Hartlepool '˜ghost town' to be transformed with 80 new homes

A housing regeneration scheme will go ahead after councillors agreed to dispose of the land to the chosen developer and provide a financial subsidy.

Tuesday, 22nd March 2016, 5:00 am
Demolition has begun in the Hopps Street area. Picture by FRANK REID

The Carr and Hopps Street Housing Renewal project will see around 200 derelict terraced properties flattened and about 80 new homes for rent built.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s Finance and Policy Committee agreed to progress the development with the chosen developer PlaceFirst.

Councillors also agreed to make an undisclosed financial subsidy to the developer which it says is needed following a site investigation and viability assessment.

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Denise Ogden, director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, said the need for the subsidy was not a surprise after changes to government funding for housing renewal schemes which funds demolition but not regeneration.

Councillor Carl Richardson, said: “For about the last 10 years people in that area have been living in a ghost town and something needs to be done about it.

“This development needs to go forward. It will mean considerable regeneration to the area.”

The council previously earmarked £4.5m of capital receipts to complete Hartlepool’s housing renewal programme, of which the Carr and Hopps Street scheme is the last one.

It is expected to result in new homes bonus payments to the council of £400,000 over four years plus around £80,000 a year in council tax.

Coun Chris Simmons, a ward councillor for the Victoria Ward, said: “Now demolition has begun and the site is beginning to be cleared you can almost feel the rising aspirations in that neighbourhood.

“We will end up with a remarkable development which incorporates some existing buildings and new buildings. I have seen the plans and they look good.”

He added: “Nothing nowadays is free and it will enhance the area considerably.”

The council secured £2m of transitional government funding after the coalition withdrew the Housing Market Renewal programme five years ago.

Ms Ogden said in a report on the subsidy: “This position reflects the complexity/cost of redeveloping existing sites where the housing market has failed and wider social issues exist.

“Whilst, the proposal put forward by the preferred developer will require a public subsidy this is significantly less than has been the case with previous phases of the HMR programme.

“The financial subsidy towards the cost of this development will be based on the completion of agreed works and payment will not be made until these works have been completed.”