AS part of the Mail’s 2014 local elections coverage, we will be focusing on all 11 wards in Hartlepool where seats are up for grabs.
The Mail will be profiling the 49 candidates who want your vote and examining the issues that are affecting local residents ahead of the election on Thursday, May 22.
Our coverage continues with the Hart Ward.
CONTROVERSIAL plans to house a potential gypsy and traveller site in the Hart ward that were later scrapped remain one of the biggest talking points.
Hartlepool Borough Council had initially identified land in Hart Village to accommodate gypsies and travellers as part of the Local Plan.
But in October last year the 15-year planning blueprint was thrown out at the last minute and work started again, including assessing if there is a need to earmark a site at all.
Meanwhile, there have long been calls for new facilities for children on the Middle Warren estate and the new play area and neighbourhood park was officially opened at the weekend.
The play park, located in Crocus Gardens off Osprey Way, is home to a wide range of play equipment for children of all ages including an enclosed multi-games area,
swings, climbing frames and a 40 metre zip-wire.
A bandstand, walkways, landscaping, disabled access and car parking are all incorporated into the area.
The new community facility has been funded by housing developer Leebell and built by construction firm NEDCO.
Representatives from the firm and Hartlepool Borough Council were joined at the event by local residents Aileen and Rob Kendon who seeked support for the new park.
John Young has lived in his home in Hart Village for about 10 years and believes it is “losing its identity”.
The 70-year-old education worker said: “The village is losing it’s identity because it’s just getting left basically.
“Parking is a big issue here with cars parked right along the front so the people who live here have to park right down the road.
“I’d like to see something done about that.”
Dorothy Raper, 80, of Wentworth Grove, Hart Station, said she believed transport was an issue in the area.
The mum-of-seven, who is also a grandmother and great-grandmother, said: “It’s travel that I think is the main issue around here.
“It stops us doing the things we want to do. There are a lot of people who don’t have cars and we need more buses.There’s some that go one way but they don’t come back the other way.”
James McKeown, 65, a retired engineer, who also lives in Wentworth Grove, in the Hart Station area, echoed Dorothy’s transport concerns.
The dad-of-eight said: “There aren’t any buses on a night after 6pm.
“If I go to the club in Elwick Road I get there free with my bus pass, but it costs me a fiver to get back home in a taxi. It puts you off going out sometimes That’s what I’d like looking at.”