Mike Hill MP: Embrace the changes that are happening

An artist's impression of the waterfront development.
An artist's impression of the waterfront development.

ANY visitor to Hartlepool wouldn’t have to look very far to see the effects that a decade of austerity has had on the town. It would be very easy to come away from Hartlepool with a gloomy impression.

On the other hand, a visitor with an optimistic outlook on life and a vision for what’s possible could look on the town as a largely untapped jewel. You could leave the town having walked on some of the best beaches in the country and seen incredible history on the Headland.

I take the latter optimistic view and I’m delighted that the vast majority of the residents of Hartlepool have the same outlook. Yes, there are the usual voices of negativity, who criticise everything but these people are just a tiny but noisy minority spreading their gloom in an echo chamber.

So, let’s look at what we’ve got and how we can build on it. Well, we can start with the Trimcomalee that I mentioned in last week’s column. This really is the jewel in the crown and offers a unique opportunity for us. No surprise then that I’m delighted with the council’s plans to develop the nearby Jackson’s Landing area and link it to the Royal Navy museum attractions.

I was particularly impressed that water sports are going to be an intrinsic part of the Jackson’s Landing development. Hartlepool is a coastal town with miles of beaches and access points to the sea. It would be madness not to use these natural attributes.

As well as the council’s ambitious plans for the Marina area, the proposed revamp of Church Street is exciting and makes perfect sense. It’s the sort of joined up thinking town’s like Hartlepool need in order to thrive and prosper. The fact that the Church Street plans take into account the superb Cleveland College of Art and Design and Hartlepool’s other town centre College, once again shows that council officers and consultants are using every tool in order to wring the maximum benefits at a time when things are tough.

But it’s not just the public sector who play a part in any advances the town makes. Private money needs to be brought in at every opportunity. Whether it be the enterprising businessman who has recently opened an excellent fish and chip shop in the Church Street area, the little cafe in Church Square that is hosting live music or a large chain like Costa Coffee opening, they all play a part in what I see as a very positive and exciting chapter in the story of Hartlepool.

I was also very pleased to hear that Hartlepool Council have successfully acquired items, using the Museum of Hartlepool’s Purchase Fund, relating to the three Jones brothers, from West Hartlepool, killed in the First World War. Theophilus (Theo) was the first soldier to be killed on British soil by enemy action. Plans are underway to display the items at Heugh Gun Battery Museum in 2018, as part of the Council’s plans for Commemoration of the Armistice. I recognise the bravery of these three brothers, and I am proud that these items will be on display next year.

I’d like the fantastic people of Hartlepool to embrace the changes that are happening and propel them forward with their legendary good humour, positivity and gratitude.

Being negative only encourages more negativity but being positive can be infectious and send the seemingly mundane to a different plane.

Please do your bit to encourage and promote the changes that are happening. It’s our town and our future. Get behind it.