A new boutique hotel will ‘encourage tourism’ in the town after it was given the green light by planning bosses.
Hartlepool Borough Council planning committee unanimously approved plans at its meeting to convert the Grade II listed Wilton Grange into a boutique hotel.
The site in Grange Road will have eight en-suite guest bedrooms, function space, along with breakfast rooms, a bar, cocktail lounge, kitchen, restaurant and conference room.
Applicant Dave Atkinson, a local businessman who currently employs more than 90 people across the North East, said at the meeting it would be a positive move for the site.
He said: “We want to restore this wonderful yet old and tired building back to its former glory.
“We’re going to renovate, restore and occupy.
“We’re confident our project will be right for the area.
“We will be a boutique hotel offering fine food and a place that will encourage tourism.
“It’s going to be the next chapter in the life of Wilton Grange.
“We’re looking to make one of the town’s most historic buildings, one of the most desirable places to stay.”
The Grade II listed building was built at the start of the 20th Century by local builder Henry Barnes, and was previously a training school for hospital nursing staff.
Three objections were received ahead of the meeting raising concerns such as ‘further noise and smells to one of the busiest roads in Hartlepool’.
However Mr Atkinson said he aims to address any traffic or safety concerns with the project.
Councillors on the planning committee also voiced their support for the plans and the benefits it would have for the area.
Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher said: “It is an excellent application which I give my support to and wish them well.
“I genuinely hope this is a success, it is exactly what Hartlepool needs.”
Coun Brenda Loynes said: “It’s a lovely building and I wouldn’t like to see it go to wreck and ruin.
“It’s what is needed in the town to encourage tourism, it’s absolutely fantastic.”
The plans will create 16 full-time and 14 part-time jobs at the hotel, and staff will be on site 24 hours a day.
There will also be a car park with 27 guest parking spaces, including two disabled bays, and three staff parking spaces.
The applicant also said the venue would be particularly suited for weddings.
Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service