Four Hartlepool villages have 'no confidence' in borough council and want to join Durham
The four rural parish councils in Hartlepool have come together to issue a combined vote of "no confidence" in the borough council.
Elwick, Hart, Dalton Piercy and Greatham parish councils all held extraordinary meetings in recent weeks where they issued individual votes of no confidence in Hartlepool Borough Council.
They said it comes after "several years of increasing frustration" and they have expressed their desire to "leave Hartlepool for Durham County" in a letter to the authority.
Hartlepool Borough Council bosses have "refuted" the vote of no confidence and said they will be responding to the parishes in the near future.
A statement on behalf of the four parish councils cited issues such as "Hartlepool Council's overwhelming town-centric view", claiming the needs of rural communities are ignored.
Other concerns include "the failure to address the negative impact on the entire rural area due to ever increasing traffic pressure" and the lack of community provision at Wynyard "after 20 years of intense development".
Traffic pressure has seen rural roads through Dalton Piercy and Elwick villages becoming a "rat-run" for drivers to the A19, they added.
A letter, signed by the chairs of all four parish councils and sent to borough bosses, expressed their desire to "leave Hartlepool for Durham County".
They said: "The list of concerns is not limited to the above and, as a result, the rural parish councils have come to the conclusion that our borough council has no interest in the rural community other than to collect a very high level of council tax from its residents.
"We have, therefore, decided that we would prefer to leave Hartlepool and return to Durham County."
Parish council bosses also criticised the "repeated planning decisions made contrary to Hartlepool Rural Neighbourhood Plan policies", which was adopted in December 2018 to help shape rural development.
They said borough council planning committee meetings earlier this year, which saw further new homes approved impacting rural areas, were the "catalyst" for the extraordinary meetings.
Hartlepool Borough Council intends to reply fully to the points soon.
A spokesperson said: “We have acknowledged receipt of a letter from the four Rural Parish Councils of Hartlepool borough.
“We refute the vote of no confidence and we have pledged to provide a comprehensive response to the points raised following the upcoming elections.”