Demolition to start on Hartlepool's vandal-hit Jacksons Landing mall
Demolition of a derelict shopping mall on Teesside which has been targeted by vandals is due to begin.
The Jacksons Landing site has been disused since 2004 and was purchased by Hartlepool Borough Council in 2013.
The authority agreed to fund the £40,000 demolition costs in the hope of attracting a developer for the site, which has been the target of vandals.
Critics claim that demolishing the mall is a waste of money while there are no firm plans for the site.
The council has argued paying for the site to be levelled will reduce maintenance costs and make it easier for a developer to move in.
A spokesman said: "The site is seen as strategically important to the redevelopment of Hartlepool's waterfront and the town's future economic growth.
"Jacksons Landing is a building associated with failure. Removing it offers the opportunity to relaunch the waterfront as a visitor destination and change people's perception of the area.
"Constant maintenance has been required to keep the existing building safe and secure against vandalism and repeated attempts to gain access. Trespassers have been getting onto the roof and damaging roof lights, putting themselves at serious risk.
"The building has had to be repaired and secured 44 times over the last three years which has cost the council in excess of £15,000."
But Councillor Paul Thompson, who is opposed to the demolition, said: "Nobody is saying this area shouldn't be redeveloped. What people are objecting about at the minute, is pulling it down without any plan."