A NEW fast food outlet has created 25 new jobs on the site of an old Hartlepool pub.
Pizza Hut has opened a branch in Catcote Road, on land where The Shakespeare pub used to stand.
Hartlepool Borough Council representatives passed plans for the chain to open on the shopping parade, and yesterday was its first day of trading.
Former Hartlepool United footballer Dimi Konstantopoulos, who now plays for Middlesbrough FC, and singer Samantha Durnan were on hand to open the premises.
The takeaway’s 25-strong team, 21 of who are from Hartlepool and who were all previously unemployed, were delighted to start their first working day.
Hartlepool businessman Jon Whitfield’s company Euro Property Management developed the site and created the unit at a cost of about £800,000, which was followed by Pizza Hut and its partners ploughing a further £180,000 into kitting out the unit.
He said: “I think this completes Catcote Road and we are so pleased to see the finished product.
“There are 25 full and part-time jobs and 21 of those people are from Hartlepool and they were all unemployed.
“It’s a boost for them and a boost for the area and the town.
“I also think it’s important to see national brands coming into Catcote Road and the town as a whole.
“We are often criticised for taking old pubs out but when you look back at the Shakespeare, for example, it probably employed three or four people by the end.
“Now with Pizza Hut and One Stop and others along there, there’s about 60 plus staff there. It’s great news for the staff and the community.”
A spokeswoman for Pizza Hut and RU Hungry, which also invested in the site, said: “The support from the area has been fantastic. The new Pizza Hut Delivery team would like to thank the residents and businesses with some special offers in store.”