THE owner of Hexham’s prominent old bus station site has said hope remains that the situation can finally be resolved.

Dysart, which purchased the bus station following its closure in 2016, has faced criticism in recent weeks for failing to maintain the buildings.

Hexham Town Council passed a motion this month putting pressure on Northumberland County Council to issue a section 215 notice on the company.

This would force the landowner to improve the site amid claims it is “impinging” on the local area.

READ MORE: Council's plea for help to clean-up 'bomb site' bus station: 'It's embarrassing'

Responding to this, Dysart has criticised the county council’s investment strategy in the town, claiming the bunker site development near the River Tyne was prioritised.

Dysart’s development director, Mike Clark, said: “We have had and continue to have discussions with the council and others about the development and/or sale of the former bus station and the land associated with it. Indeed we are conscious the town needs quality developments in its centre as befits somewhere with the heritage of Hexham.

“We agree with the town council that it was a shame that NCC did not include us or the site in the discussions about its expenditure strategy for the town or the potential use of funding to help regenerate the area. It is however, unfortunate that to a large extent NCC and the town council in supporting development on the riverside, which has reduced demand and therefore investment potential for the town centre.

“That said, we remain optimistic that in discussion with the council we can resolve the situation, either through the council purchasing the site to benefit their strategy for the redevelopment of the town centre when they produce one, or through a private sector initiative supported by them. We will continue to discuss the site with interested parties in an attempt to ensure that when development goes ahead it will be of benefit to Hexham.”

Responding to Mr Clark’s comments, deputy council leader Richard Wearmouth said: “We feel it is important to highlight given the comments from Dysart that in the last seven years the council has not allowed any development that could have impacted on the development of the bus station site.

“The only site that has seen any form of development that has created additional retail space is the bunker site which comprises a hotel and supermarket. This is not in competition with any possible use on the former bus station site in our view.

“Ultimately the council has long said that for the right price the council would take on the old bus station site however the council cannot pay over market value not just out of principle but due to the laws governing council expenditure. The site has been the subject of valuations by the council that have been provided to Dysart backing up our position.

“The site has latterly been put up for sale by Dysart but we assume it has failed to attract a buyer for the price advertised over a sustained period. We have sympathy for Dysart who historically had aspirations for the site's development but after various planning applications and sale attempts cannot find a way to move a project or the site forward.

“Ultimately the council’s duty is to the residents of the town and we urge that if Dysart do not wish to develop the site themselves that they release the land for a realistic price either to someone who will develop the site or to the council. We remain open to any talks in this regard.”