Councillors to hear petition

Christine Blakey who has petitioned for an inquiry at Hartlepool Borough Council
Christine Blakey who has petitioned for an inquiry at Hartlepool Borough Council
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COUNCILLORS will meet tomorrow to discuss a petition calling for changes at Hartlepool Borough Council.

Hundreds of residents have supported Resident Representative Christine Blakey’s campaign over a number of issues which she believes need to be addressed in Hartlepool.

The petition by the recently-formed Hear ‘n’ Hartlepool group has been signed by 1,760 people and will be presented to the full council on Thursday.

It asked residents, workers and friends of Hartlepool to demand accountability and change.

The petition was launched on the back of the £10,795 pay rise given to council chief executive Paul Walker, which took his salary to £168,000 at a time when the council was making cuts.

Mr Walker is retiring at the end of this month.

The petition also raises concerns about the Tall Ships budget deficit and calls for public money to be spent differently.

Ms Blakey, 43, of the town’s Bishop Cuthbert estate, is calling for a full independent investigation because she feels “public concerns” are being ignored.

A report to the meeting said: “The council has received a petition containing approximately 1,600 signatures and a statement of the subject matter which the petitioners, as submitted through the petitioner organiser, wished the council to debate.”

The statement read: “Many residents are suffering, distressed and alarmed by the state of affairs within the council evidenced by good and bad publicity, leaks from within the council, media coverage and generally, the word on the street.

“Enough is enough.

“We: Hear ‘n’ Hartlepool are asking full council to support a public inquiry into Hartlepool Borough Council executive and management so that informed choices can be made into action and accountability as previous research is known to have flaws and so may be invalid.

“Please embrace this opportunity to empower local people in making a local impact.”

Ms Blakey will have five minutes to present the petition and, at the discretion of chair of the council Carl Richardson, answer questions from councillors.

She handed her petition to council bosses early last month after collecting signatures outside the civic centre.

Ms Blakey, a mum-of-one, said: “I would like to thank everybody who has taken the time to sign the petition.”

Councillors have a number of options.

They can either agree to the requests in the petition, hold an inquiry, hold a public meeting, commission research, take no action or refer it to a scrutiny committee for further work.

Members of the public can attend the meeting, which is due to take place on Thursday, August 4, at 7pm at the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road.