communities in the North East” (ODPM 2004) highlighted the region’s low skill / low demand economy. However, employment forecasts anticipate significant growth in demand for a more highly skilled and qualified workforce over the next eight years. Jobs requiring no qualifications are predicted to fall by 34% in the region (27% in the UK) and those requiring high level skills to grow by 44% (64% in UK).

    2.22 In preparing the Regional Economic Strategy (RES), research undertaken on behalf of ONE NorthEast considered the effects of a range of economic growth scenarios. The research indicated that the region could reverse historic trends of low economic growth (assessed in increased GVA per annum). Average per capita GVA3 in the North East stands at 80% of UK levels. The RES aims to increase this to 90% by 2016. This requires an annual growth in regional GVA of 3.4%, compared with best estimates of growth of up to 2% per annum. Based on past trends and the economic climate prevailing at the time, it was concluded that the North East could achieve economic growth rates of 2.8%.

    3 GVA is a measure of GDP at basic prices which excludes taxes less subsidies on products such as VAT and tax from excise duties

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    2.23 It is anticipated that Middlesbrough, along with other urban areas in the region, will benefit from this regional economic renaissance as set out in the Regional Economic Strategy and ODPM’s Sustainable Communities Plan (2004). A key component of the RES strategy is “Strong Urban Cores at the Heart of North East’s City Regions” setting a strong context for the ongoing regeneration of Middlesbrough Town Centre.

    2.24 In Chapter 5, the Town Centre Strategy considers criteria for intervention and economic growth . However, one particular aspect of this is Placemaking – in Middlesbrough’s case, the aspiration towards becoming the Place befitting the economic heart of the City Region. This can be achieved by encouraging an environment that will stimulate growth in business, leisure, retail, culture and education – an overall package that is attractive to investors, residents and visitors alike.

    Supply and Demand for Housing

    2.25 The RSS growth targets for the North East and Tees Valley establish Middlesbrough’s future housing supply over the next 17 years. Demand is anticipated to grow due to economic growth and increasing demand in Middlesbrough.

    The modified RSS identifies:

    • An average of 440 units net per annum 2004 –11;

    • An average of 410 units net per annum 2001 – 2021; and

    • A total of 7,005 units to be delivered 2004 – 21.

    2.26 Middlesbrough has the highest proportion of empty homes in the Tees Valley, with many dwellings being vacant long term. As people have moved away from the Town Centre, areas have become less diverse, leaving an over-representation of lower-income groups. The Middlesbrough Housing Strategy highlights the need to provide a better choice and quality of housing to encourage the attraction of upper and middle-income families and reverse current out-migration. Encouraging the development of house types appropriate to these markets should be an important outcome of the Town Centre Strategy.

    2.27 There will therefore be significant potential to bring forward a substantial level of new build housing in the Town Centre over the period of the Strategy.

    Retail Demand

    2.28 In the medium to long term, Middlesbrough Town Centre has the capacity to increase the level of existing retail floorspace and enhance its role as the primary retail centre in the Tees Valley. Retail Capacity Studies and the LDF Core Strategy identified:

    • A requirement to grow Middlesbrough Town Centre’s market share of convenience goods expenditure in its catchment from its existing level of 42% to 50%;

    • Capacity for an additional 2,800 sq.m convenience retail floorspace, allowing provision of one large convenience store by 2016; this would produce 140 gross jobs;

    • Capacity for an additional 26,000 sq.m net comparison retail floorspace to 2016 (to be accommodated mainly in the Town Centre);

    • A 40% increase in bulky goods floorspace in the central area to 42,000 sq.m, based on increased retention of catchment expenditure on bulky goods;

    • Growth in comparison retail floorspace could produce an additional 2,095 gross jobs; and

    • The potential to further develop the emerging independent retail sector as demonstrated by the success of operators in Linthorpe Central.

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    Recent Retail Floorspace Demand

    2.29 MIddlesbrough Council’s 2007 assessment of the potential for town centre expansion includes an assessment of demand4 for retail floorspace which showed continued interest in retailer representation in the Town Centre:

    • A total of 53 convenience, comparison, service and other retailers expressed interest in locating in Middlesbrough, according to the Focus Database;

    • There is potential combined demand from operators for between 38,222 sq.m – 57,096 sq.m of retail floorspace; and

    • Retailers expressing interest in locating in Middlesbrough include: Comet (1,394 sq.m), Homebase (3,252 sq.m) and Zara (1,500 sq.m). It is worth noting that these are all requirements for representation in out-of-town locations rather than the town centre.

    Leisure and Culture Sector

    2.30 The cultural and leisure economy works at a number of levels in successful town and city centres. These include:

    Pub, pub food, club and music venue “dwell and move”;

    Destination leisure areas;

    Cultural and event facilities; and

    Fine dining and restaurants.

    2.31 The Middlesbrough evening economy lacks the full diversity characteristic of successful Centres. The evening economy is overly focused on the pub and club culture. Although this fulfils an important function, cities will develop a diverse mix of pub, restaurant and fine dining, culture and leisure activities.

    2.32 The pub, pub food, club and music venue “dwell and move economy” is based around the spine of Albert Road and Linthorpe Central near to the University. This caters for the budget, student and local night–club market – reflected in the type of bar and club venues (chain pubs, e.g. Walkabout and drink offer venues) and the food offer based on budget and mid-quality bar food and take –away food.

    2.33 The primary destination leisure facilities are centered on Middlesbrough Leisure Park to the eastern end of the centre. This includes a multiplex cinema, gym and food outlets including McDonalds and Nandos alongside extensive car parking. The nature of visit tends to be single stop (often driving) without moving to other locations – the venue is based on achieving long dwell times in a single location

    2.34 The presence of Middlesbrough FC offers a broad catchment and the potential to attract other family members into Middlesbrough. The centre must offer the quality of retail, leisure and cultural facility required to attract link trips and increased dwell times.

    2.35 Cultural and event facilities are clustered around Centre Square / Corporation Road centred on mima (with its café), and the Town Hall aligned to proposals for a four star hotel and office developments at Centre Square East. The cultural quarter is emerging, but currently lacks a critical mass of activity.

    2.36 There is a strong commitment to cultural development set out in the town’s Cultural Strategy. This includes the development of cultural facilities and activities, many of which are town centre based, and critical to the centre developing this more diverse offer.

    2.37 The fine dining / food and drink / restaurant sector is one in which Middlesbrough fails as a diverse night –time economy. There is the opportunity to link the growth and

    4 Middlesbrough BC Report : Potential Expansion of Middlesbrough Town Centre (June 2007)

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    enhancement of cultural and event facilities around Centre Square / Corporation Road and improvements to Linthorpe Central to new restaurants, enhancing the overall environment, setting and levels of activity.

    Qualitative Assessment of Retail and Leisure Provision

    2.38 The qualitative survey findings in the “Potential Expansion of Middlesbrough Town Centre” highlighted a number of qualitative development and use requirements that could boost the attractiveness of the Centre to visitors. These were:

    • 65% of visitors were from outside Middlesbrough;

    • For 45%, the main reason for visiting Middlesbrough was non-food shopping; and

    • Food grocery accounts for just 16% of visits.

    Diversification of the Leisure and Night Time Economy

    2.39 The need to diversify the Town Centre leisure offer is highlighted by the survey results which showed that 62% of respondents do not visit Middlesbrough in the evening - with a strong identifiable generational fluctuation with a much lower figure (41%) for 18 -34 year olds and higher figure 84% in the 55+ age group not visiting in the evening.

    2.40 A number of initiatives and projects are being undertaken to achieve greater diversification in the night-time economy. These include:

    • A £300,000 capital investment programme is allocated for cultural projects, including improvements to the Concert Hall facilities within the Town Hall;

    • The development of mima as the hub of new Arts and Cultural quarter around Centre Square, which will also include the Town Hall, Empire Theatre and civic space. In its first seven months of operation, mima attracted 81,000 visitors;

    • The Dorman Museum on Linthorpe Road has recently been refurbished through a £3m investment; and

    • In addition to major capital programmes, there has been significant investment in town centre events and activities, including major events and activity programmes which reinforce key retailing periods such as Christmas.

    Growth of New Business Sectors

    Creative Media – The Boho Quarter

    2.41 The development of a strong digital media and creative sector is anticipated focussed on the DigitalCity concept and the development of Boho. This will be based around Queens Square and Exchange Square where there are currently high vacancy levels in older commercial properties. It is estimated that this quarter has the potential to create some 1,800 jobs (gross) when completed. Key milestones thus far include:

    • A 35,000 sq.ft £10 million Digital Enterprise Centre, Boho One, due to open in 2009 (supported by ONE NorthEast funding of £5.8 million);

    • Erimus investment in the provision of 30 live/work units (Boho 2);

    • Artists' studios in the refurbished Victorian warehouse at Middlesbrough's railway station were completed 2008; and

    • Python Properties opened a new art gallery and café close to the future Boho One at Royal Middlehaven House.

    2.42 These facilities will deliver a creative core, but also a key link between the main Retail Core and Middlehaven.

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    Growth in Student Population Numbers

    2.43 There are continuing plans for the expansion of higher education institutions in Middlesbrough. Both University of Teesside and Middlesbrough College envisage a significant expansion in facilities and in student numbers. University of Teesside, for example, is investing some £13 million in a 4,200 sq.m Sport & Health Sciences building with work starting in Spring 2009.

    2.44 The expansion of student numbers will have a substantial impact of the level of expenditure in the Town Centre. At Middlesbrough College, student numbers are expected to increase by 7,000 from their existing level of 13,000. The potential impacts of this growth include:

    o Increased demand for accommodation; o Increased expenditure in the Town Centre and demand for a greater variety of

    shops; and o An increase in potential long-term residents if quality opportunities for

    employment or business start-ups / incubation are pursued.

    2.45 As shown in Table 2-2 , it is estimated that an increased student population could generate increased expenditure (including housing costs, living costs etc) of some c. £88.6million.

    Table 2-2: Impact of increased student numbers Full Time Part Time TotalCurrent student numbers

    Middlesbrough College 5,654 7,346 13,000University of Teesside 9,130 11,504 20,634

    Future student numbers Middlesbrough College 8,698 11,302 20,000University of Teesside 9,130 11,504 20,634

    Average expenditure/student5 £10,306 £14,459 Current expenditure (£m) £152.36 £272.55 £424.91Potential future expenditure (£m) £183.73 £329.75 £513.49Estimated additional expenditure (£m) £31.37 £57.20 £88.57

    2.46 In physical development terms, footfall to and from the new Middlesbrough College at Middlehaven is already having a significant influence in the north of the town centre.

    Implementation of Key Strategic Projects 2.47 A number of projects have been put in place that will contribute to creating a step

    change in the regeneration of Middlesbrough.

    Development of Centre Square East

    2.48 Centre Square East will build upon the recent development of mima and Centre Square. The development area is to the south-east of Centre Square and a £50 million project is proposed which will include:

    • A new public square fronting onto the Crown Court;

    • A four star, 110 bedroom hotel incorporating restaurant, café, bar and conference facilities;

    5 Institute of Employment Studies: Student Income & Expenditure Survey 2004/5 adjusted to reflect regional differentials and growth to 2008/2009.

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    • Office development consisting of six independent units located to the east of Elder and Hazel Courts; and

    • A 340 space car park.

    2.49 The Terrace Hill development proposals are anticipated to generate c1, 500 jobs.

    Potential Economic Impact of Middlehaven Implementation

    2.50 As part of the expanded Town Centre, the Middlehaven development will introduce a range of new office floorspace, niche retailing and new homes. It has already established a new focus for education and training with the opening of Middlesbrough College in 2008.

    2.51 The delivery of this project will produce a substantial amount of new floor space. Table 2-3 profiles the potential impact of the floorspace delivery as c1,958 new jobs.

    Table 2-3 Impact of Middlehaven Development (gross)


    Maximum area

    (sq.m) Jobs

    Proposed area

    (sq.m) Jobs

    (gross) Commercial 22,607 1,190 18,000 947 Retail 2,500 125 2,500 125 Food/Drink & Leisure 14,650 1,127 10,000 769 Hotel 14,000 117 14,000 117 Totals 53,757 2,558 44,500 1,958

    2.52 Middlehaven will, over time, introduce a new residential community to Middlesbrough Town Centre which will help to support retail, commercial and leisure activity. Implementation of the Greater Middlehaven Strategic Framework Plan (the Middlehaven Masterplan) will bring an additional residential population of c.6, 625 to the area.

    Table 2-4 Middlehaven - Residential Units and Anticipated Population



    2016-2021 2021+


    Residential Completions 500 1,015 1,015 350 2,880 Affordable Units (@10%) 50 102 102 35 289 Resident Numbers 1,150 2,335 2,335 805 6,625

    Potential Impact of Cannon Park

    2.53 Cannon Park, located at the western end of the recently expanded Town Centre, provides a 22.8ha. development site identified for mixed use employment and large footplate non-food retail. It therefore offers the primary location to accommodate the identified bulky goods requirement in the Retail Strategic Options study. The quality of development will be critical because Cannon Park lies at two of the main gateways into Middlesbrough.

    2.54 The current Masterplan proposes the development of new retail floorspace, led by convenience floorspace and warehouse based comparison. A limited range of leisure floorspace is proposed and (in the short to medium term) existing industrial and commercial space would be retained.

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    Table 2-5: Cannon Park - Proposals & Estimated Impact

    Activity Floorspace

    (sq.m) Employment

    (gross)Commercial 12,000 632Retail 24,000 1200Leisure 5,500 423Existing Car Show Room 8,830 0Retained gas holder 21,699 0Total 41,500 2,255

    2.55 It is estimated that implementation will generate employment outputs of 2,255 jobs (gross).

    The Case for Change - Physical

    Figure 2-1 Overall Strategic Context

    2.56 Middlesbrough is one of the country’s most significant Victorian urban developments. It is distinguished from other major expansions of its period by its clear grid plan - first in St. Hilda’s to the north of the railway and then, on a different grid axis, in the Retail Core to the south of the railway.

    2.57 The Town Centre grids survive almost unaltered. They have shaped past development and can continue to shape proposals in the future. Other than in the Station Conservation Area, there has been extensive redevelopment within the town’s grid framework. Despite this, the grids make for a town which is clear and convenient in navigation and which offers clear views throughout, as well as of key landmarks.

    2.58 Within the grids, through development and change, Middlesbrough has established a series of quarters with defining characteristics generally associated with different types of use:

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    o West – retail; o Central – retail, office, cultural and leisure; o East – residential and business; and o Satellites to the South – the University; – and the North – Middlehaven / Boho.

    2.59 Key features of the Town Centre are as follows:

    o The containment of the northern and eastern side of the Town Centre by the A66 on its viaduct and the railway line – partially on the embankment;

    o The relative detachment of Middlehaven; and o The containment of the Town Centre to the west, south and south east by

    densely developed inner area housing, mainly Victorian Terrace.

    2.60 Physical changes in the last few years have improved the Town Centre and, to some extent, blurred and diversified the mix within specific quarters.

    2.61 Key features of physical change include:

    o The growth in scale, quality and profile of the University; o The emergence of Boho which encompasses new development and a creative

    quarter to the north of the railway; o Centre Square and mima have brought an enhanced cultural focus to the Town

    Centre and the Civic Core around the Town Hall; o The Captain Cook retail centre has extended and consolidated the retail

    quarter north and south of Corporation Road and west of Albert Road; o The leisure base has developed at the eastern end of Corporation Road –

    Middlesbrough Leisure Park; o Key streets have benefited from high quality public realm improvements; and o Implementation of the Middlehaven masterplan has begun with the delivery of

    a consolidated Middlesbrough College.

    Current Physical Strengths

    2.62 The centre is remarkably compact, with most key uses close to each other. Within this overall pattern, key strengths include:

    o The density and tightness in relationship of the Retail Core; o The high quality public realm which supports this on Corporation Road; o The compactness of the civic and cultural core and its clustering around Centre

    Square; o The extent (if not variety) of the leisure offer; o The proximity of the bus station and, to a lesser extent the railway station, to

    the Retail Core; o The growing strength of the University to the south of the Town Centre; o The opening of Middlesbrough College and the impending opening of Boho to

    the north of the centre; o The quality public realm, including Exchange Square, that can potentially link

    Boho to Middlesbrough College / Middlehaven; o The independent retail base at Linthorpe Road Central; and o The potential of the development of Middlehaven and Cannon Park to extend,

    diversify and strengthen the Town Centre offer and its sub-regional standing.

    Gaps in Connectivity

    2.63 Across the extended Town Centre areas and within the established Retail Core, there are gaps in connectivity between places and uses. These include:

    o In retail - the relative detachment of the specialist Linthorpe Central area from the retail core;

    o In leisure - the fragmentation of the offer between Albert Road / Zetland Road in the northern part of the centre, the leisure base at Marton Road in the east

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    and the independent offer at Linthorpe Central in the south. Also, the separation of these from the bus station; and

    o In transport - the separation of the bus and railway stations.

    2.64 Although the identification of dominant use areas (Quarters) provides strong place – identity, it can also reduce the extent to which the uses support each other and help address or temper gaps in connectivity. An example is the retail domination of the area between the bus station and Centre Square, onto the Leisure Park. This area is largely closed in the evening and the Corporation Road section between the two main leisure areas is dominated by civic activity and also inactive in the evening.

    Figure 2-2 Connectivity

    2.65 Particular connectivity issues relative to the expanded Town Centre include:

    The crossing of Marton Road which compounds the peripheral location of the leisure base;

    The crossing of the complex traffic movements around the bus station to reach Cannon Park from the Centre;

    The penetration across the railway into Middlehaven and Boho; and

    The crossing of Borough Road between the Retail Core and Linthorpe Central.

    Areas of Opportunity The North-South Axis

    2.66 There are two parallel and interrelated but different north / south axes - Albert Road and Linthorpe Road. Both contain a number of points which are not strongly connected and therefore do not contribute as effectively as they could to the Town Centre’s operation.

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    2.67 The development of Boho and the potential for extended and improved education facilities close to the northern ends of both axes will encourage more intensive movement, increasing the area’s attractiveness to users and investors.

    Figure 2-3 Areas of opportunity

    2.68 Key features of the Albert Road Axis are:

    o The attractive entrance to the University; o The dead-side of the Law Courts; o The dead-side of The Mall; the generosity of pedestrian areas, the intensity of

    services and proximity to Centre Square; o Centre Square, together with the library and museum, collectively form a

    powerful area of cultural and public open space; o Middlesbrough Town Hall is visually and symbolically important to the Town

    Centre; o Albert Road North has a mixed pattern and quality of buildings, a fragmented

    leisure offer and a number of derelict/ semi derelict vacant and under-used buildings;

    o The A66 viaduct which separates the Retail Core from the north of the Town Centre;

    o Exchange Square and the Station are a collection of fine buildings and extensive but under-utilised space. Exchange Square is active only along its western edge and the dominance of the viaduct limits the attractiveness and use of the eastern side; and

    o Boho will form the basis of a new digital media and creative quarter.

    2.69 The key features of the Linthorpe Road Axis are:

    o The Dorman Museum and the foreground to Albert Park; o Ayresome Gardens; o The largely University related liveliness around Southfield Road; o The specialist independent retail and restaurant cluster in Linthorpe Central;

    Centre Square

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    o The very mixed quality retail, commercial and leisure offer elsewhere along the road;

    o The busy crossing of Borough Road; o The gap in activity before accessing intensification of activity towards the core

    north of Borough Road; o The poor quality/under use of the Bedford St/Baker St/Church House area; o The reasonably active and robust primarily retail pedestrianised core section; o The slightly worn quality of the public realm in this area; o The high quality crossing with Corporation Road / Newport Road - including

    major stores; o The busy crossing of Wilson Street; o The generous but varied quality public space under and north of the A66 to

    Station Street and Zetland Road; o The slightly exposed poor quality rear to the Zetland Road properties; o The poor quality of Crown House and the unanimated route to the Zetland car

    park; o The attractive station entrance and station buildings; o The uninviting pedestrian route north under the railway; o The difficult connections north of the railway up to Bridge Street West; o The new police headquarters and Boho as destinations north of Bridge Street

    West; and o The potential to accommodate expanded and/or new higher education facilities

    and commercial activities to the north of the railway station.

    Potential Extension of the North-South Axis

    Figure 2-4 Potential Extension to the North:

    2.70 North of the railway line, the strong Town Centre grid meets the similar but tilted grid of the former St Hilda’s area, with Queen’s Square as the junction point. The Transporter Bridge and river now have a more important future as a destination and place rather than a route. Middlesbrough Dock, Riverside Stadium, the Middlehaven Masterplan and its first fruits in Middlesbrough College, the railway station and Albert Road all become increasingly important parts of the dynamic of the Town Centre.

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    2.71 The Crown House and Station Street area offer the potential to extend and consolidate the northern end of the secondary Linthorpe Road Axis and the western end of the Station Conservation Area. However, the relative levels of Station Street, the railway and Bridge Street West constrain the potential to link to the north on this Axis.

    Figure 2-5 Potential Extension to the South

    2.72 To the southern end of the Axis, there is the opportunity to strengthen Linthorpe Central and provide an improved connection between this area and the existing Retail Core, as well as between Linthorpe Road and the University Quarter. In order to maximise the strength of the existing Town Centre offer, it is hugely important to encourage increased footfall along the whole of Linthorpe Road, from the railway station in the north to the Linthorpe Central area in the south.

    The East-West Axis

    2.73 The eastern end of the Axis is contained by the A66 viaduct and the leisure park forms a stop. Its uses, design, external relationships and context mean that the eastern end is large and self contained. With extensive supporting car parking, it can almost be seen to function as an out-of-town development, in spite of the fact it is on the edge of the Town Centre.

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    Figure 2-6 The East-West Axis

    2.74 Once Marton Road is crossed, the pedestrian linkage along the axis into the Retail Core is strong. However, the fragmentation of uses along Corporation Road makes the route less attractive and lightly used, particularly in the evening when civic, government and legal activity ceases to animate the route and Leisure Park users park and remain within this location. The Oak Street area provides some animation with a small selection of leisure uses. The sites in private ownership on either side of the route (the former CSI and Odeon site) have the potential to provide extended activity through residential use, but pattern and value will vary dependent on occupancy being student or general.

    2.75 The Combined Law Courts turn their back on the axis, offering no animation to the route. However, security requirements would make it difficult to enact any change here. There are linking routes to the parallel Civic Boulevard on either side of the Courts and Canal Street and the Registrars Offices. Each of these has the potential to link routes or animate the axis, particularly through a diversification of usage in Centre Square.

    2.76 Although an impressive building, the theatre exudes a character of limited use. Likewise, the Town Hall and Civic Centre contribute visually but offer a dead frontage to the axis.

    2.77 The contemporary public realm treatment along this Axis is very strong, particularly within the Retail Core. At this point it helps to unify a range of diverse buildings in a busy area by wrapping around the four major retail developments. During the day this is a vibrant and attractive area. However, the limited non-retail use means it is much quieter (and therefore perceived as less safe) in the evening.

    2.78 The western end of the axis is dominated by the bus station. Flows to and from it bring a great deal of life and activity to the area. The axis virtually terminates with the point at which the grid changes and the road turns into Cannon Park. This point is marked by the exposed entry to the service yard of Sainsbury’s.

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    Potential Extension of the East-West Axis

    Figure 2-7 Potential Extension to the East

    2.79 To the eastern end of the axis, Middlehaven Gateway is likely to remain detached from the Town Centre due to the weakness of physical and pedestrian linkages. Particular constraints are:

    o The A66; o Railway links to Saltburn and Whitby; and o The chemical works.

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    Figure 2-8 Potential Extension to the West

    2.80 If the extension of the axis at the eastern end is extremely difficult, the consolidation of its western end becomes more significant. Indeed the extension of the Retail Core westwards is more deliverable and promoted by the Cannon Park Masterplan.

    2.81 An important aspect of this area is the junction between Cannon Park and the established Retail Core. This is focused on the bus station, Sainsbury’s and the BBC building. The current orientation of the Sainsbury’s building presents challenges to effecting strong and animated links.

    2.82 The supermarket and hotel complex recently completed on the southwest side of the Newport Road / Hartington Road junction appears to positively support the Town Centre extension and linkage into this area. However, the development is modest in scale for its gateway location.

    Key Development Opportunities 2.83 The strength and solidity of Middlesbrough Town Centre is such that there are

    relatively few undeveloped or unused sites readily available for development. In the existing Town Centre core, there are few opportunities. The most immediately engaged are those which relate to (and potentially support) the cultural and civic quarter:

    Centre Square East;

    Dunning Street (former police station); and

    Former Odeon and Cleveland Scientific Institute Sites.

    2.84 The former Odeon and CSI sites offer the potential to intensify and diversify the east-west axis, whilst strengthening links between the Leisure Park and the Retail Core. It is understood that there is a high level of commitment to the development of these sites.

    2.85 While there are development opportunities at the Mall, Dundas and Hillstreet Shopping Centres, there are no major development sites within the Retail Core. Given the

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    existing built structure of the centre, any expansion of the retail core would need to be at its western edge towards the bus station and the Harris Street / Yew Street triangle.

    2.86 Major food related development is identified within the Regeneration Plan Document (RDPD)at the eastern end of Cannon Park. Therefore, consideration of alternative uses for the Sainsbury’s and Denmark Street car park complex may be merited to promote intensification of development. This site has the potential to provide a use with greater connection to the comparison shopping of the Retail Core.

    2.87 These sites, with intensification and integration with leisure and other uses, could consolidate the eastern end of the axis, while expanding and improving linkages to the Retail Core.

    2.88 At the other end of the axis, France Street car park also offers considerable potential for more intensive use and new development, possibly with associated multi-storey parking.

    2.89 The Gurney Triangle offers the potential to further extend and diversify the office, cultural and leisure quarter in depth. Its relationship, under the A66, to Exchange Square offers considerable potential to form linkages onwards to Middlehaven.

    2.90 The Bedford Street / Baker Street area offers the potential for intensification of use and the strengthening of connection between Linthorpe Central and the Retail Core. The redevelopment of Church House would bring significant uplift to this area.

    2.91 There is a significant degree of vacancy and under-use of property along Albert Road. This offers the potential for intensification of activity both at street level and above. The potential to form linkages through to Albert Mews and on into Wilson Street and the Gurney Triangle is currently limited by the well established William Sutton Trust housing complex.

    2.92 There are limited opportunities to transect the A66, connecting the current Town Centre core to new development at Middlehaven and Boho. The major positive in this area is the quality and character of the Station Conservation Area, including the Station, Zetland Road and Exchange Square. Crown House and Station Street do offer some potential to consolidate the western end of the conservation area and the Northern end of Linthorpe Road, linking the Station to the Retail Core. This is an important Gateway site for entrance into Middlesbrough and therefore merits improvement. In addition, there are poor pedestrian linkages from this Gateway location to the north of the Railway Station.

    2.93 The School Croft / Wood Street area to the eastern end of Exchange Square offers the potential to animate the dead-end of this valuable asset, provide pedestrian linkages to Middlehaven and unlock development opportunity. This point could provide a high quality linkage between the existing Retail Core, via Albert Road, the railway and Bridge Street, to Middlehaven and Middlesbrough College. An intense increase in footfall along this axis has been reported since the new College opened in September 2008. This effect will be further intensified by the delivery of Boho, the development of Middlehaven and any additional educational facilities.

    Movement and Transportation 2.94 Critical factors in the dynamic of a successful Town Centre are high quality

    transportation links and ease of access and movement The existing situation in Middlesbrough Town Centre is reflected by the following factors:

    Gateways to Middlesbrough Town Centre

    2.95 Strategic gateways to the Town Centre for all modes of transport are essential to ensure that movements are undertaken efficiently and by the most appropriate mode of transport. Gateways provide initial perceptions on arrival in Middlesbrough. Quality of

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    locale, design and linkages leading from the Gateways must be of the highest standard.

    2.96 Existing signage to car parking does not offer information on available spaces or the quadrant for which a car park is intended. Variable message signage, including the number of free spaces and the destinations served, would assist movement around the Town Centre. This would assist in balancing out usage of car parks that are currently under utilised, particularly if undertaken in combination with improvements to pedestrian linkages between car parks and the Retail Core.

    Public Transport Accessibility

    2.97 Middlesbrough bus station is well patronised. It provides a core function within the Town Centre and links directly to the Retail Core through the Captain Cook Square and Newport Road. However, the existing location of the bus station is isolated for the evening economy and cultural and leisure offers elsewhere in the Town Centre.

    2.98 This leads to the following conclusions:

    Either the bus station should remain where it is with improvements to the connections between it and evening uses, ensuring that these links are animated through the evening; or

    The bus station should relocate, or be provided in a different form, so that it serves both the retail and the evening economy more directly without the need to create additional links between the bus station and other leisure offers in the Town Centre.

    Car Parking

    2.99 Town Centre parking provision is approaching capacity in certain locations. Peak demands reach or exceed capacity. There is an imbalance between provision and demand for car parking in varying Town Centre locations. The provision of Park and Ride facilities may act to reduce pressure on existing provision while also offering ready access to the Town Centre core for users. It is understood that Middlesbrough Council will be examining the feasibility of a park and ride scheme in the coming year.

    2.100 There is a perception that the location of existing car parks, and the attractiveness of pedestrian routes between them and core destinations, leads to under-utilisation of car parking assets.

    2.101 This effect is different for the daytime and evening economies. The influence of the standard and perception of pedestrian routes to and from car parks has a far greater influence during the hours of darkness. Any proposals for new car parking in the centre must consider location sensitively to serve the evening economy. This may require a diverse range of locations to serve the burgeoning evening economy across the Town Centre, not just within existing leisure quarters.( With the possible exception of the France St car park, there is currently little or no parking located conveniently, secure, and with good/well perceived pedestrian access to serve evening uses).

    2.102 The southern part of the Town Centre is one area where demand outstrips supply of car parking. This will be increasingly the case as Linthorpe Central develops in combination with expansion plans of the University of Teesside. These factors will result in a severe lack of readily accessible car parking to the south of the Town Centre.

    2.103 Concerns about car crime and personal security continue to be major issues for town centre and car park users in Middlesbrough. The security of parking facilities is an important factor in attracting both people and businesses into the town centre. By improving the quality of parking and ensuring security levels are consistent throughout all facilities in Middlesbrough town centre, more car parks are likely to be used, relieving pressure from those locations which are more intensively used.

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    2.104 Recent improvements include monitored CCTV in all main car parks, improved lighting and customer help points. Consequently, town centre Council car parks are now virtually crime free and increased usage has been observed. This has had the further effect of reducing congestion by releasing road space on sensitive routes.

    2.105 Accessible car parking provision needs to be part of the package to enhance the attractiveness of the town centre and to enable it to compete effectively with out of centre retail and business locations which offer free parking. A flexible approach to operational parking provision is therefore needed. Information on routes to and at car parks needs to be clear and concise to provide users with clear directions and instructions.

    2.106 Middlesbrough Council will bring forward its Parking Strategy to respond to these issues, bringing forward policies to encourage:

    Provision of short stay parking near primary shopping areas;

    New parking facilities to support existing and potential development and initiatives. A study brief has been prepared to examine locations of new off-street car parking to service the town centre;

    Development of an appropriate approach to developer contributions;

    An assessment of existing and future demand for secure evening and overnight parking in the town centre;

    Improvements in pedestrian access between town centre car parks and the town centre’s main attractions; and

    Introduction of a parking guidance system for the town centre.

    Pedestrian Linkages

    2.107 The quality of pedestrian links to car parking facilities and perceptions of safety are very closely aligned to car park usage and overall perception of the Town Centre. Current links to certain car parks serving the Town Centre are perceived as being indirect and intimidating, particularly Zetland.

    2.108 A detailed review of the pedestrian links to all car parks serving the Town Centre must be undertaken as an early action.

    2.109 Connections within the Town Centre are strong in a north-south direction. Albert Road and Linthorpe Road provide positive visual and physical connections through the heart of the Town Centre. Connections through the Town Centre in an east-west direction are less defined, particularly in the Retail Core. Borough Road, Grange Road, Corporation Road and Wilson Street do provide east-west routes, but the direct link through the heart of the retail core between the bus station and Centre Square is not direct. This is particularly acute during the evening when the Mall provides an impermeable block to direct pedestrian movement across the town centre.

    2.110 Other key pedestrian linkages from the Retail Core outwards need to be improved. The road network within the Town Centre can create barriers to pedestrian movements and a strategic review is required in the light of current development proposals

    2.111 A key linkage is between the existing Retail Core and Linthorpe Central, crossing Borough Road. This link must be reinforced to encourage pedestrian movement. Consideration must be given to access to Linthorpe Central by all modes of transport. This would help the integration of Linthorpe Central area with the Retail Core and University.

    2.112 The delivery of a new multi-storey car park in the Linthorpe Central / University would assist the integration of these areas into the Retail Core. This would be achieved by sensitive location of the car park and consideration of the pedestrian routes from the

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    car park to allow it to serve the University, Linthorpe Central and the Cultural Quarter throughout the day and evening.

    Future Measures

    2.113 It is important to consider future proposals for improvements to the infrastructure associated with moving people to and from the Town Centre, as well as considering movements within the Town Centre itself.

    2.114 Proposals within regional and local strategies will impact on movements to and within the Town Centre. The Tees Valley Metro proposals are perhaps the widest reaching of these. This can potentially make Middlesbrough Town Centre more accessible to a wider catchment of visitor. Even without the Tees Valley Metro scheme, there are proposals to open new stations that will provide a broader range of origins for journeys to Middlesbrough Town Centre.

    2.115 The Town Centre Strategy must recognise the significance of the increased influence of rail both with and without the Tees Valley Metro proposals, and seek to integrate Middlesbrough Railway Station with the Town Centre and bus services in a seamless manner.

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    3 OPTIMISING OPPORTUNITY 3.1 The discussion of the Case for Change, whether from the perspective of progress to

    date, the economic performance of the Town Centre or indeed in discussing physical factors which affect the future of the centre, indicates a range of powerful drivers that support ongoing physical and economic development;

    Increasing demand for housing and student population;

    The need for increased provision and quality of retail, culture and leisure facilities; and

    Commitment to new economic sectors and large scale development.

    3.2 The findings of the Challenges and Opportunities chapters have been fed into the following SWOT analysis of Middlesbrough Town Centre.

    Middlesbrough Town Centre SWOT

    Strengths 3.3 Middlesbrough is currently the primary sub-regional town centre location in the Tees

    Valley for:


    Cultural Facilities;

    Education; and

    Evening Economy uses.

    Positive Planning Framework

    Projected regional growth in the long term.

    The expansion of Middlesbrough is supported in the RSS and LDF.

    The emergence of the Stockton-Middlesbrough Initiative and the importance of Middlesbrough and Stockton town centres to its delivery.

    A range of additional factors (outlined within this document) support ongoing change.

    Middlesbrough as a key economic driver within the Tees Valley City Region.

    Commitment of the Public Sector to the Centre and New Sectors

    Administrative functions, including the Civic Centre, JSU and the law courts.

    Digital Media and the Delivery of Boho.

    Office – development of a sustainable town centre office core (with strong linkages between Middlehaven and the other parts of the centre).

    Hotel – enabling representation in the town centre of both high end and budget operators through marketing, site assembly and other measures.

    Retail – encouraging future requirements for mainstream comparison retailing to be accommodated in the town centre.

    Education – developing clear physical and operational links between the town centre and educational establishment to capture the benefits of related spending and activity.

    Culture – building on the success of mima and other initiatives to further develop Middlesbrough town centre’s appeal as a centre of cultural activity.

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    Impact of recent developments and progress

    mima, Centre Square and related public realm.

    Ongoing expansion of the educational sector.

    A strong, focused Retail Core and emergence of the independent retail sector around Linthorpe Central.

    Physical Character

    Centre Square and Public Realm.

    Strong Victorian grid structure.

    Developments in progress and opportunity sites at Middlehaven, Cannon Park, Centre Square East.

    Socio-Economic Factors

    Extensive travel to work and retail and leisure catchments.

    Tees Valley has low labour rates and commercial and industrial rents.

    Availability of workforce.

    Weaknesses Socio-Economic Challenges

    Levels of unemployment.

    Trends of out-migration.

    Low levels of business start-up and survival.

    Poor attraction of A&B socio-economic profile.

    Access to employment for Middlesbrough residents.

    Economic Conditions

    Current Economic Downturn.

    Current failure of the development markets.

    Developer confidence.

    Gateways into Middlesbrough

    Quality of rail links.

    Quality of entry points by road and around railway and bus stations.


    External and internal perception of high crime levels and low-quality physical environment.

    The limited quality of the retail offer and diversity in the evening offer (food, drink and cultural pursuits).

    Dwell Time

    Lack of café culture and restaurants.

    Lack of high-end retail in Town Centre Core.

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    Opportunities Emerging City Region status.

    Demand for additional housing, retail and leisure.

    Emerging cultural and creative media hub.

    Further development of existing and emerging clusters.

    Educational sectors and the encouragement of spin-out companies, particularly in Digital Media.

    Increased student population and the potential for overseas catchment.

    Improvement of quality of offer in retail, leisure and cultural facilities across the Town Centre.

    Potential for designation of a Business Improvement District in the town centre.

    The delivery of Middlehaven, Cannon Park and the Linthorpe Central Improvement Strategy.

    Improvements to gateways, including Metro and other forms of public transport.

    Potential to develop a collaborative approach under SMI which maximises the contribution of the two town centres based on their distinctive roles.



    Retail leakage to Teesside Retail Park, Darlington, Durham and Newcastle/Gateshead.

    Loss of A&B socio-economic profile spending to other leisure and retail locations.

    Office leakage to Stockton, Hartlepool and across Tees Valley.

    Delay in delivery of Middlehaven due to market condition.

    Extended economic downturn.


    Lack of private sector activity.

    Increased deprivation and social exclusion created by the recession.

    Physical fragmentation, particularly between existing Core and Middlehaven /Boho, Cannon Park and Linthorpe Central.

    Lack of co-ordination of projects, programmes and initiatives.

    Conclusions 3.4 The main factors relevant to Middlesbrough Town Centre in its current form are:

    There is significant opportunity – a positive planning framework and indicative demand for increased housing, retail, culture and leisure facilities;

    The emerging Tees Valley City Region and Stockton-Middlesbrough Initiative and the role Middlesbrough centre can play as a key economic driver;

    Ongoing commitment from Middlesbrough Council and its partners to generate a critical mass of activity in education, digital and creative media and culture;

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    Commitment to significant development proposals including Middlehaven, Centre Square East, Cannon Park and the Casino;

    The centre has expanded its boundary to include Greater Middlehaven to the north and Cannon Park to the west. However, these areas remain physically disconnected from the existing core and the A66 viaduct forms a major barrier;

    While there are proposals for the Mall, Dundas and Hillstreet, there is a lack of major development sites within the Retail Core;

    There is a need for the Town Centre’s future growth to address a range of ongoing socio-economic challenges including unemployment, low levels of business start up and survival and out-migration;

    Middlesbrough faces Increased retail and office sector competition from out-of-town development; and

    The economic downturn is likely to significantly slow development activity for the foreseeable future. It is critical that Middlesbrough has the requisite infrastructure, partnerships and profile to react positively to this challenging period and the time at which there is uplift in markets.

    Strategic Objectives

    3.5 In analysis of the Case for Change, the following Strategic Objectives emerged for Middlesbrough Town Centre:

    3.6 The overall strategic vision is for Middlesbrough Town Centre is to fulfill its potential as a retail, commercial and creative centre at the heart of the Tees Valley City Region by 2020.

    3.7 The City Region needs a successful city core. Middlesbrough can contribute to achieving that city core by the way it looks, feels and acts like a city, and in line with SMI, achieves the impacts of a city for the benefit of the whole Tees Valley City Region.

    3.8 By 2020 Middlesbrough Town Centre will be:

    • A centre that performs as the primary economic driver for the Tees Valley City Region;

    • A centre with a critical mass of economic and social activity, across a diverse range of sectors;

    • A distinct environment, recognized locally and nationally for its vibrancy, culture, educational pursuits, strong retail offer and modern physical environment;

    • A centre in which people choose to live, work, shop, and spend leisure time within a twenty-four hour economy;

    • A center that acts as an attractor for a broad category of shoppers and leisure users from s sub-regional catchment; and

    • A centre that is economically, socially, culturally and environmentally viable and sustainable.

    3.9 These aspirations will be achieved by the delivery of the following Objectives:


    To continue growth in retail, education, cultural and leisure, creative industries and digital media, and office sectors.

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    To deliver a package of interventions that encourages increased dwell time and expenditure from across the socio-economic spectrum and which encourages the attraction of high-end leisure and retail operators.

    To assemble sites and utilise Council-owned assets and vacant and derelict properties to deliver uses that promote and diversify the economic offer within the Centre.

    To offer support to new business, independent retail and incubators in Digital and Creative media.


    To deliver a series of physical interventions that join together and encourage increased footfall between the current Centre and Middlehaven/Boho, Cannon Park and Linthorpe Central, whilst creating a series of key development opportunities.


    To promote a larger and more mixed city centre population via the provision of residential development across high-end and student sectors.

    To provide the town centre population with access to a broader range of high quality and diverse leisure, cultural and retail services within a safe environment.


    To develop Middlesbrough’s cultural infrastructure, capitalising upon the delivery of mima and the potential of the Digital and Creative Media hub, to deliver enhanced concert and theatre facilities, workspace for cultural pursuits and significant public art.

    Movement and Accessibility

    To strengthen connections and circulation across the centre, whilst providing key access points for integrated public transport and car parking.

    To improve access routes and gateways into the centre via public and private transport and pedestrian links.

    To strengthen connections and circulation across the centre, particularly between the Retail Core and other areas.

    To ensure car parking meets the needs and aspirations of the centre in terms of capacity, location and quality.

    Improving Image and Perceptions

    To promote campaigns to publicise Middlesbrough’s strong and diverse offer.

    To deliver events, iconic buildings and public artworks that enhance the image of Middlesbrough.

    Effective Implementation

    To clearly identify roles and responsibilities and the timeframe for centre proposals and to secure effective working between the public and private sectors.

    Recommendations – the “Tool Kit” for a Vibrant City Centre 3.10 Action to support the vision and strategic objectives must build upon key successes

    and development opportunities to create critical mass of city scale. This will be delivered by a range of core Recommendations.

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    The “Tool Kit” for a Vibrant centre

    3.11 In combination, the Recommendations have been designed to act as a “Tool Kit” to promote a rounded product. The “Tool Kit” aims to deliver the Strategy’s objectives by increasing the scale, quality and range of activity in the centre.

    3.12 The Tool Kit must effect a number of changes as part of the ‘step-change’ Middlesbrough requires producing.

    3.13 The Recommendations should assist in coordinating Middlesbrough Council’s approach to new proposals as well as established projects and initiatives, including Middlehaven. They are underpinned by the principles of sustainable development, balancing enhanced economic activity, social inclusion and broadening the Centre catchment while enhancing the physical environment.

    3.14 Core Recommendations for Middlesbrough City Centre are as follows:

    Recommendation A - Expansion and Strengthening of the Retail Core – “Quality, Catchment and Dwell Time”;

    Recommendation B - Strategic Property and Sites;

    Recommendation C - Use of Planning Powers;

    Recommendation D - Development of the Office Sector;

    Recommendation E - Expansion of the Educational Sector and Promotion of a Centre of Excellence in Digital and Creative Media;

    Recommendation F - Ongoing development of Middlesbrough as a Cultural and Leisure Hub;

    Recommendation G - Improved Movement, Access and Gateways;

    Recommendation H - Car Parking – Location and Availability;

    Recommendation I - Physical Interventions;

    Recommendation J - Enhanced city centre Safety; and

    Recommendation K - Promotion and Marketing of the city centre.

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    Core Recommendation A: Expansion and Strengthening of Retail Core – “Quality, Catchment and Dwell”The policies for the Retail Core in Middlesbrough will:

    Improve the quality of the Retail Core offer within its existing capacity;

    Respond to identified gaps in the overall retail offer; and

    In the short-medium term, grow the Retail Core to deliver an improved quality of offer – not to increase the overall capacity.


    Fit to Objective

    Key Actions Ref.

    Identification of key site(s) for expansion of the Retail Core at the western end of the city centre, relative to identified demand and development of a new Department Store.

    EconomicConnections Movement

    Option Appraisal of the key sites that connect the existing Retail Core to the western extremities of the town centre and Cannon Park. This includes the existing bus station, the Harris Street /Yew Street triangle and the Sainsbury’s site.


    Appraisal of alternative bus station sites, including analysis of the potential creation of a bus/rail public transport hub or alternative arrangements for bus stopping and circulation.


    Development of a development proposition to potential department store retailers, inclusive of identified location and funding package.



    Completion of an Investment Strategy for the Linthorpe Central Improvement Strategy to further encourage improved environment and performance and physical connections between the University Quarter, the Retail Core and Linthorpe Central.


    Development of physical linkages to encourage increased footfall and connectivity between the Retail Core and Linthorpe Central

    Design and implementation of physical improvements to the Borough Road / Linthorpe Road junction to encourage movement, attractiveness and footfall between Linthorpe Central and the Retail Core. To be inclusive of junction and public realm improvements.


    Investigation of options to increase car parking capacity at the Southern-edge of the city centre, particularly in the Linthorpe Central area, to support and strengthen footfall into the Core along Linthorpe Road South and further integrate Linthorpe Central with the city centre.


    Promotion of Middlesbrough’s unique independent retail sector in Linthorpe Central, further promoting distinctiveness within the city centre and increasing potential to attract higher levels of expenditure.

    Economic Provision of support to independent retail, particularly in the Linthorpe Central area. To include identification of support for business start-up, training and provision of staff.


    Development of a formal working relationship with key independent retailers to identify possible peer support and joint marketing of Linthorpe Central / independent retail.


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    Core Recommendation B: Strategic Property and Sites Recommendation

    Fit to Objective

    Key Actions Ref.

    Identification of key sites and properties that will encourage improved connectivity across the city centre and promote commercial, leisure and residential development and related site assembly.


    Preparation of a Site Assembly Strategy for Middlesbrough city centre, giving particular consideration to those areas identified for physical intervention in Recommendation H. This is an essential early action and will include identification of key ownerships and an action plan for assembly.


    Identification of best value model Special Purpose Vehicle for Council property assets and, critically, Project Delivery within the city centre. A SPV provides the opportunity to attract private partnership / investment and is deemed a favourable delivery mechanism by ONE. This is also an essential early action.


    Identification of demand for increased housing supply in city centre locations, taking into account the potential for high-end residential, private ownership, apartment development and student accommodation. This will not consider new residential supply at Middlehaven. This should dovetail with work to prepare the LDF evidence base.


    Completion of a Vacant and Derelict Properties Strategy for the city centre


    Development of a detailed profile of location, history, condition, status and strategic priority of all vacant and derelict properties within the city centre boundary.


    Engagement with key private owners with a view to facilitating / influencing end uses for vacant and derelict properties. In particular, productive engagement with Jomast in relation to Church House. Albert Road and Exchange Square. This is an early priority action.


    Ensure the delivery of best value on Middlesbrough Council property assets, including financial return and economic benefit.


    Ensure that Council assets are utilised to deliver key strategic city centre projects with economic and physical benefits. This Strategy is closely aligned to ensuring the optimum model of SPV. The ability to demonstrate best value and additionality will be critical to attracting funding from ONE.


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    Core Recommendation C: Use of Planning Powers Recommendation

    Fit to Objective Key Actions Reference

    Ensure a sequential approach is rigorously applied to applications for retail, leisure and commercial development. It is essential that, in recognition of the city centre as the key economic driver in the City Region, new development enhances the range and mass of activity required to achieve this.


    Adopt a planning policy for Middlesbrough that ensures a sequential approach to retail, leisure and commercial uses is applied to the favour of sites within the city centre boundary.


    Seek to influence the limitation of out-of-town and commercial consents within neighbouring authorities and local catchment


    Engage with neighbouring authorities and seek to exert influence in terms of the limitation of planning consents for out-of-centre retail, leisure and commercial uses.


    Active promotion of the city centre as the preferred location for development.

    Implementation Adoption of the Town Centre Strategy as representative of Middlesbrough Council’s approach to d