Council to jointly market sites

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A FORMER church hall and manor house look set to be jointly marketed by regeneration bosses.

Hartlepool Borough Council is proposing to market the former Friarage Manor House and adjoining land together with Morison Hall, both on the Headland, to see if there is any interest.

The council brought Morison Hall, which has stood empty for a number of years, for £60,000 at auction in the summer of 2010 and it is now looking to put the site on the market in order to bring it back into use.

Since buying the building, the local authority has repaired the roof on the arson-hit Morison Hall, boarded up the windows and cleared rubbish from the outside.

Meanwhile, the Friarage Manor House, off Marine Crescent, is a Grade II listed building on a 0.8 hectare site and the aim is to convert the Manor House and bring that back into use.

It is owned by the Henry Smith Educational Trust and Henry Smith Non Educational Trust.

Independent councillor Paul Thompson, cabinet member for finance and corporate services, will meet this week to hear the plans.

A report by Graham Frankland, assistant director resources, said: “The trusts have been working with officers of the council to identify solutions that would achieve the restoration of the Manor House and the redevelopment of the wider site with a bespoke housing development.

“The estates and asset manager has been appointed to market the land and building on behalf of both trusts and it is projected that the properties will be placed on the market in September with a tender closing date in December 2012.”

Marketing costs will be divided between the three parties and the aim is to bring in some innovative packages of development.

The report added: “In a bid to assist the trusts’ to fund the marketing process and to help facilitate the sale of another derelict building in the town it is proposed that the council jointly markets Morison Hall on the Headland at the same time.”

The money raised from the sale of Morison Hall would contribute towards the council’s capital receipt target of £4.5m.

Morison Hall has been labelled an eyesore and featured on Mayor Stuart Drummond’s hit list of derelict buildings that could hamper the regeneration of the town.

The building, in Church Close, also featured on Mayor Stuart Drummond’s list of grot spots across the town.

It has a cellar in the basement, two large meeting halls on the ground floor and there is also a large open area on the first floor with a stage, giving the building a number of possible uses.

The building, which is still fire damaged from an arson attack in 2007, did have plans passed for conversion into six flats but the development never went ahead after permission lapsed.

The portfolio meeting is due to take place on Wednesday, September 12, at 4pm in the Civic Centre.