Play area finally set to be built in Bishop Cuthbert

The land at Hartfields
The land at Hartfields
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A CONTROVERSIAL neighbourhood park which has divided opinion among residents is finally set to be built.

Back in November 2012, Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee gave the go-ahead for a new park on the town’s plush Bishop Cuthbert estate, which had been in the pipeline for several years.

The issue has divided the community after residents at the Hartfields Retirement Village, which will be next door to the park, voiced their concerns.

Residents wanted it moving further away from their homes due to concerns about traffic and noise fears, potential anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

But councillors have welcomed the park, which will feature two play areas, a multi-use games area and a bandstand.

Labour councillor Paul Beck, who represents the Hard Ward, said Persimmon Homes have appointed a contractor to develop the play area and neighbourhood park, which will be completed by March, 2014, weather permitting.

Coun Beck, who said he is looking forward to the opening ceremony, said: “I am thrilled to bits with this great news as I have put a lot of time and effort in campaigning for this facility, along with several other councillors on the ward before me.

“We have had a lost generation of young people who were promised this facility and who have now grown up. Hopefully, their children can now benefit from this facility.”

But a 74-year-old member of the Hartfields Residents’ Association, who didn’t want to be named, said: “The residents don’t mind the park but it should be away from Hartfields.

“Some of the residents are up to 95 years old and don’t want to be disturbed in this way.”

Despite the concerns the council’s planning committee unanimously backed the plans last year.

There is already a 62-space car park which is used by patients visiting a doctor’s surgery at Hartfields and that will be used by people using the park.

Once built, the site will be managed by Hartlepool Borough Council and while the park will be open at night the play areas will be locked with fencing around the play equipment.