Executive housing plan for former ambulance site

former ambulance centre
former ambulance centre

COUNCIL chiefs could buy a former ambulance station as part of wider plans to sell a large plot of land for executive housing.

Hartlepool Borough Council is considering buying the former station at Briarfields, off Elwick Road in Hartlepool, and sell the site for a new plush housing development.

In order to get the maximum return, officers want to sell that plus the adjacent council-owned land as one package.

Senior councillors will meet on Monday to discuss the proposals for the Briarfields estate.

Confidential terms have been provisionally agreed with the North East Ambulance Service, which has owned the station since the 1960s.

A business case has been prepared but a decision is needed by March.

A report by Dave Stubbs, director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, said the former ambulance site is adjacent to one of the council’s “most valuable” development sites at Briarfields.

The council-owned field is not currently used for anything, while the ambulance station hasn’t been used for a number of years.

The station site includes a two-storey detached building, a single-storey storage building and a detached derelict house.

Those buildings could still be redeveloped, but further details are expected to be discussed at the meeting.

Mr Stubbs said: “The ambulance service wish to dispose of their property and discussions have taken place regarding a purchase of the property by the council.

“The purpose of the acquisition would be to incorporate the property into the council’s site and thus to be able to offer the two properties together to the market.”

Mr Stubbs, who is expecting strong developer interest, added that there is “no doubt” the three-and-a-half acre site can be used for a “high quality residential development”.

In recent years Briarfields House, Briarfields Lodge and a large house plot between them have all been sold, leaving the large field.

Briarfields House was a privately-owned property until purchased by the council in 1953 and turned into an old people’s home.

It later provided accommodation for people with learning difficulties before closing down more than a decade ago.

The plans are part of the council’s strategy to buy land for resale where there is a sound business case and no financial risk to the local authority.

It is planned to buy the ambulance station using money from the sale of the land which would mean using existing capital money until the land is sold.

Mr Stubbs added: “The council need to be far more creative in relation to considering wider opportunities to generate capital receipts and influence future development.”

Cabinet members are asked to approve the business case to buy the former ambulance station.

The committee will meet on Monday, January 23 at 9.15am at the Northern Lights Academy, at St Hild’s School, in King Oswy Drive.

The meeting will be held there because Mayor Stuart Drummond wanted to take the cabinet committee out into the community, as previously reported.