Hotel plans delayed

THE future of a landmark hotel remains in the balance after civic leaders deferred plans to sell it so further talks on its future could be held.

The Grade II listed former Market Hotel, in Lynn Street, was put on the market last September by Hartlepool Borough Council to see if there was any interest in the site.

So far just one bid has been received by council officers and Labour councillor Robbie Payne had met to discuss whether or not to sell the derelict site.

But Coun Payne, portfolio holder for finance and procurement, deferred the report to allow further talks with the unnamed bidder over their plans for the former hotel.

Council officers say that if the site was sold then it would probably be used for retail or residential use.

A report said the proposed buyer has experience of refurbishing run-down properties and the renovation could be finished within 18 months of purchase.

Regeneration bosses had planned to demolish the council-owned building as part of a housing redevelopment scheme in the area.

But their plans were rejected by English Heritage due to the building’s listed status and they also wanted to make sure that all avenues of finding a viable use for it had been explored.

That meant civic leaders had to put the hotel on the market to see if there was any interest before it could be demolished.

The financial details of the bid have not been released for confidentiality reasons and the hotel was marketed without a guide price.

The small piece of land next to the building would also be included in any sale and any alteration to the building would need listed building consent.

It has also been agreed that the council could enter into an “option agreement” with the proposed buyer for six months to allow them to develop their proposals and get planning permission.

New houses have been built on land in nearby Charles Street and it was originally proposed to build more houses on the site of the hotel.

But bosses at English Heritage rejected the application for the hotel, which the council paid £130,000 for in October 2009 using Homes and Communities Agency funding.

Yuill Homes has built the 14 two-storey homes in Charles Street and housing association Housing Hartlepool is managing the properties.

In November 2007 police uncovered a £500,000 drug farm inside the former hotel.