Hartlepool Case Study

“This was a unique and special regeneration project, which has rejuvenated the old chapel

to provide affordable homes in the area with some very distinctive characteristics.

“It was a pleasure to be involved with such an interesting development and the results

are fantastic. These apartments will make exceptional homes for local people

and I am sure they will be in great demand.”

Martin Hawthorne,

Thirteen Group’s Director of Development and Regeneration


Key themes case study highlights:

  • Community regeneration and multiple opportunities offered through bringing empty homes back into use;               
  • Providing training, work experience and volunteer placement for disadvantaged and often vulnerable and excluded groups within communities.             
  • Asset transfer and conversion of dilapidated historic building to provide housing.           
  • Fits within a diverse business model Hartlepool is ranked 10th highest area in England experiencing multiple deprivation, with concentration of wards around the town centre and within the historic Headland and Harbour area.

Opportunities for local residents

The areas have experienced problems with high levels of empty homes and buildings associated with low value, and low demand housing. Private investors and buy-to-let landlords have been an added factor. Attracted by the expectation of high returns on investment but experiencing difficulties with letting, housing management and anti-social behaviour. This situation has then contributed to properties being left empty and falling into disrepair. Hartlepool NDC Trust(HNDCT) is a community led charitable company established in 2008. It emerged as a legacy body from a resident led New Deal for Communities Programme whose aim was to tackle high numbers of empty and derelict properties amongst older terraced housing, and to provide employment training opportunities for local residents.


Community regeneration

At the start it was ‘gifted’ 5 terraced houses (left over from the regeneration programme’s ‘Home

swap’ project) and 2 commercial properties. It has gone on to develop the business and services offered around 3 main work activities:


  • Community Regeneration, working with a number of partners to bring old empty properties back in to use with the hope of improving the local areas.
  •  Property Management, providing affordable rented properties which they either own or manage either owned or manage.            
  • Opening Doors Training programme which aims to provide work ready trainees, providing experience in joinery, painting & decorating.

It has added to its asset base through a combination of funding sources which have include the Empty Homes Community Grant Programme, and social investment, the majority of which was a very low interest loan from the Local Authority. It now owns 7 terraced houses and 8 flats in a converted derelict church; a community centre; a small hotel that was formerly empty and derelict, and a town centre leased office building.

HNDCT biggest project has been a £1M+ development renovating Morrison Hall, a former Methodist church in historic conservation area of the Headland which has been converted into 8, 2-bedroom, flats. The building was owned by the council and had been empty for 20 years. HNDCT negotiated the building as an asset transfer in exchange for a car park which they owned. The construction work was funded through £350k from the EHCGP and a low interest loan of over £600k from Hartlepool Borough Council.

Supporting HNDCT

Supporting HNDCT with this development were professionals from Thirteen, a Registered Social Landlord, who were appointed to manage the project.

Around 40 individuals; long-term unemployed, people with mental health problems and trainees on the Armed Forces Employability programme, benefitted from work experience on the development, gaining valuable skills and qualifications.

HNDCT also work with private landlords and have refurbished 10 empty properties for one investor which they now manage. They also provide a range of construction related contracts to improve security on homes of victims of crime, and provide a work stream for the ‘Opening Doors’ construction training project which also delivers a Department of Works & Pensions, Youth Employment Initiative, programme.


Opportunities for trainees and young people

A key objective for the HNDCT while renovating properties is to provide opportunities for trainees, predominantly young people, furthest from the labour market to engage in work experience on a construction site. It’s has seen over 200 Hartlepool people take up training opportunities.

The Trusts latest development is ‘Housing Heroes’, providing a project for young people leaving the care system to get actively involved in securing a permanent home of their own. The project puts together the challenges of empty, poor quality housing in the town, and the need to enable young people to access and sustain suitable accommodation and build the skills, knowledge and confidence to sustain and manage those tenancies.

The project aims develop wide ranging knowledge, skills and experience not just in construction and DIY but also: how to access housing opportunities; legal aspects and financial management; running and maintaining a home; and energy efficiency.

12 young people actively involved in this project and they have secured a social investment loan from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and have acquired an empty property to refurbish.

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