Future of Hartlepool’s Tunstall Court to be decided by councillors this week

Tunstall Court in its current state
Tunstall Court in its current state

THE future of a historic mansion house that has been plagued by vandals is set to be decided by councillors this week.

Tunstall Court, near Hartlepool’s Ward Jackson Park, could be completely demolished and replaced with 14 homes if plans by owners Ruttle North East are passed by Hartlepool Borough Council.

Planning permission is due to be decided when the council’s planning committee meets on Wednesday.

The owners, who previously planned to demolish part of Tunstall Court, say the extent of vandalism on the site, from trespassers and arson, has forced them to seek its full demolition.

Completed in 1895, Tunstall Court was obtained by the council after the Second World War for educational purposes and later became a training centre in the 1980s.

The site was transferred into private hands and has stood empty ever since.

Council papers state: “With the levels of maintenance decreasing steadily and notable increases in vandalism and anti-social behaviour, the condition of the court and its grounds has significantly declined.

“Notwithstanding that, a substantial level of the building’s architectural significance remains intact, as does a good level of the historical layout of its grounds.”

The council has received nine letters of objection to the demolition plans and five in support.

Objectors, including Hartlepool Civic Society and English Heritage, say the building should not have been allowed to get into the state it is in where it is too expensive to restore it.

Hartlepool Civic Society describe it as “a valuable, historic and beautiful building” that has been allowed to deteriorate.

And English Heritage say: “The total loss of this important building would cause substantial harm to the significance of the Park Conservation Area.”

But supporters say unless application is approved the site will continue on a downwards spiral to the detriment of local residents and the whole town.

The planning committee is open to the public and takes place in the council chamber at the civic centre at 10.30am.