A COUNCIL is yet to buy a derelict retail site – but plans for the site are expected to be revealed within weeks.
Hartlepool Borough Council is considering buying Jacksons Landing, on Hartlepool Marina, and then selling the land on for redevelopment.
The building has been empty since July 2004 and talks have taken place with a number of interested developers.
Last year the council entered into a “lock-out” agreement with the owner Schroders to give it time to produce a feasibility study and work with potential developers.
If the sale does go through, two thirds of the site could be redeveloped for housing and the rest for commercial use.
Mayor Stuart Drummond spoke about Jacksons Landing after a question from independent councillor Geoff Lilley, at the State of the Borough Debate, held at Hartlepool Sixth Form College, in Blakelock Road.
The rumoured sale figure is around the £2m mark.
Council bosses have so far refused to say how much they plan to pay for it but Mayor Drummond said it was a “lot less” than £2m.
Mayor Drummond said: “We have got a number of interested parties to come up with a joint scheme to bring the site back into use in some shape or form.
“It won’t cost the council a penny and we will try to make a surplus and reinvest that in other services.
“That is nearing completion and hopefully in the next couple of weeks we can come out and say exactly what the plan is.”
He added the process had taken longer than originally anticipated.
If there is a cost to the council then cabinet and full council would need to review their position.
Councillors gave their backing to buy the building – which was valued at £10m before the credit crunch – at a full council meeting last year.
The Mayor also confirmed town leaders are still waiting to hear whether Spanish wind firm giants Gamesa would choose the town as the site for a factory to make turbines, creating 800 direct jobs.
He told the audience: “I was hoping to have an answer by today but we are still waiting.”
Mayor Drummond said if the Spanish firm opted for the town it could be the “hook” for other renewable energy industries to come to Hartlepool.
He was also asked what the latest situation was regarding the Carr Street and Hopps Street housing market renewal (HMR) programme.
The council has been awarded £2m from the government, which it must match fund, in order to demolish the 207 houses.
Mayor Drummond said money is earmarked in next year’s budget to issue Compulsory Purchase Orders on the remaining houses not under council-ownership.
The remaining residents could then be moved out “as quickly as possible”.
Streets included in the HMR scheme include Carr Street, Rodney Street, Richardson Street, Hopps Street, Blake Walk, Jobson Street and Hart Lane.
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