Debate on Longscar centre continues to rage

Longscar Centre, Seaton Carew
Longscar Centre, Seaton Carew

A Government appointed planning inspector’s decision not to allow Hartlepool council to buy a neglected building has continued to provoke reaction from Mail readers.

We reported yesterday how inspector John Chase refused to allow the local authority to use Compulsory Purchase Powers to buy and demolish the Longscar building on Seaton Carew seafront.

The council said the removal of the former Coastliners pub, which has been closed for a decade and suffered vandalism, was key to its Seaton Masterplan regeneration project of the seafront area.

It says it is now weighing up its options in the light of the decision which followed a three day inquiry held in Hartlepool in August when the council and owners, the Wilkinson family, put forward their respective arguments.

The owners said they have their own plans to refurbish the building including creating new visitor attractions.

Mr Chase said the issue was “finely balanced”. But he said the forced sale of someone’s property is a draconian measure and the benefit of doubt should be given to the owners.

The issue has provoked plenty of comments on the Mail’s social media accounts.

On Facebook Lauren Dav: “Good. Now the council aren’t going to waste more tax payers money on their ‘visions’.

“Cant afford to pay for services and making cuts left right and centre, but can afford to buy up buildings to knock them down and make ‘visions’.

“Decision’s been made. Council need to move on.”

Leanne Pattison said: “Hopefully the owners will do what they say, it really does bring the sea front down.”

Nicola Craddock said: “Let’s hope no kids go exploring in there and end up hurting themselves.

“The council haven’t done any wrong in trying to get rid of this place for the cheapest possible price.”

Angela Pounder said: “Flatten it spoils the front,” while David Howlett said: “Knock it down its a eyesore.”

Cats Cats said: “I’d like the council to have nothing to do with it personally!...except for to give the owners planning permission!!!”

On the Mail’s website, reader Poolie13 said: “So, who exactly does run this town? The dawdle, dawdle, do nothing council or the owners of the pile of rundown junk called Coasters?

“Hartlepool council need to wake up and stop allowing these buildings to be left in such a bad condition.”

The Longscar building was developed by the council in the 1960s and bought by the current owners in 1987.

It was largely rebuilt in 1990.