Dismay at mansion plan delay

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PLANS to transform an arson-hit historic mansion into new homes look set to be delayed.

Developers want to partially demolish Tunstall Court (above), in the Ward Jackson Park area of Hartlepool, and create 16 new homes in the main building, along with 12 executive-style detached houses in the grounds.

Owner Ruttle Property Holdings has submitted plans to Hartlepool Borough Council and a three-month consultation period has been carried out, but officers have called for changes to be made to the plans.

Conservative councillor Ray Wells, who represents the Park ward, said: “I am extremely disappointed and annoyed that we are having to go back out to consultation on a part of the building that isn’t even visible.

“There has been less than a handful of objections from neighbours but there have been objections from societies, such as the Victorian Society of London, that are not affected on a day-to-day basis by the problems associated with the building, unlike the people I represent.”

Once the changes, which relate to the rear of the main building, are submitted then further consultation is needed before the plans go to the planning committee.

The front of Tunstall Court would be kept intact.

Coun Wells labelled the building, which has been hit by more than 30 fires in the last five years, a “deathtrap”.

The latest incident came on Tuesday, March 1, when arsonists broke in and set a pile of rubbish on fire inside the main building.

Coun Wells added: “The vast majority of residents are overwhelmingly in favour and I can only sympathise with them because these problems have been going on far too long.”

Coun Wells, who sits on the planning committee, will declare an interest when it comes to the planning committee, but reserve the right to speak as a ward councillor.

A council spokesman said: “The current application is still pending and should any revisions to the plan be brought forward by the developer then a further period of consultation would be required.”

Originally built for the Furness shipbuilding family, Tunstall Court was taken over by the council who used it as a training venue before selling it in 2005.