North East business owners fear their livelihood will be affected by “Checkpoint Charlie” style restrictions over the Tall Ships event

The Tall Ships event is due to be hosted in Hartlepool for the first time in 13 years, Hartlepool Borough Council is anticipating a high volume of visitors over the course of four days, with the Headland being used as one of the entry points to the Marina, where the event is to take place.

Image| Hazel Chiverton, The Fisherman’s Arms landlady | SGM

Hartlepool Borough Council has announced there will be a park-and-ride service for members of the public wishing to gain access to the Headland during this time, despite the service not being as successful as anticipated at the 2010 event; and all Headland residents must apply for a parking permit to gain access to the area and park outside their homes.

Hazel Chiverton, the landlady for The Fisherman’s Arms located on Southgate, is concerned that her business will be affected by the tight restrictions. Speaking with SGM, she said “I went to the Civic Centre to enquire how my customers would gain access to my pub across the event, and they could not give me a real answer.

We are supposed to have a band playing one night, and they told me I would have to get the registration number of the car the band would be traveling in, and their home address. When it comes to them gaining access to the Headland, I was told I would have to walk all the way to west view to Checkpoint Charlie and give them the permit on the evening.”

Hartlepool Borough Council released a map of the event, which appears to include only one park-and-ride bus stop, which will be located on Middleton Road, 2 miles from the Fisherman’s Arms pub. Meaning anyone wishing to visit over the four days will have to walk approximately 40 minutes to get there.

“The Majority of my customers are aged 50 plus, I can’t ask them to walk all that way, and taxis will be extortionate”, Hazel continued, “with all of the events happening at the Marina, nobody is going to come right down here.

“The Headland has been completely neglected.”

Hartlepool Borough Council has since released a document with frequently asked questions surrounding the parking permit scheme, however, the question of access to pubs in the area has not been addressed.

Glenn Murphy, The Fisherman’s Arms owner, said: “The council made a huge loss from the last Tall Ships in 2010, they have tried to make up for it this time by increasing stall prices and parking charges, but they have left it all to the last minute and they have done nothing for the main Headland. There will be no events or attractions on in the area.”

The business owners felt there is a lack of trust from Hartlepool Borough Council, and expressed that all headland residents and business owners should have been called into the Borough Hall for a meeting as a courtesy to answer questions and explain the new schemes and restrictions.

“They haven’t learned from last time, and you’d think they would.” Glenn Murphy added.

The Tall Ships event is scheduled to begin on Thursday, July 6 and end on Sunday, July 9. The event attracted around 970,000 visitors when it was last hosted in Hartlepool in 2010. In a report, Hartlepool Borough Council said “Allowing for last-minute cost increases, we anticipated a deficit of £123,000.

“A provisional figure for the event indicates an actual worst-case deficit of £720,000.”

A spokesman for the council said the park and ride scheme was expected to make £1.2m, but only generated £200,000.