Country’s “cheapest flat” is given a makeover

HOW IT LOOKED: The bedroom of the flat in Derby Street Hartlepool before its refurbishment
HOW IT LOOKED: The bedroom of the flat in Derby Street Hartlepool before its refurbishment
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A ONE-bedroom Hartlepool flat that was one of the cheapest properties in Britain has been given a makeover by housing chiefs.

The run-down first-floor pad in the town’s Derby Street went on the market earlier this year with a rock bottom guide price of just £2,500.

It was bought at auction by Hartlepool Borough Council for £13,000 as part of the town’s scheme to tackle empty properties.

The flat is now ready to be rented out after it was given a £25,000 makeover which has included being fully redecorated, rewired, new central heating, a new kitchen and new bathroom.

The Mail was given a tour of the flat before it went up for auction when it was full of damp and attracting national headlines.

Lawrie Stewart, director of Auction House Tees Valley, said it was the cheapest property he had seen in Hartlepool.

Amy Waller, the council’s principal housing and regeneration officer, said: “The auction guide price attached to this property reflected that fact that it was particularly run-down and in urgent need of improvement.

“We were pleased to secure it at the auction and now that it has been refurbished the flat which will cost approximately £56 a week to rent, will meet a vital need for one-bedroom properties in Hartlepool.” Hartlepool’s £5.8 million Empty Property Purchasing Scheme is funded jointly by the council and the Homes and Communities Agency.

It aims to refurbish empty and run-down properties before they can become an eyesore for their neighbourhood.

The empty homes scheme has a target of bringing 100 properties back into use by next March.

Around 70 properties have been acquired so far and they are managed by Housing Hartlepool on behalf of the council.

Councillor Robbie Payne, chair of the council’s regeneration services committee, said: “This property has been completely transformed and it highlights the tremendous impact that the Empty Homes Purchasing Scheme is having on the town.”

Anyone interested in renting the Derby Street flat should contact Barbara Brown or Trina Featherstone at Housing Hartlepool on (01429) 525381.

Landlords with an empty property who are interested in the Empty Homes Purchasing Scheme may contact Martin Spaldin at the council on (01429) 523288.