Decision over land sale made

Damien Wilson
Damien Wilson

PLANS to use funding from the sale of a council plot of land to help buy and demolish an eyesore building as part of wider regeneration plans have been backed.

Hartlepool Borough Council is selling land off Elizabeth Way, adjacent to Seaton Carew Nursery School, in order for Dunelm Homes to build 35 new houses on the site which currently houses the sports hall, youth centre and caretaker’s house.

Councillors have now backed plans for money from that sale to be used to help buy and demolish the empty Capanac Leisure-owned Longscar Centre, as part of the regeneration scheme.

Officers said they are still in negotiations with the owners to secure the site by agreement but a compulsory purchase order (CPO) could be used, if necessary.

A report by Damien Wilson, assistant director of regeneration, said: “Approaches and negotiations are ongoing with the current owners to purchase by agreement before any other means of acquisition are considered.”

Conservative group leader Ray Wells said the building had “blighted” Seaton and questioned why the council was approaching a “softly, softly approach?”

Mr Wilson, who described it as a “difficult and very complicated” process, said CPO can only be used once every other avenue has been exhausted.

Independent councillor Paul Thompson described the building as an “eyesore” and said it was damaging the resort’s reputation.

The finance and policy committee agreed the plans - subject to full council approval in September - and the rest of the money from the confidential sale will go towards the development of community facilities within Seaton.

The council is working with the Esh Group on the multi-million pound regeneration plans.