MIDDLESBROUGH Council is in discussions with two separate groups about plans for the town's House of Fraser building.

The department store on Linthorpe Road closed on Sunday after almost 100 years of trading. The final day saw hundreds of people descend on the store to pick up bargains as 50 per cent was slashed off prices.

In July 2020 the council bought the building for £1m at the same time it acquired Captain Cook Square for £8m using cash from the £14.1m Future High Streets Fund grant. The council’s chief executive Tony Parkinson has now revealed the council is already looking at new uses for the building with plans expected to be discussed in the next week.

Speaking at Middlesbrough’s overview and scrutiny board meeting, he said: “We’ve been in discussion with two separate parties about proposed uses for House of Fraser. Richard Horniman (regeneration director) is doing further work on those proposals and we’re due to discuss them in the next seven days. I’m hopeful we will come up with a solution that brings that back into use relatively quickly.”

When it came to Debenhams, the top officer said the council didn’t own the site – but it was looking at whether it would make sense to acquire it.

Mr Parkinson added: “We’ve got a lot of exposure already on that – we’re also in discussions about potentially doing something at the other empty unit at that crossroads. That is a really strategic part of the town centre so want to get something going on in those buildings as quickly as we can.”

The chief executive said it was more likely House of Fraser and the building nearby would see action before the Debenhams site.