Tuesday, 14 February 2006

Coatham Links is the start of Redcar's renaissance

Posted by Chris

The Coatham Links project is the most important development in Redcar for decades. It will stimulate the town’s resurgence.

It is a straightforward plan to regenerate a rundown section of seafront, get state of the art swimming and leisure facilities and attract tourism and jobs. It will replace a stretch of coast-line spoilt by derelict land, once part of a golf course, by a dilapidated leisure centre and by boy racers. It is a blot of the seaside landscape.

Vera Baird MP and the protesters are incorrect. We do not qualify for a Private Finance Initiative for a swimming pool because we already have four in the Borough. It is as simple as that. We would have to close a couple of existing pools to qualify. Which ones would the protesters choose?

The only choice we have is between hiking up the Council Tax and saddling people with years of debt or using the receipts from the sale of part of this site for much needed housing to trigger grant funding that will provide us with the leisure facilities we so badly need.

The development agreement will ensure that the leisure centre and swimming pool are provided in the first phase.

The legal opinion about the covenants that the Council received from a barrister is advice for use in court. It rehearses the arguments our opponents may use and advises on the legal challenges to them. That is why we cannot make it public. The covenants protect the Council as the landowner. Why should the Council use a covenant to stop its own project?

Since the Coalition (Lib Dem 16, Con 13, Ind 2) took it over, local people have been consulted time after time. The Council has listened and made several modifications to improve the overall project.

The Coatham Links project will bring more prosperity to the area. It is a brilliant idea to give local people more leisure opportunities.

In future years the Coatham Links project will be looked upon as the start of a real renaissance in Redcar and the surrounding area

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