Boundary review is hit for six

HUNDREDS of people have signed a petition against proposals to merge two wards as part of a boundary review which could see the number of councillors slashed.

Headland residents say proposals to merge the St Hilda and Stranton wards and rename it Heritage would mean the area loses its “history and character”.

The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) has recommended the number of councillors on Hartlepool Borough Council be cut from 47 to 33, representing 11 wards instead of the current 17.

There would be three councillors in each ward across town.

But the proposals for the St Hilda ward have been criticised by residents and councillors.

Independent councillor Tim Fleming, who represents the St Hilda ward, said: “It all started with people coming up to me opposed to the merger with the Stranton ward.

“It is starting to build up, and so far we have had 500 people sign the petition. The main thing is that we have nothing to do with Stranton, you can’t even get a bus there on a night.

“I can see the point of us trying to cut the number of councillors, but I can’t see the point of us merging with the Stranton ward.”

The petition is available to sign at The Cosmopolitan Pub, in Durham Street.

Fellow independent ward councillor John Marshall added: “The whole of Hartlepool should be against this. This will take away the Headland’s history and character.”

A spokesman for the LGBCE said: “Our draft recommendations have been put together on the basis of the evidence presented to us by local people and organisations in Hartlepool.

“However, we always welcome views from the public whether they agree with our initial proposals or not.

“We will consider opinions put forward by local people on the name and boundaries of this ward and any other in Hartlepool.”

The latest round of consultation comes to an end on June 20.

The full recommendations and maps are available on the commission’s website at lgbce.org.uk They will also be available to view at local council buildings and libraries.

People can email reviews@lgbce.org.uk or write to Review Officer (Hartlepool), The Local Government Boundary Commission for England, Layden House, 76-86 Turnmill Street, London, EC1M.