THE demolition of a town’s shopping centre and historic hotel took a step closer this week.

Hoarding is being installed near the Castlegate Shopping Centre and the Swallow Hotel, in Stockton, to allow for the safe demolition of the two buildings later this year.

Tower Street will be reduced to one-lane with no vehicle access from Bridge Road. A diversion will be in place throughout the rest of the phase one demolition works until November.

Access will be maintained at all times from Riverside Road and all businesses in this area will remain open.

The hoarding will be erected installed around the multi storey carpark, the hotel and shopping centre up to John Walker Square, with work commencing on Monday.

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The Northern Echo: Demolition of eyesore town centre building set to beginDemolition of eyesore town centre building set to begin

The Castlegate’s demolition will take around 12 months to complete before construction on the overhauled riverside area begins in summer 2023. Designed by corrupt architect John Poulson, the Castlegate opened its doors in 1972 – featuring a 150ft food hall and pyramid designs on its ceiling.

Ambitious plans for a £36m waterfront urban park are envisaged to arrive on the High Street in 2025 – with a “land bridge” to the River Tees, office spaces and a new leisure centre to replace Splash at the southern end of the stretch.

Stockton Council took a big stake in both sides of the High Street in 2019 – buying the Castlegate and the former Swallow Hotel for £13.8m and Wellington Square for £7m.

Agreements have been reached with a number of Castlegate businesses as part of a decant onto the opposite side of the High Street.

But council officials confirmed there were still a number of discussions ongoing with some of the remaining tenants still operating in the centre. Firms which would have been affected by the first phase of demolition works have now moved out.

Customer toilets at the shopping hub closed in January to pave the way for the demolition work. Council bosses say the “detailed design” of the riverside site will get underway soon – hinting that they will be “revisiting” some elements of the existing concept, and that the public will have a chance to offer their views once again.

Instead of an authority headquarters on the southern end of the High Street, hundreds of Stockton Council staff are set to move across the river to a base at Dunedin House, Thornaby.

Over the water, Esh Construction will be responsible for the detailed design and construction of the waterfront park.

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