I was very interested to read that Councillor Brash was angry at the shortfall in the funding for the Tall Ships race and his demands that someone be accountable. Well in my opinion a fair portion of the blame should be laid squarely at Councillor Brash’s own door as leader of the Labour Group on Hartlepool Council.
While I was a Councillor for St.Hilda Ward I spoke out many times about the costs of the event and even specifically warned that it was folly to rely on the park and ride scheme to fund the Tall Ships. It was obvious to me that the event was going to end up considerably in the red and cost Hartlepool residents a great deal of money unless the project was very tightly controlled and monitored. I remember Councillor Brash having some fairly pointed things to say about my “doom mongering” at the time. It is a shame Councillor Brash refused to listen to what I was saying, preferring to go for party political point scoring rather than taking action to control the overspend. It's all very well being "angry" now it's too late to be of any use.
Hartlepool Councillors had years to question the way the Tall Ships event was being organized but they failed to do so. As almost a lone voice of caution I was told I was being pessimistic and talking Hartlepool down. I take no pleasure in being proved right about the spiralling costs of the event but I think it is wrong of Councillor Brash to now say he is angry about something he and Hartlepool Councillors, especially those who were on the Tall Ships Management Board, all failed to prevent.
(Former) Councillor St.Hilda Ward