REGENERATION bosses say major plans to transform a run-down area are progressing with almost half of the houses on the site now under council control.
Hartlepool Borough Council is planning to demolish the Carr Street and Hopps Street area of town and 49 per cent of the 188 houses, the majority of which are boarded up, have been acquired.
Houses are also owned by housing associations Endeavour Housing Association, Housing Hartlepool and NDC Trust.
Residents have previously complained about having to live with problems of damp, rats and crime, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The council’s cabinet committee met to discuss the latest developments and officers said the project is currently within budget.
Since a report to cabinet in March there has been further consultation with tenants and owners.
A report by Damien Wilson, assistant director of regeneration and planning, said: “Since May, 15 properties have been acquired from owners by agreement on the Carr/Hopps Street site.
“Of these five were tenanted and 10 were void properties.
“Tenants were assisted in their relocation, found suitable alternative accommodation and received home-loss payments, if they had been in occupation for a minimum of 12 months.
“A further six owners have agreed sale, two of whom are owner occupiers and four are private rented tenanted.
“Where there is an agreed sale in place the occupants have been provided with regeneration priority on the waiting list and are awaiting suitable accommodation.”
Mr Wilson said the council has received a further 35 valuation requests, of which 16 have been valued with offers issued to owners.
The report added: “Of the 188 properties on the Carr/Hopps Site 49 per cent have been acquired by the council.
“Including the properties owned by housing associations a further 12 per cent of properties have a agreed sale in place and legal instructions issued.
“There is therefore 39 per cent of the site yet to acquire.”
Contact is yet to be made with 38 owners.
Mayor Stuart Drummond asked if the plan was still to remove the Central Block of houses first so at least residents could see some progress.
Mr Wilson said the vast majority of houses in that section had been acquired and the rest will depend on the “goodwill of the landlords”.
Earlier this year, the local authority successfully applied for government funding to help finish the housing market renewal programme (HMR) scheme.
The council was awarded £2m, which they must match-fund for the phased scheme of work.
Streets to benefit from the work include Carr Street, Rodney Street, Richardson Street, Hopps Street, Jobson Street and Hart Lane.
The report added: “All properties acquired by the council have been decommissioned (electricity and gas capped and precious metal removed) and secured.”
As previously reported property owners will be compensated with a package worth 7.5 per cent of the agreed market value.