September 10, 2008

Barrage Land Developer Search ; The Journal Commercial Property

THE search is on for a developer to bring regeneration land around the pounds 55m Tees Barrage in Stockton to life.

The vision for the land is to make the area around the barrage a "dynamic hub" for water-based tourism with new activities and facilities including a marina.

Ambitions for the largest of the three sites, at 9.8 acres, involve creating a major food and drink outlet, a small hotel, a water based leisure attraction, water sport/marine showroom units and residential/live work units.

The second piece of land, at 6.4 acres, is said to have the potential to become a tidal marina along the line of the old River Tees which meets the main river corridor.

The site has been identified as a possible base for the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust's visitor centre and office headquarters and workspace.

The third site, also 6.4 acres and currently a car park, has been earmarked to create a major play facility which would appeal to families, as well as upgrading the parking facilities.

Leading the search for a developer is the Stockton Middlesbrough Initiative (SMI), on behalf of its partners which own and manage the land - British Waterways, Stockton Council, English Partnerships and the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust. Les Southerton, project director at SMI, said: "We have an outstanding setting here at the Tees Barrage and we need to exploit it to attract new investment and more visitors to the area.

"With the white water course and all of the other water sports already taking place on the river, we have a great base on which to build an outstanding leisure location."

The river and countryside around the Tees Barrage has already undergone a total transformation in recent years from its industrial past, with visitors seeing seal colonies, enjoying salmon and trout fishing, and walking through nature reserves.

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