A slap in the face

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THE Hartlepool Borough Council Cabinet last week voted to go ahead with Claxton and the rest of the south-west extension (2,400 new dwellings in total) as the principal site for housing development for the next 15 years, despite constructive criticism and well founded comprehensive objections from the Fens Residents’ Association.

Mayor Drummond said at the meeting that Hartlepool needs to send out a message that we are open for business, and that we need to be “brave and visionary” if we are to compete.

Fine words from the leader of a council that has no money to provide social housing for the people of this town, unless it comes off the back of a massive unnecessary private housing development on a greenfield site south-west of the town.

The cabinet also voted to remove the Tunstall Farm and Quarry Farm sites from the Core Strategy, despite the planning considerations and objections being similar or far less overwhelming than those relating to the south-west extension.

All three sites had serious flooding implications if developed.

All three would result in traffic chaos.

But the south-west extension’s are going to be truly horrific with nightmare scenarios at the new estate’s A689 junction, then along Truro Drive with every junction along Catcote Road requiring huge expenditure just to alleviate the extra congestion.

Brierton Lane and Macrae Road seem set to bear the brunt of the “rat run” opportunities.

Cabinet also have clearly missed the point in my view that this over supply of private housing will have disastrous results for a town which already has an obvious over-abundance of empty, new unsold and good quality mature housing for sale but not selling.

Homeowners across Hartlepool can expect to see the over supply wipe thousands more off the value of their houses.

It’s not as if a huge rise in population is forecast. The council itself admits this.

A bit of a slap in the face for hard-working homeowners don’t you think, cabinet?

The Mayor noted that when the core strategy document is produced at the end of January 2012 there will be a further six week consultation period (which, as the Mayor admitted, won’t make any difference anyway) before it is submitted to Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities, at a cost of around £70,000.

South-west residents should hope the inspector that Mr Pickles appoints has more bravery and vision than our council and that he uses his powers to ensure that the interests of the town as a whole are served.

C Wynn,

Fens Estate,

Hartlepool.