Would-be breakaway parish councils remind Hartlepool council leader of no confidence vote in critical open letter

Four parish councils have reminded Hartlepool’s council leader that a vote of no confidence still exists after he praised such grassroots organisations.

From left Greatham Village chairman Brian Walker, Hart Village chairman John Littlefare and Elwick Village chairman Hilary Thompson.
From left Greatham Village chairman Brian Walker, Hart Village chairman John Littlefare and Elwick Village chairman Hilary Thompson.

The leaders of Elwick, Hart, Dalton Piercy and Greatham parish councils have written a joint open letter to Councillor Shane Moore in which they accuse him of failing to engage meaningfully with them.

The move was prompted after Cllr Moore praised the difference parish councils can make, including referring to projects in Greatham and Dalton Piercy, and encouraged other communities to think about forming their own.

But in the letter, the chairmen of Hartlepool’s four rural parish councils say: “Whilst we fully support the promotion of parish councils where these would add value to a local community, we four rural parish councils have had a bad deal from the Borough Council for many years and, when we tried to emphasise this via a Vote of ‘No Confidence’, in spring 2021, you failed to engage meaningfully with us.”

Hartlepool Borough Council leader Cllr Shane Moore.

They also expressed their wish to leave Hartlepool for Durham County.

The parish councils went on to draw up a proposed charter setting out how the borough and parish councils could work effectively together.

But they say they are still waiting for feedback promised after a meeting with Cllr Moore and the council’s managing director last August.

The letter added: “We have offered to host a meeting between you and the rural parish councils to progress this and find a way forward, but you have consistently failed to respond.

“How can you say that you believe parish councils are of great value when you have so little regard for the majority of those of us who have been in existence for over a century?”

Responding to the letter, Cllr Moore urged the four parish councils to attend Parish Liaison Meetings with the borough council.

He said: “Parish councils can and do perform some wonderful work at a really local level and this can be seen across the Borough.”

Cllr Moore went on: "Whilst it is of course disappointing to read that the Chairmen of the Rural Parishes still believe they get a bad deal from Hartlepool Borough Council, it is not surprising given they refuse to attend organised Parish Liaison Meetings with myself and the Managing Director.

"These meetings give all Parish Councils have an equal opportunity to raise the concerns of the local communities they represent.

“We cannot deal with their concerns if they do not turn up.

"Dates have already been sent out this years Parish Liaison Meetings and I would encourage all Rural Parish Chairmen to attend them to discuss any matters they wish to raise, as the Chairman of the Headland Parish Council does with great success.”

Hilary Thompson, Chairman of Elwick Parish Council, said the four parish councils want to work with the borough council but are at an impasse.

She added they agree their unresolved issues with the council need to be addressed first before they rejoin the Parish Liaison Meetings.

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