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Hartlepool town centre car park decision delayed as councillors vote for site visit

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Planning bosses have delayed making a decision on proposals for a new car park near a town centre and a site visit has been ordered.

Hartlepool Borough Council planning committee had been recommended to approve plans for a 12 space car park for business permit holders at land behind Tower Street, Church Square and Cleveland College of Art and Design.

However objections were received that parking restrictions would discriminate against disabled drivers and it could restrict access to nearby buildings.

Dave Sutheran, who owns a nearby barber shop, spoke at the meeting about how the application, submitted by Hartlepool Borough Council, is not acceptable in its current form.

He said: “The scheme just needs a bit of tweaking.

“The parking bays are fine, but they can’t just be for cars, there needs to be spaces for transit vans.

“There’s a lady who lives in Church Square who has double gates into the rear of her property.

“Blocking access to this will seriously impact the value as and when she sells.

“The new proposal would see double yellow lines denying and discriminating my elderly and disabled customers who use Archer Street to access to my premises.

“This scheme needs a tweaking because the council are riding roughshod over people who have been here over 30 years and more.”

As well as the double yellow lines, the proposals also included provisions for new street lighting to be installed and the ground to be resurfaced.

The land is currently an unrestricted area but is informally used for car parking.

Councillors at the meeting voted unanimously to defer the plans in order to find out more information about the issues and to order a site visit  for councillors on the planning committee.

Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher, speaking at the planning meeting, said: “There has been very little dialogue about this application.

“I would like to see more dialogue over the issues with the application and propose a site visit takes place.”

The applicant said the appearance of the site would be ‘substantially improved’ by the proposals and the formal parking would improve the ‘cluttered’ ad-hoc parking currently seen at the site.

The proposal were submitted due to the Church Square refurbishment scheme removing regular car use from the square and a consultation with businesses showed more parking spaces were needed.

A planning statement issued on behalf of the applicant said: “The proposals are intended to provide a parking and delivery area for businesses impacted on by the closure of Church Square to vehicles on a regular basis.

“This will allow local businesses to be provided with dedicated parking bays as part of a permit system as well as ensuring that unrestrained parking does not impede business deliveries.”

A decision will be made on the plans at the next planning committee meeting.

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service