Eyesore building finally bulldozed

Durham County Councillor Audry Laing at the site of the former drop in centre, Peterlee
Durham County Councillor Audry Laing at the site of the former drop in centre, Peterlee

Councillors are delighted an eyesore building on Tesco-owned land in Peterlee has been demolished – and hope it will herald further progress.

The portable cabin, known as the Pop-in, opposite the Peterlee Lodge Hotel, in Burnhope Way, served the community for 40 years, providing hot meals to locals.

It closed in 2007 but became a dangerous eyesore and target for arsonists.

Durham county councillor for Peterlee East, Audrey Laing, who served meals to the elderly at the Pop-in, has campaigned for the past 18 months for action on the grot spot.

She is now delighted that Tesco has pulled the building down. The Labour councillor said: “It’s been an eyesore for quite some time, but we couldn’t really do anything as we had the disadvantage of not knowing who was taking on the land.

“I have been fighting the cause for quite some time with the planning department and Tesco to try and resolve getting it brought down.

“We are absolutely delighted we haven’t got a blot on the horizon any longer.”

Despite calls for the derelict East Durham College nearby to be demolished, Tesco said such a move would cut off mains power to the adjoining library.

A Peterlee Town Council spokesman said the town council is committed to supporting improving Peterlee’s retail sector while creating much-needed jobs and investment, as well as improving the “unsightly and prominent” site.

The council says it is important that an early agreement is secured to ensure the development proceeds in a way that maximises the benefits to the people of Peterlee.

Council leader Coun Bill Jeffrey said: “We urge both Tesco and the county council to work together to make sure that this much-needed project is delivered as soon as possible.

“In the meantime, we will be asking Tesco, who have control of the site, to tidy up the area and make it more attractive for residents and visitors alike.”

Tesco has announced it plans to downsize the proposed store for the site.