I am so glad that Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, has taken to wearing his philanthropist and humanitarian hats of late.
He stated that the council has agreed to take hundreds of Syrian refugees, and accommodate them in the town.
However, I wonder, while the council leader was making this humanitarian decision, did he pause and take into consideration the families already living in Hartlepool in overcrowded accommodation who are currently on housing waiting lists?
I don’t know exactly where he intends for these Syrian refugees to be housed.
The new houses planned for east of Greatham Creek towards Claxton Bank, or perhaps the new housing development on the Steetley site?
But I do know of one option that the he has never contemplated.
Many years ago the nasty Tory Party, which our MP often whinges and whines about, gave the council many, millions of pounds to make compulsory purchases of a block of streets bordered by Blake Street, Rodney Street, Murray Street and Hart Lane.
A block of some 300-plus houses.
They were then boarded up, and no further action has been taken for the past two years or so.
So, instead of demolishing these houses, why doesn’t the council use these millions, given to it by the Conservatives to refurbish them and offer them to the Syrian refugees to live in?
I am sure that one of these houses, properly refurbished, would be far better than living in a tent without heating or sanitation in some flea-bitten, sand-blown wilderness in the middle of nowhere on the Jordanian border.
Then there is the ongoing prospect of some 300-plus council tax payments every month to the council.
It is a “win, win” situation for everyone, and it won’t cost the council a single penny as they already have the many millions of pounds in their bank account.
The refugees get a proper home, the council gets loads of money in council tax, and Hartlepool gets a Syrian quarter with all the commerce that goes with it.