Big things are happening in Middlesbrough – and 2018 looks set to build on a burgeoning sense confidence and momentum.

The signs of inward investment are everywhere to be seen, from a thriving bar and restaurant scene to major leisure and infrastructure developments.

The Investment Prospectus, launched last spring, was a bold statement of Middlesbrough’s city-scale ambitions that has attracted interest from across the country.

Integral to the vision is a thriving city centre – with 21st Century retail, leisure, commercial and night-time economies – with Middlesbrough’s growth a key driver in the wider Tees Valley.

To continue the upward trend, Middlesbrough Council has appointed Michelle McPhee as its Town Centre Manager, and she’s already a familiar face to many of those who work and do business here.

Michelle has 18 years’ experience within regeneration at the Council and has spearheaded many of the business support and economic regeneration initiatives that have helped to protect and develop a bustling and successful town centre.

Key achievements include the hugely successful transformation of Baker and Bedford Streets, the development of Orange Pip Market and the arrival of Bistrot Pierre.

Michelle is also leading the projects to develop Grade A office space in Centre Square and create a city centre Media and Innovation Village.

In her new role she will lead on the strategic development and operational management of the town centre, co-ordinating the Council’s resources and ensuring a dynamic approach that supports stakeholders, investors and entrepreneurs.

Michelle said: “I’ve been proud to play a part in Middlesbrough’s growth over the last few years, and this new role is a chance to help build a truly unique brand and identity.

“Middlesbrough is a fantastic place with a rich heritage and the ambition and vision to create an exciting and prosperous future for itself.

“We’re already hard at work making that vision a reality, and I’ve been enormously encouraged by the enthusiasm and commitment of businesses, retailers and partners in the public and private sectors.”

Over the coming months, Michelle will work with a range of partners to further cement Middlesbrough’s status as the place for shopping, working, urban living and business.

The focus will also be on re-balancing the city centre economy, enhancing the visitor experience and growing the city centre customer base.

She will also work closely with the Council’s events and culture teams on the delivery of events programmes that boost visitor numbers and income generation and create jobs.

Michelle added: “There are challenges, of course, but equally the potential to make a real difference to people’s lives is huge.

“Middlesbrough is on the verge of an amazing new chapter in its history, and I’m looking forward to playing my part in making that happen.”

Kevin Parkes, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Director of Growth and Place, said: “Middlesbrough has fared better than many towns and cities over the last few years, and that is in no small part down to the work of officers like Michelle.

“Her knowledge of the city centre and what makes it tick is second to none, and she combines that with an unshakeable belief in Middlesbrough’s potential.

“In the pivotal role of Town Centre Manager she will help take Middlesbrough to the next level, and a truly exciting new phase in its history.”