Historic sites are to be marketed

Morison Hall
Morison Hall

PLANS to jointly market a former church hall and manor house have been backed by a senior councillor.

Hartlepool Borough Council is to market the former Friarage Manor House and adjoining land, together with Morison Hall, both on the Headland, to see if there is any interest in the sites.

The decision was backed by independent councillor Paul Thompson at a recent meeting of his finance and corporate services portfolio.

The council bought Morison Hall, which has stood empty for a number of years, for £60,000 at auction in the summer of 2010, but will now put the site on the market in order to bring it back into use.

Since buying the building, the local authority has repaired the roof on the arson-hit Morison Hall, boarded up the windows and cleared rubbish from the outside.

Meanwhile, the Friarage Manor House, off Marine Crescent, is a Grade II listed building on a 0.8 hectare site and the aim is to convert the Manor House and bring that back into use.

It is owned by the Henry Smith Educational Trust and Henry Smith Non Educational Trust.

Coun Thompson said: “It has been agreed to jointly market the two sites and people will be able to bid for them both together or as individual sites.

“Morison Hall is a historic part of the Headland, but is in a sorry state of repair and it will take significant investment which this local authority does not have.”

Graham Frankland, assistant director resources, said the properties would be put on the market this month with a tender closing date in December 2012.

Officers say marketing costs will be divided between the three parties and the aim is to bring in some innovative packages of development.

Any money raised from the sale of Morison Hall would contribute towards Hartlepool Borough Council’s capital receipt target of £4.5m.

Morison Hall, in Church Close, has been labelled an eyesore and featured on Mayor Stuart Drummond’s hit list of derelict buildings that could hamper the regeneration of the town.

It has a cellar in the basement, two large meeting halls on the ground floor and there is also a large open area on the first floor with a stage, giving the building a number of possible uses.

The building did have plans passed for conversion into six flats but the development never went ahead after permission lapsed.