The Hartlepool Borough Council owned the Morison Hall, a former Methodist church that had been derelict for 20 years. They approached the Trust with an offer of an asset transfer. It happened that the Trust owned a car park that was not in use and following negotiations with the council it swapped the car park for the Church.
The £1M+ project was the biggest project the Trust had ever undertaken therefore professionals from Thirteen, Hartlepool’s largest Registered Social Landlord, were appointed to manage the project. Morison Hall sits in a conservation area which has greatly restricted the work that could be undertaken on the building and the materials used. Years of arson attacks meant that the whole of the interior needed to be stripped out and painstaking restoration of the external brickwork resulted in over a thousand individual bricks being repaired or replaced.
However, despite these challenges, the restoration of the Morison Hall and its conversion into eight 2-bedroom apartments is now complete. The Trust are proud to have been able to bring a key building in the oldest part of Hartlepool back into use and the work has attracted much praise from the local community. The Trust has given training opportunities to over 40 people over the duration of the project. These people have been NEET, long term unemployed, college students and people recovering from mental health issues. The housing units are owned, let, and managed by the Trust and have already generated plenty of interest.