THE site of the former ICI headquarters in Billingham is a step closer to being brought back into use.

The former Billingham House site on Belasis Avenue has been bought by neighbouring Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies.

The move has been welcomed by Stockton Borough Council, which took action to demolish the building after it was left derelict for several years.

Council leader Councillor Bob Cook said: “Local residents and businesses had to endure the eyesore that was Billingham House for several years.

“We were determined to put their misery to an end and we did.

“We hope that the purchase of the site represents the beginning of a new chapter in its life and the fact it is now in the hands of an established local company that provides employment to many local people is of great reassurance to us.”

Seimi Satake, chief operating officer at Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, said there was limited room for expansion at the firm's current site.

Billingham House was home to ICI’s headquarters and became vacant in 1995 and was bought by Bizzy B Management Ltd in 2000.

It then lay derelict for several years before the council stepped in and took control of the building in 2010. The council finally began clearing the building in May 2012 following several legal challenges.