Hartlepool register office set to be sold to charity

The Willows, Raby Road
The Willows, Raby Road

HARTLEPOOL’S former register office is set to be sold to a charity to support people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

Hartlepool Borough Council says The Willows building in Raby Road is surplus to requirements and plan to sell it to the organisation called Developing Initiatives and Supporting Communities (DISC).

The Willows, Raby Road

The Willows, Raby Road

The charity has secured a major grant from Public Health England to provide a new Treatment Recovery Hub.

A report by Denise Ogden, the council’s director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, says: “The property has now been declared surplus to the operational requirements of the council following the relocation of the Criminal Justice Integrated Team to the Whitby Street Drug Centre.

“The recovery hub will be used for those people in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.

“There will be emphasis on building a supportive recovery community group through group sessions, peer support and social enterprise including a cafe and using outbuildings and land to the rear of the property for other enterprises that will offer volunteer and future employment opportunities for service and ex-service users.”

An area of land within nearby Sir William Gray House is planned to be used to provide social enterprise activities in connection with the hub project.

The council says the building is at risk of vandalism as it is not currently being used.

The building has not been put up for sale on the open market and the authority proposes to sell it to DISC through a private treaty sale for the market value.

Ms Ogden adds in the report: “The disposal to DISC provides an opportunity for the council to dispose of a surplus asset at market value, whilst ensuring that a valuable service to the town is accommodated in appropriate accommodation with the long-term safeguard that the property will be retained by the council should the current service providers cease their operation.”

The proposed sale of the building will be considered by the council’s Finance and Policy Committee next Monday.