Frustrations as council ‘held to ransom’ over future of Seaton Carew eyesore

Longscar Centre, Seaton Carew. Picture by FRANK REID
Longscar Centre, Seaton Carew. Picture by FRANK REID
29
Have your say

Councillors have expressed their frustration at a lack of action on efforts to buy a derelict seafront building.

Hartlepool Borough Council says talks are continuing with the owners the former Longscar Hall, in Seaton Carew, to try to buy it.

We are held to ransom in many respects and have to react every time the owner does or doesn’t do something.

Damien Wilson, the council’s assistant director of regeneration

In March, the council approved preparatory work to use compulsory purchase powers to buy the site, subject to talks with the owners to come to an agreement without the need for a CPO.

The former amusement arcades and Coastliners nightspot, on The Front, is in an area of Seaton Carew that is due to undergo a major revamp as part of a Seaton Masterplan.

The issue was raised by members of the council’s Regeneration Committee when it last met on Friday.

Councillor Alan Clark, who represents Fens and Rossmere ward, said: “It just seems to be dragging on and on.

“I think the people of Hartlepool, and certainly Seaton Carew, deserve better than what’s going in at the moment.”

Committee chairman, Coun Kevin Cranney added: “Seaton was always the jewel in the crown of Hartlepool and that’s a blight.”

Officer Damien Wilson, the council’s assistant director of regeneration, said the efforts to buy the building had been affected by recent work carried on the building by the owners.

He said: “We have had to shift our approach to recognise we need to do our homework to prove the building isn’t viable.”

Mr Wilson added: “We are held to ransom in many respects and have to react every time the owner does or doesn’t do something.

“The rules are stacked in favour of the landowner as opposed to the local authority. We have got to make sure we do everything right legally.”

An update on the Seaton regeneration plans will go to the committee on Friday.