Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has welcomed new council move to clean up the streets.
Hartlepool Borough Council has taken on eight new recruits to boost its environmental workforce, which is working its way across the town.
There is absolutely no doubt about it our neighbourhoods have been neglected for far too long and the council is right to step in before things get even worse.Mike Hill
Mr Hill welcomed extra resources being put into cleaning up Hartlepool’s estates despite pressures on local authority funding.
“Local Government has been chronically underfunded for years, and the consequential strain on council budgets has impacted heavily on local communities,” he said.
“While it’s important for people to recognise that Government directives on council spending actually means the majority of funding has to go to Adult and Children’s Social Care, it’s clearly obvious that as a consequence the basic needs of our communities have been let down by that.
“There is absolutely no doubt about it, our neighbourhoods have been neglected for far too long and the council is right to step in before things get even worse.
“It’s fine and dandy to have showcase redevelopment projects like the Waterfront and Church Street and new housing estates to draw people in, which are important to the future offer and viability of the town.
“But if we don’t look after the needs of the people and communities who already live here, then such projects can be undermined and might ultimately only exacerbate the problem by creating new communities and new areas to look after.”
But there is still more to do, said Mr Hill: “The council could justifiably sit back and watch neighbourhoods waste away and simply blame the cuts.
“But at the end of the day they are ultimately responsible for the maintenance of the town.
“Looking after your own back yard and people is as vital to regenerating Hartlepool as building any number of hotels or visitor attractions, and I’m happy the council has realised that.”
The new recruits are part of additional resources which the recently-appointed chairman of the council’s Neighbourhood Services Committee, Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher, has pledged to channel into parts of Hartlepool which need them.
He said: “With these extra staff the team is now able to take more time on areas such as grass cutting and carry out ‘deep cleans’ in neighbourhoods.
“I am confident that in due course people will start to see a real difference in the appearance and cleanliness of our town.”