The leaders of all the political groups on Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council have joined forces in condemning the tactics being used by a minority of protestors opposed to the Coatham Links re-development project. This follows the distribution of a leaflet and production and screening of a film by protestors.
In a joint statement, Cllr George Dunning, Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Chris Abbott, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Cllr Valerie Halton, Leader of the Conservative Group, and Cllr Steve Kay, Leader of the East Cleveland Independent Group, said: “Right across the political spectrum and in the seven years covering three different administrations, as a Council we have always put the needs of the Borough first in promoting the Coatham Links re-development project.
“The Coatham Links re-development project will deliver a massive improvement in the sports and leisure facilities available within the Borough, including a new competition-level swimming complex, a dance floor, indoor and outdoor sports facilities, and a space for the performing arts alongside a further development following the announcement of a £5millon Big Lottery Funded world-class youth, arts and media facility.
“The protestors’ allegations have now been investigated by the Police, Courts, Audit Commission, the local Member of Parliament and the Ombudsman – all of which has confirmed that the Council has done nothing wrong. Given this, a minority of protestors has decided to promote a fantastical conspiracy theory which is untrue. We urge the public not to be taken in.
“All that has ever motivated all of us at the Council is to do what is best for the Borough. We do have our political differences but on this issue we are all in agreement – the re-development project at Coatham Links is an opportunity to provide new facilities and benefits to the Borough and, as a Council, we are determined to deliver this to our residents.
“Throughout the development of the Coatham Links project, across all political parties, we have taken much time to listen to both supporters of, and objectors to, the scheme - as have our hard-working Council officers. We are convinced that the scheme is the right thing for our Borough and that it is widely supported. The latest tactics by a minority of protestors are a sad reflection on the way some people behave if they don’t get their own way - to accuse innocent people of wrongdoing because you can’t win the argument on merit is extremely reprehensible.
“But the protestors should know that as a united Council on this project we are not going to be turned away from doing the right thing by this hateful behaviour. We are going to continue to put the needs of the Borough first - because it’s the right thing to do.”