A North East council will consider plans to take control of a derelict hotel and redevelop the site.

Stockton Borough Council’s cabinet is set to consider plans to acquire The Golden Eagle Hotel, in Thornaby, so that the building can be demolished.

The plans would see the council acquire the building’s two leasehold interests – while the demolition would make way for the development of the site using funding from the Thornaby Town Deal.

The council is the freeholder of Thornaby Town Centre and has a long-term plan to sell its entire Freehold to long lease holder Proudreed – once the site is cleared and planning consent for redevelopment has been secured.

The Northern Echo: Thornaby Visual Townscape Credit: SBC

Councillor Nigel Cooke said: “It’s really important that all of the borough’s town centres are vibrant and economically successful so they attract investment and are fit for future generations. By taking control of the Golden Eagle we can really start to bring this ambition to life in Thornaby.

“The building is a huge eyesore that has blighted Thornaby Town Centre for a number of years and we know that residents and businesses are keen to be rid of it as it does not represent the town’s aspirations or future.

“The Golden Eagle has stood in the way of unlocking further development in Thornaby and subject to Cabinet approval, I am looking forward to seeing how this site progresses."

Plans are also underway to create a modern, fit-for-purpose, five lane swimming pool and gym next to the Phoenix House site, linked to the Pavilion leisure centre.

This comes after the council took control of the vacant site in January 2022 and demolished it last summer.

The new facility will include gym changing facilities, as well as a new entrance, public realm improvements and enhanced parking.

The Town Deal Board have identified tackling long-term vacant properties in the town centre as a priority of the £23.9 million funding.

Mark White, chair of the Thornaby Town Deal Board, said: “If agreed, this will be an extremely positive step towards securing long-term change and investment in Thornaby and I am absolutely delighted by this news.

“The resolution of The Golden Eagle issue is testament to the hard, collaborative work of all Town Deal Board members and I look forward to seeing the redevelopment of this town centre prime site.”

If approved, a planning application for the building’s demolition would be submitted in Autumn, with demolition expected to begin before the end of the year.

Construction on the new swimming pool is expected to begin in spring next year, subject to planning approval.

Labour-led Stockton Borough Council has faced criticism over its failure to take action on The Golden Eagle despite receiving government funding to do so.

The future of the Golden Eagle Hotel has been the subject of debate for years. Stockton South MP Matt Vickers, who three years ago helped secure the £23.9m in funding from the government as part of the Thornaby Town Deal, has criticised the Labour-led council for taking so long to deal with the disused building.

He said:  “Most people are stunned to learn the council actually own the freehold to the site and, somewhere in history, managed to create a leasing structure in which they failed to protect it from becoming such a burden to the town.

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“The debate about the Eagle has gone on for years and years with the Labour Council always saying they didn’t have the money to do anything about it. It’s now nearly three years since they were given the money by government and there’s nothing to show for it. 

“From the outset, I’ve asked the council to look at Compulsory Purchase Orders and, in fact, do anything in their power to take control of this site. I’ve had several meetings with those who have a stake in the site. 

“It’s incredibly frustrating, and it’s time for the council to pull their finger out and take legal action to acquire this site.”