A Hartlepool council meeting descended into chaos during discussions on the future of Jacksons Landing.
Councillors voted to demolish the former shopping mall on Hartlepool Marina during the meeting at the town’s Civic Centre.
But following discussions and a vote on whether to approve the demolition proposals, the heated meeting had to be adjourned before being reconvened minutes later.
Hartlepool Borough Council bought the site in 2013 for £1.5m with a two-year interest-free loan from a Government growth fund.
The five-acre Jacksons Landing site, which has been empty since 2004, is identified for transformational development in the Hartlepool Regeneration Masterplan.
About £4.75m of Local Growth Funds has been applied for through the Tees Valley Combined Authority for work towards the waterfront area which includes Jacksons Landing.
At a meeting of the authority’s Regeneration Services Committee, Denise Ogden, the council’s director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, put forward the case for demolishing the existing building on the site this September following the popular We Are Family music event which is set to be held there.
“The building has become associated with failure,” said Ms Ogden.
“This plan provides the council with the strategic opportunity to deliver transformational change and growth for the local economy.
“There could be leisure, cultural and hotel uses for the site.
“A development brief has now been created to attract private investors and in fact we are in negotiations with a national hotel developer.”
Member of the public Eric Poritt, who spoke at the meeting, suggested that the site could be used for an educational site for boat building and repair work.
“Skills acquired by the older generation could be passed on, not lost,” said Mr Poritt.
“This plan could attract government funding.”
Independent councillor Paul Thompson told the meeting that he was against the demolition proposals.
“Three years ago when we agreed the purchase I was against it,” said Coun Thompson.
“There was a vision, but there was no plan.
“Here we are three years on looking to demolish it for a vision and not a plan again.
“I can’t bring myself to support it without a credible plan when we have already spent a king’s ransom on buying Jacksons Landing in the first place.”
Resident Fred Corbett argued that he saw no need to demolish the building on the site.
“I can’t understand the rationale,” he said.
“A developer may come along and want that building now. “The council should knock the price of the demolition off the price of the building.”
Chairman of the committee Councillor Kevin Cranney then held a vote on the motion, which was passed by five to one in favour of demolishing the building but retaining its existing large concrete floor plate.
However, Coun Thompson continued to speak as Coun Cranney tried to move onto other items on the agenda.
Coun Cranney then chose to adjourn the meeting for five minutes.
Shouting between councillors and members of the public were heard as the meeting was temporarily halted.
The demolition work is set to cost £40,000 and is due to start on September 19.