There is “no doubt” the owners of a “neglected” Seaton Carew building are ready to deliver a successful refurbishment, an inquiry was told.
The future of the Longscar building was the subject of a three-day inquiry which concluded yesterday at Hartlepool College of Further Education.
The council are fixated on getting this building demolished, and haven’t considered all the other optionsDavid Stovell
Hartlepool Borough Council has submitted a Compulsary Purchase Order (CPO) for the property, which has been unused for several years, and plans to demolish it to make way for a public realm area.
The owners of the building, Terence and Barry Wilkinson, say they hope to redevelop the building, creating up to 100 jobs by turning it into four holiday flats and nine other units - including a trampoline centre and bar.
The family set up Longsco Ltd in 2014 to refurbish the centre, and the planning consultant acting on behalf of the company, David Stovell, told the hearting he is convinced those plans will come to fruition if the CPO is avoided.
He said: “I have no doubt they would deliver a successful refurbishment and scheme for the centre.
“The council are fixated on getting this building demolished, and haven’t considered all the other options.
“We acknowledge and regret that the building has been neglected since 2009, and understand the frustration the council has had over recent years.
“We are seeking to rectify that situation.
“The building has great potential, and a wide variety of things could be done there.”
The inquiry, which started on Tuesday, had earlier heard that the council valued the building at £177,000, while the Wilkinsons wanted in excess of £1million for it.
The former amusement arcades and Coastliners hotspot, on The Front, was built in the 1960s.
Planning inspector John Chase will now consider whether to recommend the CPO order for approval to Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government.