Councillors have agreed to use compulsory purchase powers to force the sale of an eyesore building.
Hartlepool Borough Council says the clearance of the Longscar Building is a key part of its plans to regenerate Seaton Carew.
Members of the authority’s Finance and Policy Committee approved the compulsory purchase order (CPO) for the site after all efforts to buy it by agreement have failed.
The building has stood empty for a number of years. The council says it occupies a prominent position on The Front overlooking the sea and its demolition is a key element of the Seaton Carew Masterplan blueprint for the regeneration of the popular seaside resort.
Damien Wilson, the council’s Assistant Director (Regeneration), said: “Given the Longscar Building’s adverse impact upon the sea front and commercial area of Seaton Carew, action is required to acquire the property so that it can be included within the regeneration proposals.
“The inclusion of the Longscar Building is considered paramount to the success of any regeneration scheme and its clearance will represent a step change in the appearance, amenity and vitality of The Front.”
The regeneration proposals for The Front are in three phases with the clearance of the Longscar Building site part of the first phase.
Mr Wilson added: “It is unlikely that the site of the Longscar Building will be acquired by agreement within a timescale that meets the development programme.
“It is envisaged that once the building has been acquired there will be a 12-month development period to undertake demolition and construct the phase one works.”
Seaton Carew resident Graeme Measor, who has previously pressed the council to take action, said: “It is disgraceful it has been left derelict for such a long time but I’m thrilled the council is going to compulsory purchase it. The next question is what it will be turned into.”
He said he would like to see a new indoor swimming pool that would create jobs and attract visitors all year round.