Residents feeling ‘abandoned’

Boarded up homes in Richardson Street
Boarded up homes in Richardson Street

RESIDENTS have spoken of their nightmare living in abandoned streets and welcomed funding aimed at transforming the run-down area.

The Carr Street and Hopps Street area is set to be demolished after Hartlepool Borough Council successfully applied for government funding to help finish the housing market renewal programme (HMR) scheme.

The council has been awarded £2m, which they must match-fund.

Residents still living in the area say they put up with damp, rats and crime while the vast majority of the 207 properties are boarded up ahead of demolition.

Streets to benefit from the work, expected to start next year, include Carr Street, Rodney Street, Richardson Street, Hopps Street, Blake Walk, Jobson Street and Hart Lane.

The Mail spoke to several residents, all of which rent from private landlords.

Divorced dad-of-two David Brown, 61, of Hopps Street, who suffers with emphysema, said: “We feel as though we have been abandoned. There are problems with drugs and houses are often broken into.”

Unemployed Donna Trundley, lives in Hopps Street with partner David Sanderson, 25.

The 37-year-old said: “It is horrible living here; the boarded up buildings are an eyesore.

“I am pleased with the news and we look forward to moving.”

An unemployed 48-year-old, who lives in Richardson Street, but didn’t want to be named, said: “It is disgusting round here and we have problems with rats, damp and crime.

“It is good news and hopefully I will get somewhere better to live.”

He said he moved in a year ago as there was nowhere else available at the time.

Retail worker Melissa Hodge, 19, of Jobson Street, said: “There is only a handful of people still living here and I’m pleased the money has come through.”

Barbara Flounders, 27, has lived in Jobson Street for 10 years and said it has changed dramatically.

The mum-of-one said: “I have been here 10 years in January and I feel intimidated now.

“It is not nice to see the area decline.

“It is an eyesore and we should have had the money years ago.”

Labour councillor Pamela Hargreaves, cabinet member for transport and neighbourhoods, said: “It has been a priority area for the local authority for a while and it is fantastic that all of the effort has resulted in this investment, which we hope will greatly improve the area.”

In response to claims residents have been abandoned, Coun Hargreaves added: “The reductions nationally in terms of money for house building has had a devastating effect, particularly for areas such as Hartlepool.

“This investment will help regenerate the area and hopefully help stimulate the housing market.”

The current Government axed Labour’s HMR scheme as part of its comprehensive spending review, but as a result of lobbying from local authorities a £35.5m transition fund was set up.

Tees Valley has been awarded £6.2m to help residents in Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Stockton.

Across the region 536 properties will be flattened, the sites grassed over and the use of the land subject to consultation.

Labour councillor Jonathan Brash, cabinet member for housing, has previously said Hartlepool has a “proven track record” of breathing new life into out-dated housing areas.

l Follow Richard Mennear on Twitter @RMennearHMail