Land lease agreed for new civil engineering academy in Hartlepool

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Council bosses have agreed to lease out 12 acres of land for a new civil engineering academy claiming it will provide valuable skills to people in the area.

Hartlepool Borough Council finance and policy committee passed plans to lease the land - to the east side of Brenda Road - to Seymour Civil Engineering for the new academy.

Hartlepool Borough Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher.

Hartlepool Borough Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher.

Council leader Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher said the creation of the site will be ‘a real coup for the area’.

In 2016, the council was approached by Hartlepool College of Further Education and Seymour Civil Engineering with a view to finding a suitable site for a civil engineering academy.

It will provide training in excavation, pipe laying and related skills like site setting, construction and plant demonstrations, as well as storage space.

Councillors on the committee voiced their support for the plans and the potential boost it would provide for the area.

Coun Brenda Harrison said: “I think that anything that brings any kind of education into Hartlepool, where we can actually lead the way in such an area, is fantastic.”

Coun Kevin Cranney said: “It’s important that Hartlepool is at the forefront of construction building in the future.

“If we are going to grow Hartlepool we need to have the town and its residents trained up to meet those demands.”

Council leader Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher said: “To have something like this in our own borough will be a coup for us, and to address that skills shortage that has been identified, it’s good news.”

The lease with Seymour for the land ‘fully reflects market value’ of the site according to council officers, who had recommended the plans for approval.

Denise Ogden, director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, said: “It’s a really great opportunity to address the skills shortage in the Tees Valley on the construction side of things.”

A planning application was submitted for the site - opposite TATA Steel - by Hartlepool-based Seymour last year featuring two training buildings including classrooms, welfare facilities, storage containers.

The plans are still being considered and the grant of the lease is subject to the granting of planning permission.  

For many years the majority of the land has mainly been used for grazing horses, although part was formerly used to train operatives of diggers and similar construction equipment.

It includes ponds and wet areas and the council’s salt barn also adjoins the site.

Hartlepool College of Further Education will be a partner in the running of the academy but will not be a party to the lease.

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service