National pub chain JD Wetherspoon has taken over a key Hartlepool town centre builing in a near £1m deal.
Council bosses said funding received from JD Wetherspoon taking over its own Hartlepool town centre pub will be used to boost its family poverty reserve.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s finance and policy committee approved a request from the tenants of Middleton Grange Shopping Centre to effectively sell the JD Wetherspoon King John’s Tavern Public House to JD Wetherspoon themselves.
The council currently leases Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, which the pub is part of, despite being separate from the main mall, to Mars Pension Trustees Ltd on a 150-year lease from December 1991.
The pub was then sub-let to JD Wetherspoon Ltd on a 40-year lease which was due to expire in December 2037.
But Mars formally applied to the council for consent to grant JD Wetherspoon a long lease of 125 years, which was approved by the committee.
The subletting sale at £900,000 will provide a one off windfall to Hartlepool Borough Council of £135,000.
Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher moved the council windfall is used to help support families in need.
He said: “I propose the full one-off payment received by the council is earmarked to replenish the family poverty reserve, which is nearly exhausted because of the increasing demand to support our families from the impact of universal credit.”
A report which went before the committee stated the amount received by the council ‘is considered to be best value’ and the price is considered to be ‘market value’.
Councillors on the committee said they were pleased to see Hartlepool continuing to attract interest from a popular chain which provides business to the town.
Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher said: “I think most people do enjoy Wetherspoons, it’s a brand people actually seek out when they go somewhere.
“I just worry if we don’t accept this looking nationally Wetherspoons has been shedding quite a lot of pubs.
“I think it would be a concern of mine if that unit did become empty, and Wetherspoons does have a track record in that particular building.”
Coun Shane Moore said: “It’s good that a national brand want to continue to invest in the town providing jobs and everything else.”
Council bosses had warned if the request was refused the company could decide to vacate the premises and the unit could remain unlet for a considerable time.
Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service