Window pain: Fears over future of bar and restaurant plan for derelict Hartlepool pub
Calls have been made for council planning bosses to "step in" and support a new development that would see an iconic Hartlepool building brought back into use.
The New Alma, in Whitby Street, Hartlepool is currently empty and in a state of disrepair although proposals were approved earlier this year to convert it into a bar and restaurant, with a 14-bed B&B above, subject to planning conditions.
Following this, a further application was submitted from businessman Rajib Malik to replace all the windows at the site, changing them from timber casement and sliding sash window to uPVC double glazing of the same style.
Cllr Jonathan Brash, Burn Valley ward representative, has called on the council planning committee to “show flexibility” over the matter and support the development.
He has raised concerns that planning restrictions in conservation areas like Church Street stipulate the windows should be single pane and timbered, which could threaten the development.
Cllr Brash said: “The issue here is that such a stipulation threatens the redevelopment because single pane, timbered windows come at far greater financial cost, are less energy efficient and are not suitable for the proposed use.”
He also argued such stipulations are imposed inconsistently and stressed the importance of backing Mr Malik’s plans.
He said: “You only have to look around at buildings directly opposite and nearby to see windows made of metal and uPVC.
“We must back the businesses in our town if we are going to see the economic regeneration we need.
“This proposal brings an iconic building back into use, creates jobs and improves Hartlepool.”
He therefore wrote to Councillor Mike Young, chair of Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee, asking for the matter be looked at by the committee and that flexibility be shown.
Deputy council leader Cllr Young said: “I can confirm that I have received a letter from Councillor Jonathan Brash regarding the The New Alma and I have asked that it is added to a future planning committee meeting agenda.”
Planning documents previously submitted stated the redevelopment could create regular employment for “up to 20 part-time workers” along with jobs carrying out the refurbishment.