Consultation on revamp plans plan

Carr Street.
Carr Street.

RESIDENTS are set to be consulted over major plans aimed at regenerating a run-down area over the next three years.

Hartlepool Borough Council is planning to demolish the Carr Street and Hopps Street area of town after successfully applying 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.

Ongoing efforts to regenerate the area were discussed at a cabinet committee meeting and councillors heard the vast majority of the 189 properties are boarded up ahead of demolition.

Residents living in the area say they have to put up with damp, rats and crime, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Now as part of ongoing efforts to transform the area, regeneration chiefs at the council are set to launch a consultation with residents in April.

Damien Wilson, assistant director of regeneration and planning, said half of the houses were under council ownership or agreed for sale.

To date the council has brought 73 properties and a further 20 are owned by partners Endeavour Housing Association, Housing Hartlepool and NDC Trust.

All council-owned properties have been stripped internally and disconnected ahead of demolition.

A report said property owners will be compensated with a package worth 7.5 per cent of the agreed market value.

Meanwhile, tenants will be entitled to a “home loss payment” if they meet certain criteria once the house they live in is brought by the council.

Mr Wilson added those people that need relocating will automatically become a priority on the housing list.

The Central Block has an occupancy rate of just nine per cent and that section is expected to be demolished first when the remaining properties are brought.

Cabinet members endorsed plans to consult with existing residents from April to keep them informed of plans.

There will be a letter drop, drop-in sessions, personal visits and weekly street surgeries.

Mayor Stuart Drummond said: “This has always been a difficult area.

“In the original New Deal for Communities housing plan this was not an HMR site but because of the decline and the will of the residents it was included.

“Because of the change in the housing market and government it nearly fell down the cracks but we had this as a priority area.

“The frustrating thing is the time it takes to get things done and I know it is extremely frustrating for everybody affected.”

Mayor Drummond said the council has a proven track record of doing regeneration schemes correctly and called on people to make the council the “first point of contact.”

Mayor Drummond said individuals can seek independent advice but said the council isn’t out to “shaft anybody”.

He added: “We want this to happen as smoothly and quickly as possible.”

Streets to benefit from the work include Carr Street, Rodney Street, Richardson Street, Hopps Street, Jobson Street and Hart Lane.