BOSSES at the development company which runs the premises on Navigation Point insist they are doing all they can to breathe new life into the area and say talks with potential new tenants are underway.
Joe Darragh, managing director at Mandale, says he is aware of Neil’s concerns but hit back at claims the area is being neglected.
He said: “Because of the marine location, general upkeep is difficult, but it is always ongoing.
“It’s bit like painting the Forth Bridge.
“We will do up the railings but within six to nine months we have to do them again because they get eroded by the sea air.
“We’ve tried putting hanging baskets and things like that in to improve the overall appearance.
“Last November we improved the frontage and every time there is a report of a light out or something like that we have a team who will repair it as quickly as possible.
“We have a maintenance programme in place which is due to start in April and will be completed in time for the summer.”
Mr Darragh, who insisted that money made from the car parking charges was channelled back into the general upkeep of the marina, added: “I understand the concerns that people are making. But I must point out that the marina is over 15 years old, it is in need of a facelift.
“We are looking to revitalise it.
“But it is hard to keep on top of and isn’t something we can do overnight.”
Bosses at Hartlepool Borough Council, which does not have any responsibility for Navigation Point, say they hope businesses and Mandale can find a solution.
Denise Ogden, the council’s director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, said: “We do hope that businesses at Navigation Point can work together with Mandale to ensure that Navigation Point is a vibrant, attractive area that people want to visit.
“The Hartlepool Marina is one of the key sites identified recently in the Hartlepool Vision.
“The council is committed to doing everything possible over the coming months and years to ensure that we can maximise the potential of one of the town’s strongest assets.”
MR Darragh said he is disappointed by the closure of the once popular Lotus Garden - but said there are plans for the building.
The managing director at Mandale said there are plans to spend between £500,000 and £1m to split up the building into four units.
He said talks are also ongoing to get new businesses in, including “a national pizza chain”. Mr Darragh said: “We can’t help the fact that leases come to an end and businesses move out. That happens in any high street, particularly in the current climate.
“I can say that we are pumping between £500,000 and £1m into that building to create four separate units and we are in talks with businesses, including a national pizza chain, to move in.”
No-one from the Lotus Garden could be contacted for comment.