‘Absolute Disgrace’: The Four Eyesore Buildings That Have Lay Empty In Middlesbrough For Years

A developer behind work to regenerate Middlesbrough’s tallest building has hit back after a councillor said it was a disgrace that four sites in the town centre had remained empty for so long.

Centre North East, Gurney House, Church House and the former Crown pub were all mentioned at an Economic Development, Environment and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel as sites that would require costly solutions if they were to be brought back to life.

Cllr Saunders, leader of the Middlesbrough Independent Councillors Association (MICA), said: “The length of time that these buildings have been derelict, I think it’s an absolute disgrace. It’s just a shame that the council can’t do any more about it.”

In response, John Taylor, of Parker Barras, who works with Centre North East owners Cliff Court Developments, said that work was ongoing to regenerate the office block.

He added: “The property had predominantly been vacant before our clients purchased the property, I think it was in late 2016, and we did have several interested parties and obviously covid has stopped some of those conversations.

“We are discussing it with other interested parties and our client has submitted a planning application for the external works and we are progressing with the plans.

“A project of this size does take time. We are certainly not sat on our hands, we are proactively talking to several parties and progressing with the planning applications.”

Mr Taylor also said that as soon as the building was acquired, tenants were secured for the commercial units on the ground floor – this includes Turtle Bay, Lane 7 bowling and Soho nightclub.

An announcement should be made within the next 12 months with a start date for plans for the rest of the building, according to the developer.

He added: “With everything that’s going on in Teesside and with it being Middlesbrough’s tallest building we are keen to see it brought back into use and it’s obviously about finding the right operator to do that.”