Council issue legal notice over fire-hit Longscar Centre in Seaton Carew

Council chiefs have told the owners of an eyesore fire-hit building to fix it the flatten it.

Wednesday, 13th March 2019, 4:18 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th March 2019, 4:23 pm
The aftermath the Longscar building fire. Picture by Frank Reid

Action over the Longscar Centre in Seaton Carew remains a ‘priority’ for council bosses and they have moved to issue a legal notice against its owners.

Hartlepool Borough Council regeneration bosses said the building is ‘detracting’ from the £1.3million Seaton Carew regeneration scheme.

The centre, at The Front, was hit by a major fire last year, which was later investigated as suspected arson.

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The former Coaster pub site site has been empty since 2009 and the council has attempted to use a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to take control of the site.

This move was rejected by a planning inspection in 2016 despite the site previously being branded as an ‘eyesore’ by residents.

Rob Smith, principal regeneration officer at the council, said the state of the building remains a priority for the council and they are taking action over the site.

He said: “Following the failure of the CPO we are still regarding it as a priority as it is detracting from all our investment into the area.

“We’ve served a legal notice on the owners recently that gives them the opportunity to either refurbish or demolish the building and there’s a set time scale for that.

“Once that time scale has elapsed we’ll review our options with our legal team. There is quite a lot going on in the background and there are discussions with the owners ongoing.”

He added he could not say how long the discussions would go on for but estimated it would be ‘months’.

The sections of the building worst affected by the blaze in May 2018 were demolished at the time after initial surveys indicated it was unsafe.

Eight fire appliances and two aerial platforms were needed to battle the fire and crews spent 12 hours on the scene of the blaze in Seaton Carew.

Work which has taken place elsewhere as part of the Seaton Carew regeneration scheme includes a leisure park featuring water jets and play equipment for children which opened last summer.

The update came at the Hartlepool Borough Council North and Coastal Community Forum.

The owners of the building were unable to be reached for comment at the time of publication.

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service