More staff to keep Hartlepool clean

Eight new recruits are being appointed as part of a new drive to improve Hartlepool neighbourhoods.

Tuesday, 26th June 2018, 1:16 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th June 2018, 1:23 pm
Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher (left) and Garry Jones, the Councils Team Leader, Cleansing and Grounds Maintenance, with environmental operatives Peter Rudge, Brian James and Brent Atkinson tackling back street fly-tipping.

Hartlepool Borough Council is boosting its work to keep the town clean and tidy with the recruitment of eight new staff for its environmental workforce.

Despite the significant reduction in local government grant which the council has suffered in recent years, the new chairman of the council’s Neighbourhood Services Committee, Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher says he is committed to channelling additional resources into Hartlepool’s neighbourhoods where residents need them.

Coun Akers-Belcher said: “We listen closely to what residents tell us about the issues which matter to them – including potholes, litter and grass-cutting – and in response the council is putting significant investment into improvements to neighbourhoods and roads across Hartlepool.

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“We have a very dedicated team who care about the work they do and are doing the very best they can in spite of the massive financial pressures and reduced resources we face, but they can only do so much.

“That’s why, as my first priority, we will soon be recruiting eight new environmental operatives to boost the existing team.

“With more staff we will be able to take more time on areas such as grass cutting and carry out ‘deep cleans’ in neighbourhoods, including gulley cleansing, removal of weeds from footpaths and replacing damaged paving, among other things.”

This comes hard on the heels of other major investment by the council. It recently approved a £1.5million Neighbourhood Investment Programme, including a revamp at King Oswy Shops, road improvements at Stranton Cemetery, a new playspace on Coronation Drive and paving works in Whitby Street.

This is in addition to nearly £10million of revenue funding the council has channelled in over the period 2013/14 to 2018/19 to maintain the town’s roads and footpaths, as well as £21million of capital funding.

A further amount of between £1.6million and £2.4million – from a saving on a loan repayment – has just been earmarked for road and footpath improvements.

The cash is intended to be ploughed into improving the town’s estates.

It comes after Hartlepool Borough Council’s Finance and Policy Committee agreed to use £100,000 of recurring annual savings to help borrow between £1.6million and £2.4million.

The £100,000 is a result of loan repayment costs being less than the council previously budgeted for.

The recommendation for how to use the saving is said to be in response to Coun Mike McLaughlin’s recent pothole campaign.