A North East council welcomed national experts to provide advice on the development of the town cultural, creative and tourism industries.

Hartlepool Borough Council (HBC) invited The Historic Places Panel, assembled by Historic England, to visit many of the town historic sites on November 22 and 23.

The panel was welcomed by Sarah Scarr, HBC’s head of heritage and open spaces, at The Town Wall.

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The panel visited the town centre and waterfront to meet representatives from the council including Tony Hanson, director of development, neighbourhoods and regulatory services, Helen Kemp from the Tees Valley Combined Authority, and Maxine Craig, vice chair of the Hartlepool Town Deal Board.

Tom Frater, Regional Director for Historic England in the North East and Yorkshire, said: “This week’s visit to Hartlepool has given us an opportunity to understand better the opportunities and barriers the town is currently facing. 

“We are grateful to Hartlepool Borough Council for inviting us to meet with them and putting together such a comprehensive and interesting itinerary.

"We will be working on a report with a number of ideas and recommendations which we hope to share with the Council in the next few months.”

Ben Derbyshire, Chair of the Historic Places Panel, said: “The panel were hugely impressed by extraordinary range of historic sites close to the centre of Hartlepool as well as the energy and commitment in the borough council and mayoral development corporation to progress regeneration based on these. 

"We will focus in our report on ways to support delivery of positive results.”

They visited Church Street, the National Museum of the Royal Navy, and the site of the proposed High Light leisure centre.

The panel discussed regeneration opportunities that could help restore and build on Hartlepool’s special historic character and grow the creative and visitor economies.

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Councillor Mike Young, leader of HBC, said: “It was a real coup for the borough to attract a group of experts of the calibre of the Historic Places Panel and I think their visit reflects the ambitious regeneration and development plans that we have for the borough.

“We were delighted to show them around the town and to outline some of our plans, and we look forward to receiving their feedback in due course.”

The panel will prepare a report of their findings which will be published later this year.