Black Olive owner welcomes Hartlepool Marina investment – but still wants it tidied up and parking fees scrapped

Hartlepool Marina
Hartlepool Marina

A MARINA boss who campaigned to have the area spruced up has welcomed news of new investment - but still wants to see the Navigation Point area tidied up.

Neil Evans, who runs the Black Olive Bar, in Navigation Point, has been a tenant at the marina for the last 12 years having previously owned Coffee Rappor and North Star.

Speaking on behalf of neighbouring busineses in the Mail back in March, Neil expressed concerns about the general state of the area falling into disrepair with broken paving slabs, rusting railings and broken lights all giving the impression that the marina was becoming rundown.

And while he says he welcomes news that new tenants are taking over some of the vacant units, Neil still feels that Mandale needs to do more to the surrounding area.

He said: “I said in March that the area was basically falling into the dock, and something needed to be done.

“As far as I can see, nothing has been done since then. Since I raised those concerns, we have had three bank holiday weekends where we used to be really busy and have people queuing out the doors to get into he businesses down here.

“I said the paint was peeling off the railings, there were electrical boxes with wires hanging out, there was dog mess dotted about and the fronts of the bars and shops were looking shabby.

“Apart from the electrical boxes being removed, that is still the case. I’m happy that new businesses have been attracted down here, and I genuinely wish them all well.

“If we can get more visitors down here, then it’s a benefit for all of us.

“But my fear is that if the general repairs aren’t carried out, then the new businesses will quickly find they are facing the same problems that those of us who have been down here for years have faced.

“All of the businesses down here pay high service charges, and things like general upkeep should be included in that.

“It’s all very well talking about £500,000 investments, but surely you have to get the basics right?

“The main issues, like asking people to pay for parking, keep visitors away. The parking is a massive issue, the new businesses will soon find that out when their customers are watching the clock or worried about getting a ticket.

“We carried out our own survey and the vast majority of people said parking charges put them off. Mandale carried out their own survey, but I’m not sure what their responses were as nobody ever saw them.

“I know of one person who came down here on bank holiday Sunday, left his car and came back on the Monday morning to find a ticket on it.

“How is that attracting visitors?

“What we have to is get people attracted to come back down here, get the place tidied up, and then more businesses will follow.

“Bringing new ventures in while the area is still shabby is putting the cart before the horse in my opinion.”