THE closure of the Southlands Centre, which will see several businesses forced to move, has been confirmed.
Middlesbrough Council has agreed to close the site despite objections by business owners after talks with a potential buyer failed.
Further work will be carried out to find a new use for the Ormesby Road facility with a further report due in September.
The development comes after the sports centre was closed last year to save Middlesbrough Council cash.
The council said last week it will continue to work with tenants and local community groups to secure alternative arrangements.
Approval for the proposed closure was given at a Middlesbrough Council meeting last week.
A Middlesbrough Council spokesman said said the move followed a “concerted effort to find someone to run the centre, retaining its business and community uses.”
They added that “the centre currently costs local taxpayers up to £200,000 every year in staffing and maintenance, while a recent independent report pointed to the need for essential works totalling £600,000. A further £1.3m worth of desirable works is required to sustain the building in the long term.”
Many of the centre’s business owners spoke of their devastation after they received a letter from Middlesbrough Council informing them of intentions to “wind down” the venue.
Trader David Brown said: “I’m infuriated - we have people who have been here 20 or 30 years.”
“But it isn’t just about us - the town, and the state it is in, needs an enterprise centre. There isn’t a lot of money around, but this gave people a chance to start their own business so what message does shutting it send?”