Green light for plans to turn historic Hartlepool site into 38 homes

The Friarage Manor House. Picture by FRANK REID
The Friarage Manor House. Picture by FRANK REID

INNOVATIVE plans to transform the site of an historic Hartlepool landmark into 38 new homes have been agreed.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee has given the green-light for plans at the Grade II-listed Friarage Manor House, near Marine Crescent, on the Headland.

The plan is to convert the Friarage building into four separate two-bedroom apartments and to build five terraced town houses, which will front on to Friar Street.

Also, towards the rear of the site, next to the shared boundary with the playing field, the plan is for 10 two-bedroom apartments and one disabled access bungalow.

Meanwhile, a two-storey apartment block will be built towards the south west corner, with 18 apartments.

The building had been marketed together with 1.95 acres of adjoining land and now councillors on the planning committee have agreed plans by the Vela Group.

That was despite objections from the Hartlepool Civic Society, who said: “Although we are pleased that such a historic building as the Manor House is to be restored and re-used we are still concerned with the plans for the new houses.

“We would have expected something more fitting and inspirational for such a historic site in a conservation area - instead of basic ‘estate type’ houses.

“The fact that they are for social housing is irrelevant. An opportunity to provide what could have been a ‘nationally renowned scheme’ will be lost.”

There was also calls at the planning meeting for the Manor House to be used as a visitor centre to benefit the whole community.

At the meeting, Labour councillor Jim Ainslie, who represents the Headland & Harbour ward and is also chairman of the Headland Parish Council, spoke passionately in favour of the proposals.

Coun Ainslie said: “If we do not grasp this opportunity today, no developer will touch the Manor House with a bargepole.

“You can’t always get 100 per cent of what you want and sometimes you have to settle.

“If we miss this chance, it will never come this way again.

“I strongly urge my colleagues to vote to support this application.”

Labour councillors Stephen Akers-Belcher added: “This is the only show in town and I will be voting in favour of it.”

The plans were agreed by six votes to one, with UKIP councillor George Springer voting against.

The Friarage building is the surviving western gable wing of the former Friarage hospital.