Steetley £100m homes plan moves step closer

A fire at the site of the former Steetley plant
A fire at the site of the former Steetley plant

DEVELOPERS say they are close to appointing contractors to clear an eyesore area of Hartlepool as a £100m housing project moves closer.

Starford Holdings says it will level and decontaminate the former Steetley industrial site to make way for 484 luxury seaview homes.

Steetley has been blighted by arson and trespassers, and regular warnings from the police and fire brigade tell people to keep out for their own safety.

The owners, Starford Holdings, have had meetings with planning chiefs at Hartlepool Borough Council to satisfy conditions imposed with the planning permission.

Nick Blezard, spokesman for the developers, said: “We are now very close to appointing someone to start work on the site clearance.

“That doesn’t mean to say work is going to start straightaway. The contractor will have to submit details to the council which have to be approved but that should not take long.”

Starford Holdings, formerly Culford Properties, started work on the housing scheme in 2002.

Hartlepool Council approved the plans in 2009 but the decision was called in by the Government.

John Denham, then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, passed the development last March despite his inspector Trevor Cookson recommending it should be refused because of transport issues.

The new homes are set to be built on Old Cemetery Road, looking out towards the sea.

Mr Blezard added: “In the last few months we have made very good progress to the extent that the ability to start doing things on site is now considerably more imminent than it was before.

“We are perfectly happy to do it, we just need to make sure it is done in the right way.”

The Mail launched a Sort Out Steetley campaign in 2007 following reports of youngsters diving into and swimming in the former settling tanks at the site.

Its aims were to get the site made secure to prevent children from playing, to clear the site of debris and redevelop it as soon as possible.