Signs no danger to ships

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COUNCILLORS have dismissed concerns that new signage on the front of a revamped building at a popular seaside resort would impact on shipping.

Brian Morton applied to Hartlepool Borough Council to install five illuminated signs at the Mayfair Centre as part of an ongoing revamp of the whole site, which includes huge new sports domes.

But the plans were brought before the council’s planning committee after an unnamed councillor raised concerns it could potentially distract vessels using the busy shipping channel at mouth of the Tees.

Committee members burst out laughing when officers explained the reason it had come before them.

Labour councillor Rob Cook, chair of the committee, said the officers took it as a serious concern but added in future similar concerns would be raised with him first to avoid wasting the officer and committee time.

As well as the illuminated signs the approved plans also included two flat mounted stainless steel signs and 12 flagpoles.

Jim Ferguson, a planning officer at the council, said: “Officers think the signs are appropriate and won’t cause any danger to traffic or shipping.”

Conservative group leader Ray Wells joked whether the council needed to consult with Durham Tees Valley airport as the site was under a flight path.

Simon McIlwraith, speaking on behalf of Mr Morton, said: “The site is well on the way to development and we hope it will be ready by the end of the year.

“We don’t think it will have any impact on shipping and we are looking forward to getting this application approved so we can move forward with this development.”

Putting Hartlepool First group leader Geoff Lilley said it begged the question “why it has come to this committee”.

Coun Cook said: “Had I been informed, and I will be in future, I will act not to bring such frivolous applications or reasons to this committee, which waste committee time, officers’ time and the applicant’s time.

“I hope that it won’t happen in future.”

Coun Wells, who took the opportunity to thank the developer for the multi-million pound sport and leisure development, said every councillor had the right to raise genuine concerns if he or she felt it was the right thing to do.

As part of the ongoing work huge new inflatable sports domes have recently appeared on the Seaton Carew skyline and they will house five-a-side football pitches, plus there will also be 244 new houses built in the area.

The existing Mayfair Centre is also being transformed into a state-of-the-art gym, steam room, sensory room to stimulate disabled children and a gym aimed at youngsters.

Its conference and banquet facilities will also be upgraded.

The leisure project at Tees Road will create 30 jobs and bosses hope the full scheme will be open to the public in early December.