COUNCIL bosses have spent £10,000 carrying out emergency work to a dangerous arson-hit pier.
Officers from Hartlepool Borough Council discovered a “potentially dangerous” situation on Steetley Pier, at the derelict Steetley chemical plant, during a routine inspection.
They found a large steel pipe hanging off the pier with exposed hazards on the structure, which is popular with anglers.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Email the newsdesk or telephone the newsdesk on (01429) 239380.
This picture, taken by Hartlepool Mail reader Anthony Bate, shows the extent of the damage with the pipe in question completely dislodged from the main structure.
In the interests of health and safety it was agreed to appoint a contractor immediately to make the pier safe.
Under usual council procedure, officers would need to get three quotations for the work.
But it was agreed to waive the quotation procedure and to appoint Tangent Construction, who was already carrying out work on the North Pier, to do the urgent work.
The issue was discussed at a recent meeting of the contract scrutiny committee.
A report by David Wilson, the council’s engineering consultancy manager, said: “At that time contractor Tangent Construction, from Hartlepool, was engaged in carrying out coast protection works for Hartlepool Borough Council on the North Pier.
“Tangent indicated that if requested it could divert resources to deal with the emergency works immediately.”
A price of £10,000 was agreed and the work carried out.
Mr Wilson added: “In accordance with standing orders consent was obtained from the assistant director (transport and engineering), and the chief solicitor to waive the quotations procedure requirement on the grounds of urgency and appoint Tangent Construction to carry out the works immediately.
“Tangent Construction confirmed a price of £10,000 and was commissioned to carry out the works, which were completed on February 11.”
Back in June 2010, a probe was launched to find out who is responsible for safety on the potentially lethal pier that is used regularly by anglers, and investigations are still ongoing.
Once it is established who owns the pier, the owner will be billed for the work.
It came after a 15ft section of the danger structure was removed but it wasn’t clear who had carried out the work.
It led to anglers using a makeshift fence to access the pier despite calls from the coastguard and council bosses to stay off the structure.
Hartlepool Borough Council, developer Starford Holdings, which plans to build new houses on the nearby Steetley site, and the Crown Estate have previously said they do not own the pier, which has been described as a “death trap”.
Meanwhile work has started to clear up the Steetley site as part of the multi-million pound development plans.
The former chemical works site is an area that has been plagued by arsonists and trespassers.
It led to the Mail launching its Sort Out Steetley campaign to get the area made safe.
Planning permission has been granted for the £100m housing development of 484 luxury sea view homes once the site is cleared.