Hartlepool council to save £50,000 by no longer handing the cash to Tees Valley Combined Authority

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen

Council bosses in Hartlepool set to make savings by no longer handing £50,000 regeneration cash to the Tees Valley Combined Authority.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s regeneration services committee is having to make £50,000 cuts for next year as part of a £5.987million deficit the council is facing for 2019/2020.

Councillor Kevin Cranney.

Councillor Kevin Cranney.

The money saved will be cash that was previously paid to the Tees Valley Combined Authority, which also receives central government funding for projects.

Andrew Carter, assistant director for economic growth and regeneration, said: “It will be a shock to the combined authority but as a minimal contribution to their budget it should not be an issue for them.

“Looking at it now it should have been done a while ago.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen supported the move and said it made ‘no sense’ for councils to keep contirbuting the fund.

He said:  “Given we have secured over £260million from government since I was elected, it makes no sense for local councils to keep contributing £50,000 a year into our budget.

“It made sense in the early days to kick start work, but it is no longer necessary.”

Councillors on the committee said it was important money to projects which bring tourism to the town is not cut and praised the impact of schemes such as the Church Street and Seaton regenerations.

Coun Kevin Cranney, chairman of the regeneration services committee, said: “One of the things we said when we took over the administration was that economic development would not be cut and we would try and safeguard that as much as possible.

“Without economic growth you might as well turn the lights off in the town.

“I think we have fulfilled that in the town and economic development has been sustained.

“We are not wasting money on projects, they are for the good of the town and it makes it a more attractive place to live and visit.

“Hopefully there will be more good things happening in future, the town is on the up.”

Coun Jim Lindridge said: “These are not vanity projects, they bring a lot of money and interest into Hartlepool and are beneficial to the town, we need to stress that.”

Coun Mike Young said: “The message on the door steps about these projects is that they are positive.

“On social media you get that vocal 5% or 6% of people who will criticise it.

“Businesses are choosing to extend and invest into places like Seaton and Church Street due to the regeneration.”

Nic Marko, Local Democracy Reporting Service