Calls to speed up Â£1.3million development after arson attack at eyesore Hartlepool manor house
A Hartlepool councillor says an eyesore building should be developed as soon as possible after a suspected arson attack.
Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher says the derelict Manor House, on Owton Manor Lane, has been a drain on emergency services resources for a number of years.
Firefighters were called to the site on Monday night when they dealt with a fire, believed to have been started deliberately.
Coun Akers-Belcher, who represents the ward, says the house has also attracted anti-social behaviour and is supporting plans in the pipeline for its redevelopment.
Site owner Mark Garry told the Mail he is ready to demolish the remaining buildings subject to council planning permission.
Mr Garry said he intends to plough up to £1.3million into the site to build 18 new homes.
Coun Akers-Belcher said: “It has been a concern of mine for a long time and have been working as a ward councillor on the issue.
“It has been a spot for anti-social behaviour and my fear is that people have been going into the building.
“It has become very dangerous and is a blight on the community. Sadly, it has fallen into neglect for various reasons.
“For me, the biggest concern is it is a drain on police and fire resources.”
Three fire appliances attended Monday night’s incident at a cost of about £2,000 per appliance.
Damage was caused to the floorboards and the wooden features around the windows.
Gary Crawford, a watch manager at Hartlepool Community Fire Station, said: “We think it has been started deliberately.”
Officers spent two-and-a-half hours at the property before leaving. Thankfully, no one was hurt.
A planning application for demolition of the existing buildings and creation of 18 new homes is awaiting a decision from Hartlepool Borough Council.
Mr Garry said: “I’m looking to put in £1.3million to get these 18 units developed.
“The planning application has been in for about four months. We are hopefully weeks away from getting planning approval and the first order would be to get the site demolished, cleared and ready for construction by July or August.
“The property has been open and exposed and we have had to make it secure.”
The plans are for two, two-bedroom bungalows and 16, two and three-bedroom homes.