MIDDLESBROUGH Council has approved plans for improvement works that are part of a transformation of Captain Cook Square.

The local authority, which was behind the application, is hoping to turn the area into a hub for leisure providers, including a bowling alley and e-sports venue.

As part of the plans for Captain Cook Square, the existing decorative canopy railing, lamp posts and street furniture will be removed in an attempt to declutter the area.

There will be new street furniture installed but with the aim of making the area more open so that events can take place – an artist’s impression of the area shows seats under the canopy around the edge of the square.

Read more: Captain Cook Square in Middlesbrough transformation revealed

The walls below the canopy will also receive a fresh lick of dark grey paint which is expected to emphasise the shop fronts and create a more modern feel.

There will also be updates to the passageway which leads to the multi-storey car park with new decorations and lighting and power supply points will be provided so that market stalls or digital screens could use the space in the future.

In the application, it states: “Even though Middlesbrough town centre has the Tees Valley’s highest concentration of visitor-related facilities and services, it lacks a single vibrant leisure destination to draw visitors.

“Given its strategic location in the heart of the retail core and adjacent strong transport links, Captain Cook Square has the potential to become the town’s key leisure destination.

The Northern Echo: Captain Cook Square is set to be transformed as a regional leisure hub. Picture: Middlesbrough CouncilCaptain Cook Square is set to be transformed as a regional leisure hub. Picture: Middlesbrough Council

“The square itself has the opportunity to become an attractive public space where cultural and family-friendly events may take place. It should therefore be a priority to develop the distinctiveness and character of Captain Cook Square and adapt its offers to draw people into the town centre to stay and spend.”

Lane 7 has submitted a planning application to turn the former TJ Hughes into a bowling alley, alongside a go-kart track and games including ping-pong, pool, shuffleboard or beer pong, and darts or shooting pods.

E-Sports venue The Wired Lobby has also lodged plans with the licensing department to request permission for a new gaming site.

It looks like there could be everything from race simulators to a gaming arena inside the unit.

The venue wants to remain open until 2am in the morning, however, it would be adults only after 9pm and no over-18 rated games would be streamed until after then.

Andy Preston has recently said on Facebook that there will be more exciting announcements about the area coming soon.

It is also hoped that a brewery and a boutique cinema will also take units.

Middlesbrough Council bought Captain Cook Square in July 2020 as part of £9m regeneration plans for the area, funded by the Future High Streets Fund.

Like many towns and cities across the country, the council is currently battling to save the town centre from decline as shops shut their doors for good – the most recent figures revealed that 22.4% of retail fronts are empty in Middlesbrough’s centre.

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