PLANS have been revealed to transform Middlesbrough town centre, amid a growing campaign to persuade the government to move hundreds of civil service jobs from London to Middlesbrough.

Ashall Projects – the company behind the Centre Square office development – is putting forward new proposals which will transform Middlesbrough town centre.

It has unveiled revised plans for three more office buildings, including one which will be seven-storeys high and has a floor space of more than 100,000 sq ft.

This is similar to the combined area of the two existing Centre Square buildings.

The scheme will also create outdoor meeting areas to attract visitors to Centre Square.

There will be a small amphitheatre with sculptural seating, meeting spaces and provision for a digital screen for community events.

The outline planning application for Ashall Projects’ revised masterplan will be submitted to Middlesbrough Council next week and the developer is inviting residents to have their say.

The details of the new Centre Square proposals are being made public amid a growing campaign to persuade the government to move hundreds of civil service jobs from London to Middlesbrough.

Mark Ashall, Director of Ashall Projects, said: “By bringing these plans forward we want to give Middlesbrough the best possible opportunity to secure these jobs in a location which generates the most benefit for the town and we wanted to show that Centre Square can accommodate them.

“Over the past five years our partnership with Middlesbrough Council has delivered the first phase of the Centre Square development on time and on budget, and it’s already achieved its objective of attracting great businesses providing good well-paid jobs. Now is the perfect time for the next stage, to build on this success.

“We believe our plans for new quality, sustainable Grade A offices in Centre Square represent the best option for the Treasury and its staff, and bringing these jobs into the centre of Middlesbrough will maximise the economic return for the town and Teesside.”

Ashall Projects has submitted a planning application to Middlesbrough Council for Six Centre Square: a four-storey office development, with a floor space of nearly 47,000 sq ft, on a vacant site in Melrose Street.

In the revised masterplan, there would be an adjacent building – also over four-storeys and with a floor space of 37,500 sq ft.

The pair would provide a stronger connection between Borough Road and Centre Square.

The fresh proposal sees another four-storey building – with a floor space of just over 18,600 sq ft – to be constructed next to the Law Courts and act as a gateway to the Centre Square development when approached from the A66 and Corporation Road.

The fourth new building – the seven-storey development, would be located in the heart of the development, opposite the Law Courts and one of the existing Centre Square buildings at the far end of the site.

The new offices – with a total floor space of more than 200,000 sq ft – could provide accommodation for the 800 Treasury jobs and a further 1,000 staff employed by other occupiers.

Ashall Projects says the buildings could be delivered within two years, subject to planning permission being granted.

The Centre Square project was launched more than five years ago following a study into the Tees Valley economy by the think tank The Centre for Cities.

It found that in the centre of Middlesbrough there was a smaller proportion of well-paid so-called “knowledge intensive business jobs” compared to places like Leeds.

Middlesbrough was also over-reliant on retail.

Centre for Cities research has consistently shown that an increased concentration of these types of jobs in the centres of towns and cities has led to increased levels of innovation and productivity and additional economic activity.

This has led it to conclude that moving the Treasury North jobs into the centre of Middlesbrough would maximise a wider impact and benefit in the area.

This would happen through generating town centre re-development – with the next phase of the Centre Square project – and increasing footfall as the office workers support the high street and local businesses.

There would also be an additional demand for the Teesside public transport network whose hub is in Middlesbrough.

Ashall Projects was granted outline planning permission in 2017 for five office buildings, which would accommodate 1,500 employees.

The revised plan will see one additional new building.

Since then, the development has become the established Grade A office hub for Middlesbrough and the region.

Mr Ashall said: “This is all happening despite the impact on the economy of the pandemic and demonstrates that there is demand from employers for quality office space which is adaptable and sustainable and offers great value for money.

“Space, which delivers a great working environment with easy access to amenities and public transport where people want to work, helps employers achieve one of their key objectives – to attract and retain quality staff.

“The additional buildings covered by our new application will enable us to build on what has already been achieved and accommodate further significant office requirements and bring jobs to Middlesbrough whether that is Treasury North, other government requirements or more private sector employers.

“Throughout this project we have worked very closely with the council and – by bringing forward our plans – we want to provide it with a feasible, practical and attractive option as it does all it can to bring Treasury North to Middlesbrough.”

Andy McDonald, MP for Middlesbrough, said: "These are fabulous new proposals for Centre Square from Ashall Projects. The commitment shown to Middlesbrough by Mark Ashall and his team in recent years has been superb but this takes that expression of confidence to another level. Not only is this a hugely positive and attractive proposition, but it is also extremely timely given the Government’s deliberations about where to locate the Northern Campus and with it up to 1,000 Whitehall jobs.

"This plan provides all the Grade A, top-quality accommodation for the number of civil servants that Chancellor Rishi Sunak is looking for, with capacity to spare. And what is critically important is that these plans are ready to go. There can be nowhere in the north of England more ready than Middlesbrough. The spin off for our shops, restaurants, cafes and bars, for our hotels, indeed the whole economy, would be massive and would be an extremely welcome boost.

"The Boro Bid is an extremely strong one. Not only would this provide superb employment opportunities for the people of the Tees Valley, but also anyone relocating to come and be part of our community would be so warmly welcomed and they would readily see just what a beautiful part of the world we live in.

"Such an investment would be transformational for Middlesbrough and I would urge the Chancellor, a close neighbour, whose own constituents commute into Middlesbrough in great numbers, and know just how important it is to support its economy, to take this opportunity and demonstrate that the Government really mean it when they say they want to 'level up' and 'build back better'.

"Come on Rishi! Back the Boro Bid!"

You can view the new plans for Centre Square – and leave your comments – at