Council to target anti-social behaviour on land set aside for Stranton Cemetery expansion
Councillors have unanimously backed plans to undertake work on land subject to numerous anti-social behaviour incidents to make it suitable for a cemetery extension.
The land was formerly used for allotments and is next to Stranton Cemetery in Hartlepool, with plans in place for it to provide future burial spaces.
The land has remained vacant since 2018, after 52 allotment holders had to be relocated from the Stranton site to other allotments to allow for the expansion.
However in recent months the site has been a target for anti-social behaviour, such as arson, fly-tipping and illegal drug taking, and damage has been done to the boundary fencing.
Council bosses said they have identified urgent works with remaining allotment sheds and more intensive work will be carried out to clear the site and make it appropriate for burial land.
Councillors on Hartlepool Borough Council Finance and Policy Committee unanimously approved procurement for the works.
Council leader Coun Shane Moore said: “This is an issue that was brought to my intention quite quickly and people have reported it to me regularly since.
“I think it is right we get this done now and I’m pleased to see that everyone seems to be in agreement that it’s the right thing to do.”
Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher said he has had constant resident complaints over the land, who have pointed out the council would be quick to take action if residents let their land fall into a similar state.
He said: “We get constant residents complaints about the land.
“I went out to see a resident who lives adjacent to this piece of land and what they were saying was if his land was in the state that our land was in, our team would take quite robust enforcement action against him.
“The main thing for me is if we are going to agree this work to be done, how are we going to safeguard that it is not subject to further fly-tipping, further anti-social behaviour.”
Denise McGuckin, director of regeneration and neighbourhoods on the council, said the land is already designated as cemetery land which will be reinforced by the council following the work.
She added a security company will be responsible for the site and patrols will be undertaken, along with signs being placed to clearly state it is designated cemetery land.
Following the work the site would need a period of time to settle before it can be used as a burial ground.
The amount of time can vary, but council bosses estimate it could take five years, so they would want to start work this year or early next year to have the land available for 2025.
The proposal will now go before a full council meeting later this year to be rubber-stamped.