'A clear and present danger' - Councillors demand action to secure derelict Hartlepool pub after fire
Councillors have called for urgent action to protect residents following a serious fire to a derelict Hartlepool pub.
Four fire engines and an aerial platform spent more than two hours fighting the flames which have left a large hole in the roof.
The cause is not yet known and is under investigation.
Now Manor House ward Labour councillors are demanding immediate action by the owner or council to make the site safe.
The fire happened just weeks after Hartlepool Borough Council served a notice stating it intended to carry out works to make the building secure.
Councillor Pamela Hargreaves said: “Fires like the one we have seen this week represent a clear and present danger to local residents and our first duty as councillors is to protect our community and the people who live there.
"The owner needs to step up and act and if they don’t then the council should secure the site and send them the bill.
"Nobody should have to live with this in their community.”
She and Councillor Ben Clayton had been working with the council and police to make the building safe before the fire.
The pub reopened under new management in January 2019 but has been empty for some time.
Cllr Clayton said: “It is so frustrating that we were there just a few days ago and working with council officers and police we had secured enforcement action against the owner to prevent incidents like this fire from happening.”
Cllr Hargreaves added investment was needed to redevelop the site long term.
A council spokesperson said: “Hartlepool Borough Council can confirm that it has taken action following the receipt of a number of complaints from Hartlepool residents who were concerned about the condition of the building, and following the fire at the premises last night we are now in further discussions with the owner of the building to determine their proposed course of action as a consequence of this.”
Fire engines from Hartlepool, Billingham, Stockton and an aerial platform from Saltburn responded to the blaze which was put out by 7.40pm.
Cleveland Police attended to manage people who had gathered.
A spokesperson said: “Inquiries are ongoing.”