‘Get there early’ – warning as full house expected at meeting on future of Hartlepool’s mayor

Hartlepool mayor Stephen Akers-Belcher
Hartlepool mayor Stephen Akers-Belcher

MEMBERS of the public who are hoping to attend a meeting set up to discuss the future of a mayor have been advised to get there early.

The future of Hartlepool’s ceremonial mayor, Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher, will be debated at an extraordinary meeting which is being held at the Civic Centre on Monday at 7pm.

The meeting has sparked plenty of interest on the Mail’s website as well as social media sites, but only 90 seats will be available for people wanting to watch proceedings.

The meeting was called after five councillors put pressure on the council’s executive team to discuss the mayor’s future after it emerged he had been sacked from his ‘day job’ as a senior team manager with Newcastle City Council.

The request, which was put forward by independent Labour councillor Jonathan Brash, independent Paul Thompson and David Riddle, Geoff Lilley and Keith Dawkins from Putting Hartlepool First, was initially knocked back as the mayor was out of the country and he was the only one with the power to give it the green light.

But a second request saw the mayor contacted during his sunshine break in Mexico and he agreed to have the meeting on his return.

The motion being put forward by the five councillors asks that Coun Akers-Belcher “takes leave of absence from all civic duties, until such time as his legal dispute with Newcastle City Council is resolved”.

Since the story of his sacking broke, fresh controversy has come to light after Radio Hartlepool lodged a complaint with Cleveland Police over the conduct of Coun Akers-Belcher and that of fellow councillors Ray Martin-Wells and Carl Richardson.

That issue is also expected to be raised during the meetingnext week.

The meeting will be held in the Council Chamber, and doors will open at 6.30pm.

Members of the public can attend the meeting, and seats will be allocated on a ‘first come, first served basis’.