An organisation committed to protecting the artitectural heritage of Hartlepool has questioned a developer’s ambition to bring a derelict town centre landmark back into use.
Hartlepool Civic Society says it supports Jomast’s plans to turn the former Wesley chapel into a hotel but say its commitment appears to be “wavering”.
It is after a lack of activity for over a year to the 1872 Grade II listed building which has fallen into further disrepair with numerous broken windows and the front doors becoming more worn.
But Jomast says it is working behind the scenes to find a suitable operator and is confident the hotel plan will be a success.
Brian Walker, a trustee of the civic society, said: “Hartlepool Civic Society have always considered this to be one of the architectural treasures which lift the town centre out of the mundane.
“The building has permission for conversion into a hotel, if done well, imagine staying in such a splendid building and wedding parties once again being photographed on the steps of that magnificent portico.
Jomast is committed to restoring this building and bringing it back into useStuart Monk, managing director
“We support the owner’s ambitions to give this building a positive future but are very worried that there appears to be little if any movement and their commitment to delivering this boost to Hartlepool’s culture and economy is wavering.”
Stockton-based Jomast has planning permission to convert former church and nightclub in Hartlepool town centre into a hotel and restaurant.
Workmen were last seen carrying out work inside the building in Wesley Square in March of last year.
Stuart Monk, managing director of Jomast, told the Mail: “Jomast is committed to restoring this building and bringing it back into use in accordance with the approved planning permission.
“We have had some discussions with potential operators and they are ongoing.
“We are confident we can bring a good operator and bring the building into use.
“I think it is a good scheme and a good proposal and it will be a success and benefit to the town in due course.”
Jomast first gained planning approval for a 36-bedroom hotel scheme at the end of 2009.
In 2012, Hartlepool Borough Council approved a new application which increased the number of bedrooms to 49 and made other modifications.