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Hartlepool’s Northern Lights Academy to reopen with technical training focus

Northern Lights Academy Northern Lights Academy
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An unused £4.5 million performing arts centre in Hartlepool will open later this year after local councillors agreed to take it over.

It will reopen as a technical training centre for the creative industries.

The Northern Lights Academy was built in 2011 after receiving Department for Education funding via the Big Lottery Fund MyPlace programme.

It contains a 200-seat theatre, two dance studios and a TV and sound editing suite but it has remained unused since its completion.

Original owners the Headland Development Trust, closed in 2011 before the building’s official opening and the Diocese of Durham took over the building.

Hartlepool Borough Council then agreed to take control of the building, mothballing it at a cost of £50,000.

The council announced last year that it was looking for an operator to take the building over, but it has now decided to buy the facility and aims to open it in September.

Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher, who chairs the finance and policy committee, said: “We plan to turn it into a centre of excellence for technical training for creative industries. We will target emerging technologies and industrial growth sectors, including digital media, with a view to developing a supply of suitably skilled and capable young people to form the creative workforce of the future.”

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