LETTER: We will never be able to compete with Teesside Park, Dalton Park or the MetroCentre

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I WAS bewildered (Mail, January 9) by the news about the proposed new activity centre.

While my remarks may sound defeatist and downhearted, I would say that the people of the North-East are the best in the country, and Hartlepool people are there with the best of them.

I would ask how long are we going to allow people to tell us what is good for us?

Take a look at the council’s record to date.

Roundabouts removed and replaced with traffic lights when there were no problems in the first place.

The purchase of Jackson’s Landing, which has lain empty for many years, and obviously is what no-one wants.

Sea defences costing £40m that could have been addressed for about £2m.

This is just to name a few.

Good, isn’t it?

We now have an intention of spending more money on transforming Church Street into a tourist and retail centre.

I say to the people who dictate these “improvements”, Church Street was great in its day.

It was the hub of the town with the Corporation bus services that ran from there, and the many quality shops and banks that were also in the area.

What is it now other than an area of drinking establishments and fast food outlets, and a source of problems for the police, ambulance and hospital services?

For further information, the community that sustained Church Street, Musgrave Street and York Road, and who lived in that area, have long since gone to areas such as Owton Manor and West View.

The terraced houses and cinemas that were in that area have been demolished.

The new “jewel in the crown”, the marina, is, in parts, poorly maintained.

Continuous moves and wrangling to have this as our new “centre” is why we are in such a state.

The proposed new Mill House sports centre, if placed where it is suggested, will be nothing more than a commercial-type gym because it is not big enough.

If it is meant to attract visitors, then we should have something like Billingham Forum, with ice rinks, 50m swimming pool, gymnasium and theatre.

I know what readers will say.

More chance of getting run over by a bus after 7pm.

We then go onto controlling traffic flow in the town centre, with another roundabout being installed.

What was wrong with the original roundabout that used to circumnavigate Christ Church?

That worked well for many years until someone suggested different.

We then have Mr Rycraft saying that it is a good idea.

I would suggest that when shops such as M&S are leaving our shopping centre then, as can be confirmed by the many empty shops in the centre, Middleton Grange is, like most of the town, on a slippery slope to nowhere.

On a positive note, Tees Bay Retail Park is now doing very well, and it is a pleasure to do shopping there.

Let’s be truthful about this.

We will never be able to compete with Teesside Park, Dalton Park or the MetroCentre.

What we do need is a hospital, a reasonable bus service and a tourist attraction such as Billingham Forum.

Have no doubts about it, whatever tourist attraction we get it will have to be good because no-one comes to Hartlepool unless they have a reason to do so.

Also a shopping centre that, in my view, can offer a reasonable selection, on top of the many pound shops or phone shops, would be good.

Mr T Wilson,

Macaulay Road,

Hartlepool.