Inquiry date announced to decide future of Seaton Carew’s Longscar site

Former Longscar Centre, Seaton Carew.
Former Longscar Centre, Seaton Carew.

A date has been confirmed for a public inquiry which will decide the future for an eyesore building which blights Seaton Carew seafront.

The Department for Communities and Local Government is in charge of confirming the fate of the Longscar Centre in The Front after Hartlepool Borough Council put together plans to obtain a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to push through the sale of the property.

Objections were received and by virtue of that the Secretary can’t confirm the order.

Peter Devlin

The council wants to knock down the privately-owned building, which has stood unused for several years, with the land part of the regeneration plans drafted up through the Seaton Carew Masterplan.

A date has now been confirmed for the public inquiry, with the notice ahead of the discussions noting the council is aiming at “achieving the promotion and improvement of the economic, social and environmental well-being of the area.”

It has previously been said the inquiry is needed because objections have been made over the council’s CPO bid.

Peter Devlin, chief solicitor of the council, said previously: “Objections were received and by virtue of that the Secretary can’t confirm the order. A public inquiry will be heard this year and we have to await the determination in due course, unless the council can move towards a voluntary acquisition which officers are endeavouring to do.”

The inquiry will be held from Tuesday, August 16, to Thursday, August 18, at Hartlepool College of Further Education in Stockton Street.

The CPO was submitted in November last year under the Town and Country Act and sent to the Government.

If confirmed, it will authorise the council to buy the site.

It aims to redevelop the area, with its proposals including a public realm area, landscaping, leisure and tourism-related facilities to give the area a boost.

The plans, which are also said to include a space for outdoor events and new play areas, have already won the backing of the council’s planning committee.

But the Longscar’s owners have said they have their own leisure plans for it and could be in place soon.

An agent has also said there had been interest from companies wanting to use it as a children’s soft play area, for bingo and an ice cream parlour.

Longsco Ltd was set up in 2014 to refurbish the Longscar Centre and bring it back into use.