THE owners of an eyesore building that looked set to be demolished have unveiled ambitious plans to transform the site into a hub of restaurants, pubs and arcades.
The Longscar Centre has stood empty and blighted Seaton Carew for a number of years, leading to calls from various councillors and resident representatives for the building to be flattened.
But now the building’s owners Barry and Terrence Wilkinson, of Capanac Leisure, say they have settled a dispute between themselves regarding the future of the derelict site and hope to turn the building into a thriving business hub.
Under their new plans, they say a restaurant will be opened overlooking the sea and various units inside the building will be turned into takeaways and bars.
Nine first floor apartments will also be available for rent.
The plans are in the very early stages, and the brothers are still yet to seek planning permission.
But Barry, who lives in the Park Road area of Hartlepool, revealed he is hoping work will be underway on the site as early as August this year.
The building looked set to be flattened after Hartlepool’s full council agreed for money from the sale of land off Elizabeth Way to be used to help to buy and demolish Longscar Centre, as reported in the Mail last year.
Officers said at the time they were still in negotiations with the owners to secure the site by agreement but a compulsory purchase order could be used, if necessary.
But Barry told the Mail: “We have only ever received one offer from the council and it was nowhere near enough for us to think about selling it.
“The reason the building has stood empty for so long is because of a dispute between me and my brother, which has now been settled.
“What we want to do now is get to work on these plans.
“I have been going round the town looking for interest from tenants and the response has been good, they have been very keen.
“We will offer a moderate rent charge, it’s in a great position in a seaside town, the plans have real potential.”
A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “We can confirm that representatives of the owners of the building have had discussions with the council.
“This site has been identified by the council as a key priority in the ongoing effects to breathe new life into the resort and forms part of the Seaton Carew Masterplan.
“It is important that any improvement or re-development of the building compliments the council’s aspirations for Seaton Carew.
“It would also be subject to the necessary planning approvals.”