Council leader claims Hartlepool authority is ‘envy of Tees Valley’ for its budget status after cuts

Hartlepool Civic Centre.
Hartlepool Civic Centre.

COUNCIL officers have been commended for making Hartlepool “the envy of the Tees Valley” for its budget status.

Praise came from Hartlepool Borough Council leader, Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, after hearing a quarterly report on the council’s estates and regeneration.

During a meeting of the authority’s regeneration services committee, Dale Clarke, the council’s estates and assets manager, said his department was “well on the way” to delivering its target of £6.5m of capital receipts for 2012-16.

Mr Clarke gave an overview of key areas of work carried out by his team, including development and regeneration, capital receipts and community asset transfer.

He said: “From a regeneration perspective, the ability to influence and bring forward a number of regeneration schemes will have significant influence in relation to the future of the town.”

Mr Clarke said work done had included preparing Hartlepool’s Vision, a radical blueprint to breath new life into the town and work on the preparation of a regeneration masterplan covering key sites including the acquisition of Jacksons Landing.

He added that other work included the Seaton Carew regeneration scheme and housing market renewal, including compulsory purchase orders of properties in the Hurworth, Perth, Carr and Hopps Street areas to make way for development.

Mr Clarke added that the council’s “rationalisation” scheme had included libraries and community centres, “releasing sites such as Foggy Furze and the Tanfield Road Nursery”.

He said: “With the £6.5m capital receipts target which we are well on the way to delivering, we have been successful in a very difficult market.”

He said community asset transfers had freed up “potential for the third sector to use those properties to deliver services”, citing Jutland Road and Miers Avenue community centres as “successful” examples.

Coun Akers-Belcher said: “I commend the officers for what they have achieved, it’s really good. It does safeguard the future of Hartlepool and is an integral part of our Medium Term Financial Plan.

“If we didn’t have our officers achieving those best outcomes we wouldn’t be in this position where we are the envy of all the Tees Valley councils for the budget we have.”