Plans for 200 Seaton homes

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A SEASIDE resort could be in line for up to 200 new homes as part of major regeneration plans.

The properties form part of a £5m improvment first announced last week for Seaton Carew.

The plans could see between 72 and 138 homes built in Coronation Drive, 36 in Elizabeth Way and 42 homes on part of the old fairground site off The Front.

Senior councillors have backed the plans and appointed the Esh Group, one of the North-East’s biggest construction firms, as the preferred developer.

Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond said the move could see Seaton Carew look forward to an “exciting” a period or redevelopment, despite the economic downturn.

Independent councillor Cath Hill, who represents the Seaton ward, said: “I am absolutely delighted with this.

“It seems a very exciting project and the initial response that myself, and ward colleagues, have been getting has been generally positive.”

Labour councillor Robbie Payne said he was always concerned with regeneration plans like this that homes are built before the community and leisure facilities.

The gross value of the identified sites could be £7m which could provide £5m for regeneration including the demolition of the privately owned Longscar Centre, which has stood empty for several years.

The site could then be redeveloped with small commercial units with flats above to create a market square feel allowing space for markets or public events.

But Coun Hill said she did not want to see any large buildings on the Longscar site if it was redeveloped.

She said: “Anything that impedes the view of the sea front and the beach is a bad idea.”

Mayor Stuart Drummond said: “We need to acquire the Longscar site first and we have tried for years.

“These plans will give us an outcome that will be looked favourably upon if we go for a compulsory purchase order through the courts.

“I strongly suggest we start that in earnest now.”

He added: “Despite the recession, Seaton Carew can look forward to an exciting few years of development.”

Other suggested improvements in the wider area include a performance space, children’s play facilities, including interactive water play facilities, beach huts and seating areas.

A contribution would also be made towards the next phase of boosting Seaton’s sea defences from Station Lane southwards to the sand dunes.

Regeneration chiefs have stressed that the proposals are at an early stage and the potential regeneration could change.

Independent Seaton ward councillors Paul Thompson and Mike Turner have also praised the scheme.

Officers will now work with the Esh Group and come back to a future cabinet committee meeting with a draft scheme after a detailed analysis and market assessment of the sites.

All of the proposals will be subject to a consultation exercise with residents and businesses in the new year.