Hundreds sign Hartlepool councillor's petition to stop Jacksons Landing demolition
A Hartlepool councillor has started a petition to try to block the demolition of former factory outlet Jacksons Landing.
Almost 350 people supported the online campaign within 24 hours of being started by independent borough councillor Paul Thompson.
It calls for Hartlepool Borough Council, which bought the site for £1.5 million in 2013 not to rush into its demolition at a cost of £40,000.
Coun Thompson says civic leaders have not listened to all of the options and the strength of feeling around the issue.
The council leader says the plan to demolish is based on expert advice and will create more opportunity to develop the site.
Coun Thompson is due to present the petition at a meeting of Full Council on Thursday, September 8.
He said: “I don’t think civic leaders have listened to all of the arguments or proposals put forward.
“This position that they are going to knock it down come hell or high water is very frustrating.
“Knocking it down halves your options. We haven’t got a developer lined up who categorically has said ‘we’ll take this if you knock it down’, it’s all ifs and buts.
“If you leave it up people can come up with proposals for what the existing building can be used for or what it will look like when you knock it down.”
Council officers say the building has become linked with failure.
And council leader Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher said: “The council has sought advice from leading architectural experts and the clear view is that the use of the site can be best maximised if Jacksons Landing is demolished.
“This opens up a whole host of new opportunities for the site and the chance to create a high quality design and transform the economy and image of the marina.
“We are aiming to come forward around November time with initial design proposals as part of the transformation of the site – at which point we will fully consult the local community.”
Coun Thompson claims there are developers interested in developing the existing site who will be excluded by demolishing the building.
He added: “If a developer is willing to invest millions in the site do you really think they are going to be put off by £40,000 demolition costs?”
The council hopes to begin demolition on September 19.
Councillor Thompson’s petition is on the website www.change.org and is headed Stop the Needless Demolition of Jacksons Landing.