Flats for historic building

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A FORMER landmark hotel is set to be transformed into nine new flats if plans get the go-ahead.

Hartlepool Borough Council owns the Grade II listed Market Hotel building, in Lynn Street, which has been empty for several years after the closure of a restaurant business which ran from the building in 2007.

In November that year police uncovered a £500,000 drug farm inside the former hotel, then known as M.A.S. Agraa Palace Indian restaurant.

The landmark building already has two flats but the new plan is to convert the rest of the building into seven other flats.

There had been plans to demolish the former hotel, which has also been on the market for sale, as part of a housing redevelopment scheme but English Heritage rejected proposals to flatten the building.

A design statement said: “The site is the existing Market Hotel, which is a grade II listed building.

“The building has been vacant for some time, previously being a public house and restaurant with two flats above.”

It added: “The building has stood empty for some time despite several attempts to sell the property.

“To secure a long term future for the building, including its future maintenance, it was decided to look at the possibility of converting the building into self-contained flats with funding from Hartlepool Borough Council’s empty homes initiative.”

Fourteen new two-storey houses have been built on land in nearby Charles Street and it was originally planned to build more houses on the site of the hotel.

The council paid £130,000 for the hotel in October 2009.