Wednesday, 6 May 2009


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.”


John Smith said...

What a load of bollocks!
When did you become establishment?

Anonymous said...

May I ask how the Lib Dems can push ahead with the building of 390 houses after the comments made by their Parliamentary candidate in the latest Focus edition?

""Communities need green space. Our young people need space to play. Adults need places to exercise and walk their dogs... Official figures show that there will be 3,000 LESS people of working age in the Borough by 2021. Do we really need all these houses... or is it just a desperate dash for cash by our local Council?"

Chris and Glynis Abbott said...

There is a world of difference anonymous between developing the Coatham Enclosure site, which we have campaigned for for more than twenty years, and building houses on school playing fields and long established public green spaces that we have campaigned to protect, also for more than twenty years.

Anonymous said...

What difference?

Chris and Glynis Abbott said...

Surely you can tell the differance between the shabby Coatham Enclosure site and real green spaces.

By the way why do you refer to "390 houses?"

Anonymous said...

It's been a green space since before you and I can remember it. Shabby yes, but that doesn't mean it will be improved by building houses on it, no matter what the number is.

The R&CBC vision of Coatham Enclosure was always going to be a mistake. Building houses in the Ings, new Ings and Mickledales have failed to regenerate the town. McInerney still have to lay a brick on their College garden site, so what hope has Persimmon Homes of selling houses no one can afford?

Chris and Glynis Abbott said...

The "green" section was, in fact a part of a private golf course for more than a hundred years. This was extended the other way some years ago to allow the development of this end of the site.

The housing on the site is much needed in that part of the town. It will help to pay for the development of the leisure side, bring people with spending power close to the town centre and lift the appearance of the area. It will also help to produce a sustainable development that will pay for itself in the long run. This is the only way the Council will meet the criteria set out by the various funding bodies that will contribute to the development and allow us to qualify for grant funding.

Housing is only built when the economic situation allows. The crucial thing in Redcar is that we fight to preserve the real green spaces in the town.

Anonymous said...

Well I think we'll have to agree to disagree.

One last question though. Do you believe we should spend several million pounds of public money on sea defences so these houses can be built?

Anonymous said...

I would like you to answer these questions.
1)Why have you ommitted to mention anything about the 359 houses that will be built and only mentioned the leisure?
2)Why havent you mentioned the visitors centre in the list of leisure?
3)why did this great council ha ha not enter into a 106 agreement that could of ensured persimmon left us with some leisure?
4)At what level do you mean when you say a new competition-level swimming complex?
5)Have any councillors seen the Barristors report into the covenants on this land?
6)Have you seen the Barristors report on the convenants if not then why not?
7)How much money as been spent on the fence surrounding the common and boating lake,does over £48,000 sound about right?
8)Why did this council agree to pay half of persimmons consultancy and legal fees?
9)Will our council be paying anything towards the sea defence wall in coatham that will only be needed if the houses are built?


Ian Swales said...

I totally support the Coatham Links project. It's exactly what Redcar needs to revitalise it's economy and leisure provision. Coatham people are well served with open spaces such as the beach, the dunes, Coatham Marshes, Locke Park, the cricket ground, the Boating Lake area etc. Many parts of the Borough have little or no public open space and the Council's new plans are aimed at reducing this even further. My comments relate to these new housing proposals not those already approved such as Coatham Links.
Ian Swales

Chris and Glynis Abbott said...

Posted by Chris

Anonymous 1:

Sea Defences are Government funded. If there are any required in connection with the building of new housing then I would expect that is a cost for the developer. I will find out more on this and report back later.

Anonymous 2:

If you click on the Coatham Links tag you will probably find the answers on this blog. Otherwise they will be somewhere in the Coatham Links section of the Council's website.

1 and 2. The report you refer to is concerning a report which is going to the Council's cabinet about the appointment of a contractor for the construction of the leisure centre which is in phase one of the development. The Leisure Centre is in a later phase. Why do you say 359 houses when most are flats and at least 60 not much more than rooms in a care home? Full details of the accommodation types can been seen in the Coatham Links section of the Council's website.

3. 106 agreements are not worth the paper they are printed on as they are often disregarded once planning permission has been obtained. The Council has secured a much more legally binding Development Agreement with Persimmons that includes penalty clauses if they fail to carry out the extra items that have been agreed. Details I am sure can be found on the Council's website.

4. I does not mention a "competition level" swimming pool.

5 and 6. I am sure Councillors if they wish could see this report. It contains advice to those acting on behalf of the Council who may need to use the information in court. It is therefore not in the interests of the Council, and the public it represents, that this information is made available to those who have an interest in seeking to stop the development. I have not seen it but have been informed about the contents and am content that there is no conspiracy. If you click on the Coatham Links tag there is a report that MP Vera Baird has investigated this matter and found nothing wrong.

7. I don't know how much money was spent. The fence round the boating lake has been there too long. The costs are otherwise necessary and were properly spent as part of this multi million pound scheme.

8. I would expect, but can't say for certain, off the top of my head, that as Persimmons will own around half the scheme whilst the Council retains ownership of the other half it has half an interest in the completion of the scheme. I can't remember the details but will check. I don't get the regular briefings I used to get as a Cabinet member.

9. See the answer above response to Anonymous 1