Angry residents give council 1,200 reasons to reject controversial housing plans for Hartlepool bakery

Darren Price holding the petition with Foggy Furze area residents on the steps of Hartlepool Civic Centre. Picture by FRANK REID
Darren Price holding the petition with Foggy Furze area residents on the steps of Hartlepool Civic Centre. Picture by FRANK REID

MORE than 1,000 people have backed a call for town chiefs to turn down a controversial housing plan.

A 1,293-name petition and more than 100 letters of objection have been handed in to Hartlepool’s civic centre against the plans by Developing Initiatives for Support in the Community.

The former Andersons Bakery (left)

The former Andersons Bakery (left)

The charity has submitted plans to transform the former Anderson’s Bakery, on the corner of Winderemere Road and Ashgrove Avenue, into four flats.

They may then be used to home tenants which could include recovering addicts, sparking concerns the Foggy Furze area will suffer a rise in crime and anti-social behaviour.

The residents have been given the backing of MP Iain Wright, who has already written to the council’s chief executive Dave Stubbs to raise concerns and said he would be in contact with St Aidan’s and St Cuthbert’s schools to sound out their opinions.

Darren Price, who has helped lead the calls against the scheme, said: “A lot of people are worried about a rise in violence because Disc hasn’t said what sort of people will be living there.

“Everybody has rallied round, I’ve received emails and notes through my door, from people who are looking for ways for this to stop.”

He added the campaign has helped bring the community together as people pool their efforts and support each other to stop the proposals from going ahead.

The proposals are expected to be considered by the council in coming weeks.

Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher has told residents the authority may look into buying the property from the charity, which was bought at auction, to take on via its own housing project.

Meetings of families held to discuss the scheme have drawn in around 60 people to each session.

Disc has said it works alongside the council and its representatives to develop ways to deal with homelessness in the borough.

It has said it is not common practice for social landlords to consult with residents about the kinds of tenants which will be housed in properties.

The organisation, which has been running for 30 years, has also said it has many years of experience in the sector and is well placed to develop unused properties such as the former baker and bring it back into use for the good of the people of Hartlepool.

Councillors “strongly oppose” housing bid

THREE ward councillors have launched a “strong” objection to plans which could see a former bakery turned into social housing for drug addicts and alcoholics.

Ward councillors Christopher Akers-Belcher, Kevin Cranney and Kaylee Sirs have lodged a joint objection which will be passed to the planning committee.

Their objection read: “We have received the notification of consultation in respect of the application and we wish to strongly object against the proposal and formally request that the planning application is determined by the planning committee and reserve our right to speak at committee.

“As ward councillors we are very familiar with the area and the needs of what is a cohesive community.

“We have engaged with residents and have never been presented with such strong and united objections to such a development before.

“Overall the proposed location for such a development is certainly not in keeping with the locality and will destabilise the community.” The trio’s statement then goes on to highlight traffic and access issues, health and safety - with the nearby St Cuthbert’s and St Aidan’s primary schools both mentioned - and fears over an increase in crime.

The letter of objection - which is signed by all three councillors - goes on: “Overall we have articulated material planning considerations, which confirm that the plans should not be endorsed and would expect ward members, who know the area in detail, to be listened to. We look forward to receiving an acknowledgement and our objections being presented at planning committee with our right to speak reserved.” The issue over the building, which is located on the corner of Windermere Road and Ashgrove Avenue, will go before the Planning Committee on January 21.