Have a say on sea defences

CONCERNED residents are being urged to air their views about controversial coastal defence plans at a meeting next week.

Experts say hundreds of homes on Hartlepool’s Headland, the historic Heugh Gun Battery, St Bega’s Primary School, the lighthouse and the memorial are under threat from coastal erosion within the next 100 years unless millions of pounds is spent on sea defences.

Consultants Mott MacDonald has put forward four options to bolster sea defences - one of which involves the partial demolition of the sea wall and promenade, adjacent to the Town Moor.

That fourth option has angered residents, and they want it removed from the consultation plans.

The other three options include various ways of strengthening the wall.

Now independent councillor John Marshall, who represents the St Hilda ward, is encouraging residents to attend a meeting next week to air their concerns.

The ward surgery will be held in the Borough Hall, in Middlegate, on the Headland, on Tuesday, August 30.

Mayor Stuart Drummond and council officers have been invited to the meeting, which will be held between 6pm-8pm.

Coun Marshall said: “There is an enormous amount of concern across the whole of Hartlepool about the fourth option and the consequences for this area of town.

“People want to see the sea defences maintained.

“The Mayor has accepted my invitation to come along with two officers to try and answer queries by the public.

“The meeting is open to anybody that wants to come along, but particularly those residents from the St Hilda ward.

“This is a good opportunity to put any questions or queries to the council.”

Coun Marshall said residents will also be able to raise any other queries they have about the area in which they live at the ward surgery.

Labour’s John W Marshall and independent Tim Fleming are the other councillors that represent the St Hilda ward.

A campaign group called Stop the Heart from Being Ripped out of Hartlepool - which is opposed to option four - has already been set up and a petition launched, as previously reported by the Mail.

Copies of the petition are available to sign in Headland pubs and the Hartlepool Mail reception, in Wesley Square.