A COUNCIL may use compulsory purchase powers to buy an eyesore building if its sale cannot be agreed with the owners soon.
Talks have been taking place for several months with owners of the Longscar Centre at Seaton Carew about Hartlepool Borough Council buying it.
The council says securing the building is a key part of the authority’s masterplan to develop the area.
It has made several formal offers for the Longscar Centre, but have been unable to agree a price with owners Capanac Leisure.
Councillor Kevin Cranney told a meeting of the full council that if a final offer is not accepted the council will discuss the next steps, including compulsory purchase, at February’s Finance and Policy committee meeting.
Coun Cranny, vice chairman of the Regeneration Services Committee, was responding to a question from member of the public Graeme Measor.
Mr Measor said: “How long does it really take to agree a price on a dangerous dilapidated building which is now starting to attract arsonists?
“Will they (the council) please acknowledge that the only way forward to rid Seaton Carew of this carbuncle is to commence a compulsory purchase order?”
The Seaton Masterplan involves the council using proceeds from new housing developments to fund regeneration with new community facilities and small businesses.
Money from the sale of a site on Elizabeth Way is earmarked to buy and demolish the Longscar building.
Coun Cranney said: “The council has made several formal offers for the building and had discussions with the owners over a sustained period of time but been unable to agree a price.”
He added: “If the owners do not accept the revised offer to purchase and the council consider that all attempts have been exhausted to secure purchase by agreement then only as a last resort the council can consider invoking the use of its CPO powers to secure the building.”
Last March, the owners said they hoped to turn the building into a thriving business hub by opening a new sea-view restaurant and creating various units inside for takeaways and bars.
Coun Cranney said the council had not yet received any formal planning application from the owners about redeveloping the site.
The owners could not be contacted for comment.