Appeal over lack of council action

Christine Blakey with the petition
Christine Blakey with the petition

A PETITION organiser has lodged an appeal into the way it was handled after councillors voted to take no action.

The petition by Resident Representative Christine Blakey called for changes at Hartlepool Borough Council and raised concerns about a number of issues which she felt needed to be addressed.

But earlier this month councillors voted to take no action – to the dismay of Ms Blakey.

Ms Blakey has since lodged an appeal into the process and that will be considered by the council’s scrutiny co-ordinating committee.

The petition, signed by 1,760 people, raised concerns about the £10,795 pay rise awarded to council chief executive Paul Walker, The Tall Ships Races budget deficit, landfill sites and planning decisions, and also called for more accountability.

It was presented at a meeting of the full council, but the majority of councillors voted to take no action.

Other options included agreeing to the requests in the petition, holding an inquiry or a public meeting, commission of research or refer it to a scrutiny committee.

Ms Blakey, 43, of the town’s Bishop Cuthbert estate, had hoped that the petition from the recently-formed Hear ‘n’ Hartlepool group would lead to a full independent investigation.

Ms Blakey said: “This is about the strategic management of the town.

“I thank those that have given their signatures so far, their opinions are being listened to.

“I will continue to take this forward and that is why I have appealed.”

She added: “The way the petition was dealt with was an insult to the people.

“It should not have been thrown out the way it was.”

At the time of the decision senior councillors defended their position and said the petition lacked any evidence.

A council spokesman said: “Under the council’s petition scheme the petitioner is entitled to lodge an appeal to look at the process leading up to its consideration.

“We can confirm that Ms Blakey has requested an appeal and the council’s scrutiny co-ordinating committee has 30 days to scrutinise the process and respond to the petitioner.”

Ms Blakey added that anyone who signed the petition and wanted to contact her can do so at chris.blakey@sky.com.