Call for village to leave Hartlepool to join Durham is 'not the way forward'

A newly-elected councillor in Hart has urged caution following calls for the rural village to leave Hartlepool Borough Council and return to Durham County Council.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 9:14 am

Cllr John Riddle noted at this week’s Hart Parish Council meeting a resident stated “people in the village are not happy” over the village being “neglected” by the borough council and called for a public consultation

They said it came after “several years of increasing frustration” and they would now “prefer to leave Hartlepool and return to Durham County”.

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New Hart councillor John Riddle would not support any move by the village to join Durham County Council.

Borough Council bosses have “refuted” the vote of “no confidence” and said they would be responding in the near future to a letter outlining their concerns on behalf of all four parish councils.

Cllr Riddle, who was first elected as councillor for the village in 1976 under a different council set-up, said he was against Hart leaving Hartlepool.

He said: “If they think that returning to Durham County Council is a good move, they will do it without my support.

“Yes they have been neglected by Hartlepool Council, yes some of the views expressed by the parish council have been ignored, but returning to an authority that neglected them in the past is not the way ahead.”

Hart Parish Council was one of four parish councils in Hartlepool to sign a letter of "no confidence" in Hartlepool Borough Council.

Cllr Riddle, who is representing the area as a independent councillor after being successful in the recent local elections, feels the village previously faced worse issues when it was part of Durham County Council.

He said: “If villagers think they are being neglected by Hartlepool Council, they should cast their minds back to 1951 when Durham County Council had on their books plans to build the Hart bypass.

“Twenty five years later when 1,000 vehicles a day passed through the village it was still laying dormant.

“When Hart moved under the wing of the now defunct Cleveland County Council the by-pass was approved and started under my watch.”

He added: “The ball is now firmly in Hartlepool Council’s court.”

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