Council bids to sell mortuary

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A piece Wills wrote whilst on work experience with the Press Association:

A former mortuary could become a great place to chill after the council selling it suggested it could be converted into a beach chalet.

The 19th-century grade II-listed Saltburn Mortuary is one of the more unusual properties being sold by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.

It was built as a mortuary in 1881, but its use was halted in the 1960s and more recently it has been used as a store.

Despite being out of use for 50 years, the derelict building still contains many of the characteristics of a morgue.

The slab, which could perhaps double as a sun-bed, where dead bodies will have lain, remains in the centre of the room with a wooden head block at one end.

However, ignoring the eerie interior, a view of the North Sea, its position on the seaside town’s foreshore and the proximity to a local pub means it is a potential holiday home for any leaser or buyer.

The sale of the ancient mortuary is part of the council’s five-year programme to raise £18 million by disposing of areas of land and a number of buildings it no longer needs.

A reading room, a cafe and a former Methodist church are among the other properties that will be sold or leased as part of the initiative. The council suggested that the properties on sale were suitable for a mixture of uses, including offices, retail spaces and studios.

Councillor Norman Pickthall, cabinet member for corporate resources, said: “In the present economic climate, it makes good sense for the council to operate its services from fewer buildings. This ongoing programme of disposing of assets will generate funds and reduce our running costs during times of unprecedented economic turbulence.”

Mr Pickthall is also calling for buyers to put these buildings to good use in a bid to help regenerate the area.

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