COUNCIL plans to buy a derelict retail unit that has stood empty for years have finally been approved.
Hartlepool Borough Council will buy Jacksons Landing, on Hartlepool Marina, at the end of this month in an attempt to regenerate the area.
Councillors gave their backing at a meeting of the full council last night but the confidential sale price has not yet been revealed.
It is understood to be a fraction of the £10m valuation before the credit crunch hit.
Senior officers say they hope to make a “six figure” profit from the move.
The council had initially considered refurbishing the existing building but the plan is to buy the site and sell it on for redevelopment.
That could involve demolition.
But the local authority would have more control over how the site is regenerated and the aspiration is for it to be a mix of residential, hotel, restaurant and bar facilities.
Speaking after the meeting, Dave Stubbs, the council’s director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, said there had been a lot of interest in the site.
He added: “We should see some substantial bids come in.”
Councillor Chris Simmons, Labour group leader, said: “We are taking the initiative to maximise the potential for the site, which has stood derelict for many years.”
Councillor Ray Wells, Conservative group leader, said: “I know of several business contacts who would give their right arm to acquire the site at the price Hartlepool Council has secured.”
He added that he wanted to see the building sold as quickly as possible.
Liberal Democrat leader, Councillor Arthur Preece, added: “If we can trigger regeneration in that area then that is a good thing.”
Earlier this year officers entered into an exclusivity agreement with the owners Schroders to buy the building, which has stood empty since July 2004.
A price was agreed and a deadline set for August 31.
The majority of councillors backed plans to borrow money to finance the deal but five voted against.
They were independent councillors Steve Gibbon, John Marshall, Alison and Geoff Lilley and Liberal Democrat councillor Edna Wright.
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