Why Hartlepool cabin community is set to disappear after 70 years

Hartlepool Smallcrafts Association directors left to right, Terry Bradley, Harry Marsh and Ron Clark.
Hartlepool Smallcrafts Association directors left to right, Terry Bradley, Harry Marsh and Ron Clark.

A community of cabin owners face being disbanded after 70 years in Hartlepool after a last effort to save them failed.

The Middleton cabins serve as a focal point for owners to socialise and work on hobbies.

Middleton cabins in Hartlepool

Middleton cabins in Hartlepool

They began in the 1950s and have occupied their current site in Ferry Road since 2009.

The cabin owners say if they go, the only thing left of Middleton Village will be the Hartlepool Smallcrafts Association founded by the cabin owners in 1968.

Land owners PD Ports say they are willing to enter into a new lease with Hartlepool Borough Council, which then leased the site to the cabin owners at a subsidised rate for several years.

But due to funding pressures, the council says it can no longer afford the £10,000 rent subsidy and cabin owners have been given until April 23 to clear the site.

One of the cabin owners Ron Clark said: “It is a focal point that’s been there for 70 years. One person is disabled and comes down every day.

“People use the shed to store things or to use as little workshops.”

The cabin owners were granted a stay of execution last year and with the help of the council, have applied for various grants over the last year to try to fill the £10,000 hole.

But all were refused as the cabins are owned by individuals and were not recognised as a ‘community’.

Ron added: “There are no plans in place for further use of this land, it is just another cost cutting exercise by Hartlepool Borough Council at the demise of 70 years of history of Middleton Cabin Owners.”

PD Ports said: “PD Ports has confirmed to Hartlepool Borough Council that it is willing to enter into a new lease, although as yet the council hasn’t indicated what length of lease it might require.”

But a Hartlepool Borough Council spokesperson told the Mail: “The council has for a number of years taken a head lease from the site owners PD Ports and then subsequently leased the site to Middleton Cabin Owners Ltd (MCOL) at a significantly subsidised rate, at cost to the council.

“In the present financial climate and with difficult decisions needing to be made on council funding priorities, it was considered that this could unfortunately no longer continue.

“The council is aware of ongoing discussions between MCOL and other parties including the site owners PD Ports with a view to MCOL continuing to occupy the site.

“As previously said, the council cannot continue to take a head lease, however if PD Ports wants to deal directly with MCOL then the council would support this approach.

“If no independent agreement is reached between MCOL and PD Ports, then unfortunately the council will have no option but to continue working with the cabin owners to aid the removal of the cabins ready for the lease ending in April.”