Thursday, 7 May 2009

Coatham Links development - MP's disassociate themselves from objectors campaign tactics

The following has been posted on Redcar and Cleveland Council's web-site:

Coatham Enclosure

Statement published by Vera Baird MP (6th May 2009)

"I know that most Redcar people support the Coatham Links development and want it to start as soon as possible. I have had doubts in the past about the number of houses to be built there, versus the amount of leisure facilities. But things like the fantastic new "MyPlace" seafront youth centre have tipped the balance. Coatham Links should be a great boost to Redcar, bringing more new people here and giving us all a leisure centre, swimming pool and many more facilities of which we can feel proud. The political parties on Redcar council oppose each other as they should in the interests of democracy, and if anything had been done wrong as this development evolved one political party or another would certainly have said so. But they are all, to a member, committed to Coatham being built as speedily as possible, in the interests of the people of the Borough.

"A very small group of protestors have got attention over the years. They have made serious allegations against the council and recently against me but these are untrue. They showed the MP for Scarborough, Robert Goodwill, an edited version of their protest film "Coatham - A Common Concern" to persuade him to show it in Parliament and then yesterday, having obtained his consent, showed in Parliament a longer version of the film that he had not seen that contains the nasty allegations and which he has totally disowned.

"The long legal campaign waged by these few protesters paid for through legal aid - has also held up this much needed and much desired community development.

"I look forward to sitting by the new pool with you - as soon as we can."

Statement issued by Robert Goodwill MP (6th May 2009)

"On Monday, I arranged for a group who call themselves the Friends of Coatham Common to show a film in a room in Parliament about Redcar Council's proposed development at Coatham. I had insisted on seeing the film in Scarborough before agreeing to book a room in Number One Parliament Street near the Houses of Parliament but as it was shown yesterday I realised that ten or more extra minutes had been added.

"I would not have agreed to show the film if I had know that in that ten minutes there were at least three allegations of financial corruption or conspiracy against the Council and its officers. There were also allegations that the local MP had been aware of this corruption and chose to ignore it. I immediately distanced myself from these new allegations to the audience when the film was over.

"Whilst I am sure that there are lessons to be learned from the whole Coatham Enclosure saga and the way a few local residents still feel dissatisfied with the way their objections were discounted, I refuse to endorse allegations of dishonesty against the Council and I have discussed what was said about her with Vera Baird, the local MP, and I am satisfied that it is untrue.

"This is the end of my involvement with the Friends of Coatham Common."

Coatham Links ..... the facts
A seafront destination forming a key part of the regeneration of Redcar, Coatham Links will be a mixed use development which will provide:
  • A new state-of-the-art leisure centre with 6 lane 25m pool, leisure pool, dance floor/performance space, 8 court sports hall, junior gym, 75 station fitness suite
  • 357 new dwellings offering a range of new homes for first-time buyers, families and retirement
  • New public spaces, lighting and landscaping
  • Combined public sector and private sector £millions investment
  • The creation - either directly or indirectly of up to 200 new jobs
  • New public house and restaurant
  • LifeStyle Sports Village
  • Health Village
  • Childrens Nursery

The Need For Change
Redcar has a history of being an extremely popular seaside resort - attracting visitors from the industrial heartland of Teesside and the north of England and lowland Scotland. Up until the 1960s the town prospered. Over the last 40 years, with changing holiday and visitor patterns and a decline in the traditional industrial base, spending within the local economy has declined.

Redcar annually attracts over 1 million visitors a year it is the Boroughs main retailing and commercial centre serving a wide catchment area as well as being a popular seaside resort for day visitors.

Facing the north sea, subject to the mood and landscape of an ever changing coastal light, with mile after mile of beaches, Redcar really is a jewel on the East Coast. There is no better place to feel the salt air, experience the fury of a winter storm or see the rising or setting of the sun turning the waves into beautiful back-lit artworks. Its stark relationship with the sea makes the town a special and unique place. Sitting or walking on the beach on a warm summers day there can be no better place to be. But visit the town in the winter months and it is all too apparent that its natural setting is let down by the quality of the streets, buildings and spaces with very few things for visitors to do. As a result there has been a lack of investment and deterioration of many buildings, streets and spaces within the town. This has contributed to a lack of quality and negative perception, which inhibit revitalisation and diversification.

Although Redcar has made dramatic steps to reverse its decline, apart from residential development on the south of the town and the new Regents Walk Shopping Centre in the heart of Redcar, the pace of regeneration has been slow and we now need a step change in our approach. The Coatham Links Scheme forms a part of a multi-million pound regeneration investment programme for Redcar. It will bring a whole new community to Redcar and increased visitor numbers, which will help to raise economic prosperity and raise the quality of the immediate environment to compliment the tourism experience.

The Coatham Links site covers an area of 35 acres at a seaside location on the west side of Redcar. In 2002 the Cleveland Golf Club was relocated to accommodate the development, the remaining parts of the site have been previously developed.

Today the site offers a unique opportunity to regenerate a run down area at a coastal location.

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