Planning blow to Seaton Carew redevelopment
Revamp plans for part of Hartlepool have been dealt a blow after a planning inspector blocked the compulsory purchase of a seaside "eyesore".
The Longscar Centre has a prominent position in Seaton Carew, but has been empty since 2009.
Hartlepool Council wants to redevelop the seafront area, but says it has been "unable to encourage" the centre's owners to improve the site.
A council spokesman described the inspector's decision as "shocking".
The authority says the decision has forced it to rethink its multimillion-pound plans to redevelop the area.
'Blot on landscape'
Owner Longsco Limited has so far been unavailable for comment.
A council spokesman said: "We are hugely disappointed and very surprised by the planning inspector's decision.
"We have worked incredibly hard to encourage the owners to revitalise this key site and we made a very fair offer for the building based on expert independent advice.
"The building has been a blot on the landscape for years and we are shocked that the decision has not gone our way.
"The council now needs to review its options going forward in the light of the inspector's decision."