Residents’ rage over Hartlepool gypsy plans

Edward Bell looks over the land at the rear of his house at  The Fens at Hart Smallholdings East, which is the second option for the gypsy site.
Edward Bell looks over the land at the rear of his house at The Fens at Hart Smallholdings East, which is the second option for the gypsy site.

RESIDENTS of the picturesque village of Hart have reacted with anger and shock after it was confirmed a permanent gypsy and traveller site could be built there.

Pensioners Arthur and Eleanor Dobbin have lived in the village for more than 50 years and their home is just off Front Street, down from the preferred site.

Arthur, 72, a retired stock controller at the former GEC factory, said: “We really are not very happy at all about this.

“This is not what we need at our time of life and there is a lot of unhappy people in the village.

“How is this going to affect the valuation of people’s houses? Do we get tax rebates?” added Arthur, who is married to Eleanor, 71, mum to their four children.

Neighbour Harry Moore, 88, who also worked at GEC, added: “I think it is ridiculous.

“This will spoil the village and village life.

“The gypsy and traveller site should not be up here, it should be on an industrial estate somewhere,” added Harry who has lived in the village since he was 12.

Kurt Galloway, 41, a computer systems manager at a town secondary school is married with one daughter and he said he was “bemused” when he heard the news.

Kurt said: “When you look at the decision there must be other sites that better match the criteria.

“I understand that this is a Government directive and that they have to be placed somewhere, but I don’t understand why Hart Village came out on top.

“I was bemused.”

He added the village only has one bus an hour, there is no post office or doctor’s surgery and a small school.

Doug Crosbie is a director at Hart Industrial Tools, which is based in the village.

The 74-year-old said: “I just do not understand the decision, it is miles from anywhere.

“There is no doctor’s surgery and the nearest shop is Sainsbury’s, which is quite a walk.”

Colin Eglintine, 65, lives in Mulgrave Road but is a regular at The Raby Arms pub, in the village, and he said the locals are very unhappy,

The retired bricklayer, who is married to Beryl, said: “I just can’t understand why it is up here.

“This is going to have a massive impact on village life if it goes ahead. The knock-on affect to the village will be huge.”

Edward Bell, 76, has lived in The Fens – which is the second option to the east of the village – for more than 40 years.

The retired plasterer, whose house would look directly onto the site, said: “I think it is an absolute disgrace. I don’t want this hassle at my age and I do believe there are more suitable sites,” added the dad-of-three.