The beginning of the end

WORKERS have started stripping the roof off a historic building before it is demolished to make way for new houses.

In mid-June owners, Ruttle North East, were successful in their bid for planning permission to demolish Tunstall Court, in the West Park area of Hartlepool, to make way for 14 executive-style houses.

Demolition work underway at Tunstall Court

Demolition work underway at Tunstall Court

It was agreed back then that once the final conditions had been agreed, developers have one month to demolish it.

Now over the past week workers have started to strip the roof off the arson-hit building, which has been a magnet for anti-social behaviour in recent years.

In June, Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee agreed the plans by five votes to three, to the delight of nearby residents who say the building has “blighted” their lives.

Nearby resident David Johnson said at the time: “It is a miracle nobody has been killed or seriously injured in the building. It is a major drain on resources that needs to stop.”

But there was dismay from heritage and conservation groups who fought to save the building.

Richard Tinker, of the Victorian Society, said: “The poor condition of an important building, whether down to neglect or failure to secure it, should not be used for justification for demolition.”

At the planning meeting the Hartlepool Civic Society and English Heritage also objected to the plans to demolish Tunstall Court.

The historic building – which is not listed but is classed as “locally significant” – was formerly used as a council training centre but then transferred into private ownership.

Tunstall Court, deemed a dangerous building by the council’s building control team, is an undesignated heritage asset within the Park Conservation Area.