Sunday, 17 June 2007

Labour on the lonely road to Damascus

The sheer hypocrisy of Labour Councillors is breath taking but we welcome their conversion to Coatham Links and their condemnation of the tiny handful of protesters who are trying to block this wonderful development for Redcar.

It is a pity they did not have the courage to support the proposals when they were in opposition. Then all they wanted to do is encourage the protesters.


Leading members of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council today (June 12) condemned protestors' actions to occupy the land set out for development for the multi-million leisure and housing complex by Persimmon Plc at Coatham Enclosure, Redcar.

Councillors have now approved legal action to remove the protestors from the site and are setting out their full support for the development.

It will provide a new leisure centre with a 6-lane, 25-metre swimming pool, a second exciting leisure pool with flume and water features, state-of-the-art gym with 75 'fitness stations', a children's gym, 5-a-side pitches, performance space for dance and music, new public rights of way, seafront apartments, alongside new mixed family and affordable housing and ongoing improvements to the boating lake and seafront promenade.

Councillor George Dunning, Leader of the Council's new administration, said: "We are determined to provide the very best for the people of Redcar and Cleveland. The Coatham Enclosure development is a major scheme that will not only benefit the residents of Redcar but also the wider Borough.

"Having now had the opportunity to fully explore and address any concerns we shared as elected representatives, I am confident this development is wanted by the majority of people in the Borough who have made their views known to us through a number of surveys, wide consultation, the recent election results and an open and democratic planning process - protestors will not deter us from delivering the benefits of regeneration to the majority of our residents.

"We will be taking the proper legal action to remove protestors from the site to ensure the development can go ahead."

The Cabinet Member for Economic Development Councillor Mark Hannon said: "We mustn't lose out on this opportunity to re-invigorate our own town of Redcar - this new development will bring new families, businesses, visitors and investment to the area.

"I am convinced if we don't take on and embrace the challenge of development and regeneration now, it is unlikely there will be a future opportunity for this type of investment in the future. It is disappointing that the actions of the few may impact in such a long-lasting and negative way across the Borough."

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism Councillor Sheelagh Clarke added: "Whilst I fully admire the actions of anyone who stands up to be heard, we must accept that approval of this development has been sought through open and democratic processes.

"The protestors to this scheme have been given fair hearing and the development has been given the go ahead in-line with Government policy and in-line with the majority of people who want the new facilities the development will provide."

Councillor Dave McLuckie, the Cabinet Member for Community Protection, said: "We are also aware of ongoing damage to fencing and property on the site which is generating considerable costs to the Council.

"We are currently monitoring the situation to establish the most appropriate course of action. Should any criminal activity be identified, this will not be tolerated."

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