Stockton 'riverside park' plan to replace shopping centre
A "riverside park" is planned for a Teesside town which has been accused of "turning its back on the river".
Stockton Borough Council wants to replace the Castlegate Shopping Centre and Swallow Hotel with open green space.
The move follows a public consultation after the council paid £13.8m for the two buildings.
New council headquarters would also be built on the site, bringing staff into two offices instead of 10 ageing ones.
Some of the funding would come from the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA), and council bosses are also hoping for a further £21m for the wider revamp from a bid to the government's Future High Streets Fund.
Councillor Nigel Cooke, cabinet member for regeneration and housing, said there had been strong public support for getting rid of the sites to make the most of the River Tees, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service .
He added: "We all enjoy reminiscing about the golden era when every town had a big department store but we can't turn back the clock.
"We need to take the bull by the horns and get on with reshaping Stockton for the modern age.
"If we do nothing we'll just see a growing number of empty shops.
"Stockton has been accused of turning its back on the river over the years. It's the logical thing to do."