COUNCILLORS have assured people that a “state-of-the-art” centre for disabled people will be accessible.
Hartlepool Borough Council has granted planning permission for the redevelopment of the site of the Centre for Independent Living, in Burbank Street.
It will see the demolition of the existing centre, formerly called the Havelock Day Centre, and replaced with bungalows and apartments for 24 adults with physical or learning disabilities along with a new council-run community centre.
Councillor Carl Richardson, chairman of the council’s adult services committee said the new centre will be “state-of-the-art”.
Coun Richardson added: “This centre is going to be one of the best in the North-East.
“More and more people are going to be using it.”
He responded to concerns from members of the public over a lack of public transport in the area at yesterday’s South and Central Neighbourhood Forum.
Coun Richardson said: “We are looking at transport and we are involving service users so that hopefully will be addressed.
“The amount of people using the centre may regenerate the whole area and that’s what we are hoping to do.
“I will be interested to see if anyone has problems with transport after it has opened.”
Coun Kevin Cranney, chairman of the South and Central Neighbourhood Forum, added: “A lot of it is out of our hands because services are run by private operators but we can influence things through our integrated transport plan.”
Another member of the public asked if outreach work would be run from the site or if users had to visit the centre.
Coun Richardson noted the man’s concerns and said he would look into it.
The development will be a partnership between Hartlepool Borough Council and Mariner Care.
The new community centre will include a cafe, car parking and garden area and also replace services for disabled people based at Warren Road.
The Havelock centre is used by voluntary and community sector organisations to offer advice, information, advocacy and practical help for adults living with a disability.
Hartlepool council says the extra accommodation is needed and the development will improve facilities on offer and reduce the high running costs of the Havelock centre.