Ex-library site sold for homes

Foggy Furze library
Foggy Furze library

A FORMER library could make way for a new housing development after council bosses agreed to sell the site.

Hartlepool Borough Council received interest in the Foggy Furze Library site, in Stockton Road, from six different organisations after it was put up for sale earlier this year.

Council bosses have not revealed who the site is set to be sold to or for how much as they have not yet exchanged contracts with the preferred developer.

The popular library closed its doors at the end of March due to council budget cuts.

All of the library stock was removed when the building – which served the local community for 60 years – closed its doors, saving the local authority £47,536.

The site has been earmarked for new housing, subject to the granting of planning permission.

It is not known at this time the scale of the proposed development.

Labour councillor Robbie Payne, cabinet member for finance and procurement, approved the sale to the preferred tenderer at a recent meeting.

A council spokesman said: “The council received six tender bids for the land at Foggy Furze and we can confirm that a major company has been selected as the preferred developer.

“However, contracts have not yet been exchanged so it would not be appropriate at this stage to reveal who the preferred developer is.

“The council is anxious to conclude the deal at the earliest possible opportunity so that the site can be re-developed.”

The spacious Victorian building is currently being used by property management firm Ad Hoc, which signed a deal with the council to look after the site while the local authority decided what to do with the building.

There are people currently living in the library paying just £45 a week but they sign a rolling monthly contract with a two-week written notice period.

Tenants are called “guardians” and the idea is that by living there they deter thieves and vandals from targeting empty buildings.

The council pays for all utility bills, rates and essential repairs.

Council bosses say it has been cheaper than paying a security firm to provide protection for the empty building.