Derelict hall could be flats

Denie Ogden
Denie Ogden
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A DERELICT former church hall could be transformed into eight new residential flats under new plans.

Hartlepool Borough Council owns Morison Hall, on the Headland, but is considering transferring the freehold to the New Deal for Communities (NDC) Trust as part of wider plans to bring the building back into use.

The local authority bought three-storey Morison Hall, which dates back to 1892, at public auction in 2010 and the NDC Trust, in conjunction with Vela Group, is looking to renovate it into eight flats.

The council’s finance and policy committee is due to meet later this week to discuss the proposals.

Denise Ogden, the council’s director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, said in a report the site was marketed for sale this summer and informal tenders were invited but none were received.

Mrs Ogden added: “However, throughout the tendering period the NDC Trust have been looking at proposals to redevelop the hall with the hope of securing significant grant funding to deliver a viable refurbishment scheme.

“Hartlepool NDC (New Deal for Communities) Trust are a private limited company and registered charity with the aim of facilitating regeneration within the town.

“One of the trust’s current areas of work is the renovation of empty properties.

“The trust is currently working in collaboration with the Vela Group, who will act as project manager for the works, to deliver a restoration scheme on the building and convert the property into eight residential flat units.”

The confidential terms of the transfer have not been released ahead of the meeting but the Trust anticipates the total cost of their refurbishment scheme is around £850,000.

A grant of £351,000 from the Homes and Communities Agency has already been secured while they have also been awarded an approved grant of £49,000 from the Social Investment Business.

Trust officials are looking to fund the remaining balance of £450,000 through a secured loan from the council to be paid back over 40 years.

The refurbished property will be used as security against the loan agreement between the council and the NDC Trust and the council would have a first charge against the property in order to ensure the council’s investment is protected.

If it went ahead the property would be added to the trust’s small portfolio of properties for affordable rent.

The property is not a listed building, but it is located within the Headland Conservation Area.

Councillors meet on Friday, November 29, at 9.30am at the Civic Centre before the plans go before full council.