Concerns have been raised by opposition councillors over the creation of a new development corporation to drive regeneration in Hartlepool.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has written to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up to formally designate the Hartlepool Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC), with a decision due in the near future.

If approved, the new organisation will cover the Oakesway Business Park, retail and leisure land – including Mill House Leisure Centre and Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, along with public areas and civic buildings.

The establishment of the MDC will secure £10m of “pump prime funding”.

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However a recent extraordinary meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council heard Labour councillors were “genuinely concerned about the proposal in its current form” and called for greater safeguarding measures.

Party councillors proposed the council should object to the corporation unless six conditions were agreed into its constitution.

This included assurance public assets would not be transferred without council consent, planning powers staying with the local authority and expanding the corporation’s board.

It also proposed transferring assets to the public ownership of the council once the corporation wound up.  Councillor Jonathan Brash, deputy Labour group leader, said: “It’s not about decisions of the day, it’s actually decisions of the future, a generational issue. This is about our duty to our town.”

However Councillor Shane Moore, council leader and board member on the corporation, stressed the council is still in negotiations around the constitution.

He said: “We want our development corporation to be a success because we want Hartlepool as a borough to be successful and we don’t want to set the MDC up to fail.”

The Labour motion was defeated, however councillors agreed to continue negotiations around securing assurances and safeguarding measures.

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