Long-awaited demolition work has been welcomed at the site of the former fire-hit Longscar building which has long been a blot on the Seatron Carew landscape.
Demolition teams started tearing down parts of the Longscar Centre in Seaton Carew over the weekend - months after Hartlepool Borough Council served a legal notice ordering owners to fix it or flatten it.
The former Coasters pub site site has been empty since 2009 and the council has attempted to use a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to take it into the authority's ownership.
But the move was rejected by a planning inspector in 2016 despite the site previously being as an ‘eyesore’.
The council issued a legal notice in March this year, stating that the site remained a "priority" and the state of the building was "detracting" from its £1.3million Seaton Carew regeneration scheme.
The latest move has been welcomed by Mail readers and now Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has welcomed the latest move with the land.
He said: "Seeing the demolition vehicles parked on site and ready to do their work was a tremendous experience for me.
"The people of Seaton and the whole of Hartlepool have put up with this eyesore on Seaton Front for far too long, especially after the fire.
"Years of legal wrangling have seen delay after delay at taxpayers expense, but now the owners are doing the decent thing and levelling the place to the ground.
"It really is good news for the people and businesses of Seaton Carew, and for the town.
"It’s a landmark moment in our history and one which we should all celebrate."
The sections of the building worst affected by the blaze in May 2018 had already been demolished at the time after initial surveys indicated it was unsafe.
The Seaton Carew regeneration scheme has so far seen a leisure park featuring water jets and play equipment for children which opened last summer.