Former councillor slams plans to build 100 homes on part of Hartlepool hospital site

Keith Fisher
Keith Fisher

A FORMER councillor has spoken out against a recent council decision to build 100 new houses on part of the University Hospital of Hartlepool site.

Keith Fisher has slammed the decision of Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee for narrowly agreeing the plans for a section of the Holdforth Road site.

At this stage the granted proposal is just for outline permission and the site is bounded in part by operational hospital buildings.

Mr Fisher, who last week lost his seat as an independent councillor for the Hart Ward, used to sit on the planning committee and voted against the proposals at the May meeting.

Mr Fisher has since spoken out about the decision and said several things had changed since the council’s planning committee had agreed the original application four years ago, raising concerns about what would happen to the Hartlepool site if the new £300m hospital at Wynyard isn’t built.

He told the Mail: “No money has been found to build, or even start upon, a new hospital out if town. Indeed, the Trust’s own deadlines and promised dates had come and gone many times within those years.”

He added: “I used these and other recent developments to illustrate how even our NHS itself could get things wrong and to build houses on our hospital site was the equivalent of pulling up our own drawbridge and then burning it.

“I actually used those simple words to emphasise the fact that there was no margin for error in such a proposal.

“If, for example, Lord Darzi’s original finding that ‘a one site option is a non-runner’ was ever found to be absolutely correct then ‘our site’ would be then found to be constrained, not suitable, too residential by the 100 houses built in it’s own grounds.”

The decision was tied at seven votes all before the chairman of the committee, Labour councillor Rob Cook used his casting vote in favour of approval.

Bosses at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust had originally given permission for the houses on the east of the Holdforth Road site four years ago. The plans were agreed subject to entering into an agreement to secure £280,000 towards green infrastructure, play and built sports facilities and highway improvements.