THE future of an eyesore building in the centre of Seaton Carew is uncertain after Hartlepool Council was told it could not issue a compulsory purchase order.

Senior Hartlepool councillors have expressed “huge disappointment and surprise” at a planning inspector’s decision not to allow them to take control of the former Longscar building.

The council wanted a compulsory purchase order on the building “as a last resort” after years of trying to encourage the owners to develop and improve it.

Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher said: “The council felt it put forward a very strong case to the inspector for compulsory purchase of the building as part of our ongoing work to further regenerate Seaton Carew for both residents and visitors to the area. “We have worked incredibly hard to encourage the owners to revitalise this key site in Seaton Carew and we made a very fair offer for the building based on expert independent advice.

“The decision is made all the more frustrating after the Inspector expressed doubts in his report about the owners’ plans to refurbish and re-use the property, there being “scope for some scepticism”.”

Councillor Kevin Cranney, chair of the Council’s Regeneration Services Committee, added: “The former Longscar Hall building has been a blot on the landscape for years and I am shocked that the decision has not gone our way.

“The owners now owe it to the people of Seaton Carew and Hartlepool to refurbish the building and make it an asset to the resort within the 16-month timescale they gave to the Planning Inspector.”