The clock tower will be restored to working order, should full approval be given. Credit: Middlesbrough Council

Group Ginger assembles Middlesbrough team

Civic Engineers, Max Fordham, RLB and Planit will work together on plans to restore and repurpose Middlesbrough’s Old Town Hall following a Lottery funding award.

Assembly of the multi-disciplinary professional team marks the latest step forward in what is a major heritage project for Middlesbrough.

Close to £230,000 in development funding has been awarded from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, allowing Middlesbrough Council to hire its advisory team through design specialist Group Ginger.

It is hoped that the Old Town Hall, built in 1846, can be redeveloped to play its part in the regeneration of a historically significant part of the town.

Full funding from the Heritage Fund would allow the building to be repurposed to support the town’s thriving digital and creative sectors.

Following a tender process, Group Ginger has been hired by Middlesbrough Council as the design team to develop plans to renovate the building into flexible spaces for digital startups.

Inspiration is close by for such firms: the site is only moments’ walk from the Boho developments including Boho X, the new 60,000 sq ft office fully occupied by local success story Double Eleven.

As part of the Town Hall project an extension added in the 1970s would be demolished while the clock tower, immortalised by LS Lowry, would be restored to full working order.

The proposed design will be a key component of the Stage 2 application which is due to be submitted in the summer.

Group Ginger has worked on a number of Lottery-funded projects and have extensive experience in adapting and repurposing listed buildings for reuse.

The firm’s lead architect and founder Simon Baker said: “We are thrilled to be working with Middlesbrough Council on this ambitious project to reimagine and reinvigorate the Old Town Hall.

“The transformation from derelict building at risk into an incubator space to support the burgeoning digital and creative sectors will contribute to the social and economic prosperity of the city, restoring the building to its rightful place as a source of civic pride, and securing its future for generations to come.

“We look forward to working with the community during the design process.”

In addition Seven Architecture have been hired to undertake and develop a programme of engagement activity.

The practice is engaging with local groups and education establishments from primary schools to Teesside University, collating historical information, developing a dedicated webpage, launching a photography competition, recording oral histories and undertaking walking tours.

ERS has also been hired to undertake an evaluation of the project, as required by the National Lottery.

Middlesbrough Mayor Chris Cooke said: “It’s great to see this important project take another major step forward.

“The Old Town Hall is a powerful symbol of Middlesbrough’s history and heritage, and it’s vital that we secure its long-term future. I’m delighted that we have the right people on board to give this fantastic building a new lease of life for future generations.”

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