Deolition plans approved

PLANS to demolish an eyesore building have moved a step closer after councillors voted to knock it down.

The planning committee of Stockton Borough Council voted in favour of demolishing Billingham House, the former headquarters of ICI.

The council is involved in a legal battle with owner Bizzy B Management which believe the building should be redeveloped.

Middlesbrough-based developers Python Properties want to redevelop the site.

The council pushed ahead with plans to demolish the building after becoming frustrated at a lack of action by the owners.

The site has become the target of vandalism and arson attacks in recent years.

Martin Johnson, a partner at Python Properties, said: “It’s a certainty that we can bring it back into line, create jobs and regeneration.

“It would be fantastic for the regeneration of Billingham, but at the moment we are just not allowed to do it.”

Mr Johnson added that a petition carried out in Billingham by Python Properties collected almost 5,000 signatures in favour of redevelopment.

A two-day judicial review is set to take place at London’s High Court in August to decide the issue.

The council has said any demolition is unlikely to take place until after the legal hearing.