Innovative plan step closer

Robbie Payne
Robbie Payne

INNOVATIVE plans to provide more support to adults with disabilities have moved a step closer despite concerns over the time it is taking to get the project off the ground.

Hartlepool Borough Council is looking to redevelop land next to the Centre for Independent Living (CIL), in Burbank Street, in a partnership between the local authority and Mariner Care.

The care company will build 24 accommodation units for adults with physical or learning disabilities, but a new council-run centre for independent living that will replace the existing Havelock centre on the site is now subject to a tender exercise.

The finance and policy committee discussed the latest developments and agreed to enter into an option agreement for the two sites while also supporting in principle the development of a new Independent Living Centre in Burbank Street.

Members approved the preparation of a detailed business case and while councillors agreed it was much-needed Labour councillor Robbie Payne said the time - more than nine months - to get to this stage was “disgraceful”.

Coun Payne said plans were welcomed by the community and the developer had already committed substantially to the project, but the council seemed to have delayed the process.

Dave Stubbs, the chief executive, said the developer had been encouraged by the authority to link the redevelopment of the CIL with the bungalows development.

But it later became clear a formal procurement process for the CIL had to be carried out. Mr Stubbs said: “It has taken time and I accept some of the criticisms. There are lessons to be learned.”

It was said the developer could start work this month on the bungalows, which would accommodate a mix of adults.