Garages sale delayed

The council-owned garages
The council-owned garages

A DECISION to sell a block of council-owned garages has been delayed after concerns over the tender and consultation process.

Garages on the corner of Eamont Gardens and Elwick Road, in Hartlepool, were set to be sold by Hartlepool Borough Council because of their “poor condition”.

But at a recent meeting, Labour councillor Robbie Payne, portfolio holder for finance and procurement, agreed to put the site back on the market due to concerns about the process.

A report said independent councillor Paul Thompson, chairman of the council’s contract scrutiny committee, said members had not been happy at the decision to offer the contract to someone who had not come through the tendering process.

The report added: “He acknowledged that officers had done their best and procured the best deal for the authority, but felt that by changing the process midway through transparency had been lost.”

In response officers said the original tender process had been completed, but had not produced an “acceptable result”.

Therefore another process, which needed to be approved by Coun Payne, was followed as a result of a response to the marketing board on the site.

Due to the concerns Coun Payne agreed to put the garage site back on the market for a four-week period up to December 16 and asked that previous bidders and those that expressed an interest be told.

He also called for representatives from St Matthew’s Community Hall Committee, which is based next to the garages in Elwick Road, as well as the Burn Valley North Residents’ Association to be consulted after they expressed concerns about car parking, vandalism and the lack of consultation.

Their concerns were raised by Labour councillor Jonathan Brash, who represents the Burn Valley ward.

Coun Brash said: “Residents are rightly concerned about this proposal and as their councillor I felt it was my duty to ensure these issues were addressed before anything was decided.”

It was first agreed to market the site in January and tenants were in favour because of the poor condition.

This site consists of 14 garages managed by Housing Hartlepool on behalf of the council, the majority of which are occupied under a lease agreement.