A POLITICAL group has called for more detail on future plans for the Jacksons Landing site after Hartlepool Borough Council bought it for £1.5m.
Putting Hartlepool First has contacted council leader Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher for clarification over the costs of the purchase.
It is being paid for using a two-year interest-free loan from a Government growth fund,
Coun Akers-Belcher told the Mail on Saturday that the council had to make the most of assets like the Jacksons Landing site if Hartlepool was to “grow and prosper”.
Jacksons Landing has stood empty for 10 years after housing a number of retail units.
But Putting Hartlepool First group leader Coun Alison Lilley is worried about the potentially crippling interest costs she says the council will be landed with if it is not able to sell the site after two years.
In an email to Coun Akers-Belcher, Coun Lilley said: “This is obviously worrying when the council is already facing such difficult financial circumstances to the point of having to make serious cut-backs.
“I think we need to see more detail on how much has already been spent on this matter, how much will now need to be spent on security and maintenance for the building and how much those interest charges are likely to be should the council be unable to sell on the property within the next two years.”
Coun Lilley added: “I would agree that the town must not be allowed to stagnate but I believe we need to move beyond the sound bite to a more transparent approach to publicly acknowledging the risks involved.
“We’re not against the purchase as such if a quick and positive outcome can be achieved. However, so far the whole idea appears to be based on a wing and a prayer and little more than a hope that Hartlepool council will be able to achieve something in two years that the previous owner couldn’t achieve in ten.”
Coun Lilley said there are also a number of other long-standing issues at the marina that still need addressing.
They include the adoption of the marina’s infrastructure by the council, and unpleasant smells which blight the area.
Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher was not available to comment.