Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Euro Constitution

French "Non" throws the bread basket up in the air!

Despite some of the French enjoying a measure of "entente cordial" in South Shields Market Place over the Bank Holiday weekend, the party atmosphere was thrown into confusion as their compatriots delivered a resounding "non" to plans for further European integration. France rejected ratification of the European Constitution by a larger than expected margin.
The pressure is now on Tony Bliar as Britain readies to take it's turn in chairing the European movement for a six month stint. Does he go ahead with a promised referendum here, or does he abandon the plan altogether?
Should Tony Bliar decide to go ahead with a poll and subsequently suffer a jolting defeat, the blow to his authority as Prime Minister could be fatal and quickly pave the path for the succession of Chancellor Gordon Brown. It is also possible that, following talks within the European Council of Ministers, massive changes could be made to the proposed European Constitution, and those member states who have already ratified may be asked to repeat the process, this might include a new vote in France. The Dutch also vote this week and it appears highly likely that they will reject the proposals in heavier numbers than the French.
This might suit Bliar, as extended talks on a new constitution, or indeed, moves to talk it dead, might well ensure that he rides out his third term to completion (and sticks the knife in Brown again.)

So, as you moan and groan about the prices being charged in the Market Place yesterday for vin and pain, remember that the French may have done us all a huge big favour!

Local Questions

Attention Councillors! There are a couple of unresolved issues that have featured in this blog over recent months. Just over two weeks ago I mailed the Council Officer dealing with the Redhead's Landing question, I pondered whether or not the land is definately and finally "out of bounds" for the public. I am still awaiting his response, perhaps a Rekendyke Ward Councillor will be good enough to chase the matter?

Far more important is this question - "How long may a Council consider an application?"

I refer to the application for village green status made to protect the future of Temple Memorial Park. It seems to me that the Borough Council have been considering this application for months! When will they either give it their blessing or reject it? I have to say that here is something that concerns me greatly, I am quite worried that should the Council fail to raise sufficient external funding for the new "super school" at Chuter Ede, and they continue to obfuscate with the village green issue, it would be so easy for them to return with a proposal to build a school on Temple Memorial Park adjoining the leisure centre, as "the only viable alternative".

Once again this is an issue which needs to be addressed sooner rather than later, I would hate to see the efforts of Steve Pattinson and others, be frustrated by tightening purse strings!


Sunday, May 29, 2005

Wear on our way

Championship Season DVD - only 14.99

Sunderland AFC (who once again have incurred the wrath of our Borough Council by extending building work at the Academy of Light without planning permission) are marketing a DVD of the Championship winning season. It's title, Wear On Our Way, reminds everyone that we will be back in the Premiership very shortly. The DVD features interviews with Mick McCarthy and the players, highlights of the past season, and the victory parade through Sunderland.

One reason why I haven't been blogging much this past week is because I'm busy producing my own version of the DVD. Titled "The Championship Season" it features just about each and every goal scored by the lads in all competitions last season, as well as the victory parade through the city. Unfortunately the club were unable to allow me access to the players for interviews. An additional bonus is the inclusion of a number of our favourite Simon Crabtree moments!! ( The production costs for myself will be about 25p.)

The film is being made using Windows Moviemaker 2 and is in SVCD format, so will be playable in the vast majority of stand alone DVD players as well as pc based dvd software. I hope to have the post production finished by the end of next week - then it's back to some more serious blogging.


French Market

French Market

On a weekend when hoards of people are being ferried across the Tyne to North Shields to visit the WOW (Window on the World) Festival, South Tyneside Council decided to throw caution to the wind and provide a little competition. This came in the form of a "French Market" in our delightful old Market Place. There was a small turnout of French traders, about a dozen stalls, selling such wares as cheeses, dried fruits, cured sausages, jams and preserves, crepes, and other hot dishes. There was also a small fairground ride for children.
The traders would have had a long journey from France, at a considerable cost, particularly for those bringing their cooking equipment with them, so naturally some of the prices were a little higher than we might be used to in the delicatessan counter of the local supermarket, but trade was relatively brisk with queues forming at some of the stalls.
Further entertainment was provided in the afternoon with live music from a band called "Shake Your Tailfeather" fronted by Shieldsman Dale Meeks (aka Simon Meredith of Emmerdale).

Click pictures to enlarge

Simon's band which he described as a "seven piece mess" was a fairly tight blues outfit, drums, bass, lead, 2 x rhythm guitar, sax, and vocalist. They churned out some solid blues classics and my favourite was Meek's rendition of Otis Redding's "The Dock of the Bay", it seemed to me that at last Dale had found a song which sympathised with his voice.
Don't give up the day job mate! :o)

All in all, the day made a decent diversion and may have prevented some people from getting on the ferry, there really was a good crowd in the Market Place during the afternoon.

Which goes to prove my contentious theory that we need to do everything that we possibly can to persuade the organisers of the WOW Festival to give up on North Shields and bring the event to our side of the river. Their event has outgrown it's venue, and at times the crowds have been dangerously dense on the fishquay. We have far more space available on our side of the river, from the Littlehaven Hotel to the New Crown Hotel, two parks, a fairground, the "Dragon", the Market Place, "the lights" in King Street/Fowler Street, all offer ample opportunities for the erection of stages and musical events. Start the whole event with a parade and finish it with a fireworks display and we could have hundreds of thousands of visitors descending on the town and spending their money here.

The Mouth of the Tyne Festival on 9th. and 10th. July is a great step in the right direction, at least we have persuaded North Tyneside to work alongside us, we just need to push that much harder and drag the whole WOW thing over here, and hope that future festivals like "The Mouth of the Tyne" will compensate North Shields' dissapointment.


Thursday, May 26, 2005

Sacks of carrots

He is not a "W", he's a "sack of carrots"

This is not as funny as it looks, it's quite serious! A 15 year old boy identified only as "W" is launching an action in the High Court, with the backing of the human rights group Liberty, in attempt to stifle the government's, and Richmond-upon-Thames Council's, attempts to set up restricted area "curfew zones". This is a test case which aims to establish how far the Bliar bully state is infringing upon the rights of ordinary citizens. The policy of instilling "respect" amongst the cultureless yobs appears to be showing no respect at all for the ordinary law abiding mortals, who have to suffer restrictions on their freedoms, even when they are exceptionally well behaved.

Lord Justice Brooke summed up the question before the court, saying: "There is apparently a power to remove an under 16-year-old as if he were a sack of carrots, but what are his rights as a child?"

See the full story - click here

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Climate Change

The Day After Tomorrow

You can link to the film's official site above, it was a gripping, enthralling film illustrating the effects of climate change, the effects that will take place if, globally, we do nothing to prevent the growth ogf greenhouse gases, or more specifically, if we do nothing to suppress the global emmissions of carbon dioxide! Granted the world will not change as dramatically and speedily as it does in the film, but certainly changes will occur within the next century if we fail to act now.

Friends of the earth have set up a new site The Big Ask to put pressure on the government to introduce a law requiring us to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 3% year on year until we meet the targets set by the Kyoto Agreement. They are not just asking the government to act, they are also asking us to act too. We can act by lobbying our MP to sign an early Day Motion to set the ball rolling, we can act by signing the "e"petition on the site, we can also act by taking small measures to reduce our own output of greenhouse gases at home and with our transport. These measures are quite painless and will go a long way in educating society to look after the future health of the planet for our grandchildren.

I urge you all to take a look at the two links, and ASK yourself, can you afford to do nothing?


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Shopping Centre

Miliband Welcomes Shopping Centre News

Following the disclosure in this weblog that BHS are to take a unit in the new shopping centre in Waterloo Vale I have received the following comments from our MP, and Cabinet Minister, David Miliband;

"I am delighted that work is progressing well on the new development in Waterloo Vale - this is great news for residents and tourists. Next and Debenhams are respected high street names and it is fantastic that they have decided to open stores in the town. It is important that we continue to focus on the whole of our town centre, to ensure that shops in King Street and Fowler Street benefit from the new developments. I will continue working with South Tyneside Council to ensure that progress continues in the town centre and surrounding areas."

The Shields Gazette carried the following story on the front page of this evening's edition;

YET another big-name department store is coming to South Shields in a massive town centre revamp, the Gazette can today reveal.
After months of speculation, British Home Stores (Bhs) is now finalising plans for its flagship store at the new Waterloo Square development in the town centre, bringing with it 35 jobs.
Three of the four units have now been confirmed, with retail giants Next and Debenhams announcing their plans earlier this year.
The news is being welcomed as a huge coup for the town centre, which was widely regarded as going downhill after the closure of the Binns department store in 1994.
Peter Winfield, from the South Shields Chamber of Trade, said: "It's an excellent opportunity for the town again. To get three of the top names in retail to come here is amazing."
"This is a real vote of confidence and I'm sure they will be happy to be associated with South Shields."

With the new-concept store, Bhs finally confirmed the rumours circulating South Tyneside, ending speculation that has been ongoing since the turn of the year about the retailers signing up to the multi-million-pound Keppel Street development.

Leader of South Tyneside Council, Coun Paul Waggott, said: "This is yet more great news for South Shields and the borough as a whole.
You'd have been forgiven for thinking it couldn't really get any better after Next and Debenhams said they were borough-bound but it just has, thanks to BHS.
Every store but one has now been snapped up, and I'm sure it is only a matter of time before we can put the final piece in the jigsaw."

Coun Eddie McAtominey, lead member for corporate development, added: "The borough is on a roll and it is important that we capitalise on the job opportunities that this significant investment will bring.
People in South Tyneside have long been asking for major retailers to take root in the borough, and the presence of these three names is symbolic of the progress we are making.
This progress is down to the fact that we, as a council, believe in action not promises, and it is this approach which is making people sit up and take notice."

Store bosses confirmed their intentions today and said they are "very happy" to play a role in the redevelopment of South Shields town centre.

Frederick Street parking problems

This weblog has stirred up more action, with Northumbria Police promising increased traffic warden activity following the publication of my photograph of the area. However action may not be immediate as they wait for South Tyneside Borough Council to complete road markings and signage.

Senior Traffic Warden Harry Mellish said
"This has been like this for the past four years due to the regeneration of Frederick Street area and the lack of enforcement is because the council have still not completed road markings and also signage on the roads and parking areas, however they do promise me that it will be done in the very near future!"

However, I have asked him to look again at my photograph which clearly shows vehicles parked in a marked bus stop and alongside clearly marked double yellow lines!!


Monday, May 23, 2005

Shopping Centre

New Shopping Centre

I still can't believe the news that I received the other day about BHS coming to South Shields, isn't it just amazing and exciting that such high quality retailers are coming to our new development in Waterloo Vale, we now know it will house Debenhams, Next, and BHS. I am expecting mail soon from BHS' marketing department with their comments about their first venture in South Shields, I'd also welcome some comments from Cllrs. Paul Waggot, Leader of the Council, and John Anglin, who heads the Town Centre Working Group, and our MP David Miliband. I have of course, out of courtesy, asked them all to contribute a little something to this blog.

My guess is they, too, already know that BHS is coming to town, I would have thought some congratulatory back slapping was in order, and I'm sure an official announcement can't be too far away.

The new centre is to hold four large retail units, so we now wait to find out who will occupy the one remaining unit. I feel sure that the developers, Henry Boot, will come up with another quality non-food outlet for the town.


Sunday, May 22, 2005



No doubt many of you will have read of the video made by some of our army lads at the Al Faw base in Iraq, a great "take" of the Peter Kaye/Tony Christy "Is this the way to Amarillo" cd and video. The MOD's server crashed under the weight and volume of email traffic after this clip was emailed around our squaddies. Luckily the top brass saw the funny side and praised the effort for helping to raise moral. Have you seen it yet? No?

Download the video here (right click and "save target as"), please note this is a long download, 26.0Mb, not suitable for a 52k modem, broadband users will do it in about 8.00 minutes. Very high quality .wmv


Saturday, May 21, 2005

New shopping centre

New Shopping Centre

Click picture to enlarge

The new shopping centre steelwork continues to grow as it occupies the whole of the site formerly used by the police and fire stations. Excitement mounts as the developers, Henry Boot, and the Council drip feed us with information about which retail outlets will occupy the centre. We already know that Next and Debenhams have committed to two of the units and I learned today from a reliable source that a third retail giant has decided to open it's first outlet in South Shields. My source is someone I've known for many years through networking in the retail sector, however, because of the sensitivity of the job, my source must remain protected.

The third unit will be taken by British Home Stores, who have a large retail outlet in Newcastle upon Tyne and at the Metro Centre in Gateshead. I am presently seeking comments from BHS about their planned move into South Shields.

This is indeed good news for the town.


Friday, May 20, 2005


Dangerous Driving (well.....parking actually)

We all know that retailing is suffering in South Shields and the Frederick Street area is suffering more than most, in an effort to help out the Frederick Street Traders Association the Borough Council has provided lots of free parking to the rear of both sides of Frederick Street under the watchful eye of CCTV. There is also a small amount of free parking in and behind New Green Street.

So why do so many drivers decide that they will just park where they like in this area? Is it due to a lack of Traffic Warden or Police presence perhaps? On any given weekday you will find a number of cars parked on double yellow lines and in a bus stop in Laygate (between Laygate roundabout and the junctions of Frederick Street and New Green Street. Most of them will no doubt be visiting Al's Sandwhich Bar, Dickson's pork shop, or the Post Office. Little do they realise, that by parking where they do, they are forcing other drivers to drive on the wrong side of the road and into the path of the oncoming traffic.
This is clearly a very dangerous manoeuvre for the driver, and pedestrians have a very poor view when trying to cross the road at this point. It will not be long before we are reading of a serious accident here.

Click picture to enlarge

This picture was taken at 10.00 a.m. this morning before the area got as busy as it normally does.
It really is time that our local police and traffic wardens took a walk down here and issued a few tickets, these drivers would then start to think twice about their irresponsible behaviour. I would ask anyone in authority reading this post to pass my comments on.


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Shields Gazette

The Shields Gazette

My thanks go to Murray Kelso, crime reporter at The Shields Gazette for emailing me an apology for their unintended failure to give me credit for the photograph and story about the shotgun incident at Whitburn Beach.
Which reminds me of a time before Christmas last year when I had asked the Editor of the Gazette to kindly include Curly's Corner Shop in the list of local links on the Gazette's website, to this day they still haven't added a link. This is something of a shame because I often direct readers of this blog to pages in The Gazette when referring to local stories, and there is nothing at all controversial in my main website, it's a collection of photo galleries, a time line history of the town, and a collection of link resources for local organisations, it attempts to portray everything that is good about South Shields.
With a bit of luck Curly's Corner Shop might make it on to the links page of South Tyneside Today.

Peter Collins

The former National Trust Warden has lost his appeal against dismissal at an internal hearing, following the release of the controversial Trow Quarry report into the public domain. Mr. Collins had previously been charged with communicating National Trust matters relating to Souter Lighthouse, The Leas, and Trow Quarry to the local press and as such was only continuing what he saw as his normal duty. He will be pressing now for an industrial tribunal to find unfair dismissal. Mr. Collins has my fullest support.

Read the full story here.

Tomorrow I hope to report on an increasingly dangerous traffic parking problem in the town which is resulting in drivers having to drive on the wrong side of the road into the path of oncoming traffic.


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Whitburn Shooting

Whitburn Shooting Update

The Shields Gazette ran the story of the shotgun cartridges at Whitburn Beach tonight at the head of page 2, they report that the police state that a "local" farmer had been having a clay pigeon shoot down there, and that he had been spoken to and "advised" about such activities.

I have to say that I remain somewhat sceptical about the police statement, they suggested that this is what might have happened when they visited my home on Saturday evening, I told them then that it was an unlikely scenario, the weight of the traps (catapults for clay pigeon shooting) would preclude them being transported down a steep cliff side on small footledges.

It would have been courteous of the Gazette to mention this blog as the source of their story and also to point out to their readers that it was I who took the photograph (I am also the copyright owner of the image, creditation is a small price to pay.)

Redhead's Landing

To update this story, Terry Collins, the Head of Streetscape on South Tyneside Council, tells me that River Street (the site of the landing) was stopped up by a magistrate's order in 1971, the land is not registered and therefore it is difficult to ascertain the current ownership. As far as the public's right of way, to what we still assume is a public landing, is concerned, investigations are continuing. I will publish more details as soon as I have them.


Monday, May 16, 2005

Monday updates

End of Season Debris

The last of the season's football games have taken place on "the Dragon" yesterday, and as is now becoming normal the site was left in an absolute mess. I wish I'd taken the new camera with me to record the fact, but Sunday Mornings........you know how it is.
The pitches were littered with empty water bottles, sticky tape (used for keeping shin pads in place beneeth the socks), band aids, snapped lengths of bootlaces etc. These teams have to pay a fee for the use of the council pitches, it's not an awful lot, but they leave the place in such an unsightly mess! The weather yesterday was very pleasant and warm resulting in a lot of visitors to the sea front, many of whom parked their cars on Bents Park Road, before walking across "the Dragon". I too did the same, but had to pick my way through this debris in between the pitches.
It's also a danger for the gulls and other birds that land here, they pick anything up and could easily be choked to death on the lengths of electrical tape and bootlaces.
It wouldn't take too much organisation for each team to bring a bin liner with them and clean up their touchline at the end of the match, the rubbish could then be disposed of responsibly. I think the council ought to impose a hefty fine on those teams who leave the pitches in such a mess, that might make them think twice about it!


Saturday, May 14, 2005

"Safe" Trow Quarry

After South Tyneside Council had exhonerated itself by making a declaration that Trow Quarry and Graham Sands were safe for public use, I decided to have a look down there today to see how things were. It wasn't particularly warm with a stiff chiiled breeze blowing, but the weather wasn't too bad. There were quite a lot of people down there today, families playing with children in the quarry and also on the beach clambering over rocks and picking things up on the beach (despite the warning signs indicating that this should not be done).
The National Trust, which promised some months ago to take measures to restrict public access to Graham Sands beach, has indeed taken some action - they have erected a new notice! Needless to say, nobody had bothered to read it and they all roamed about the site without a care in the world. This is not what I imagined "restricting public access" would mean.
If this area is safe, why do we still need notice boards telling everyone what they should not do?

Click pictures to enlarge

I decided to investigate the beach at Graham Sands, you will remember that this is the place where the seaward facing edge of the infill is eroding and pieces are falling onto the beach, it is also the easiest escape route for landfill leechiates. Along the beach, where families were playing, I found something that worried me even further. I had already been to Marsden Bay and Sandhaven beaches but had not seen any similar things there. All along the beach the sea was depositing a strange sticky foam like substance. it had a brownish hue to it, and it's odour was none too pleasant, it literally stuck to the sand and refused to go away!

Click pictures to enlarge

I dion't know what this substance is, I only know that it looks and smells unpleasant, I have never experienced such a thing before, it looks rather like the quick expanding foam fillers that are available in DIY stores.

I personally don't think that this beach is either safe or clean for families to visit..............but who am I to raise such concerns!


Police response

Latest News

The latest news on the police response to my report of a possible firearm irregularity on the beach at Whitburn is that they have at last arrived at my house to get a detailed map of the area and to take away the samples of the shotgun cartridges that I had taken home.
The response time to this worrying find was a mere 25 hours!

Just think, a person with a loaded shotgun clambering over slippery seaweed covered rocks on a public beach............one slip and..........BANG! Who gets shot, the gunman or an innocent? The possibilities of a tragedy are enormous.

Must do better lads!


Friday, May 13, 2005

Shooting at Whitburn

Shooting at Whitburn Shock

I bring this matter to your attention purely as someone concerned for the safety of beach users at Whitburn. I, like many others, often enjoy exploring the rock pools behind the shooting range at Whitburn and teaching my children about the variety of marine life that can be seen at low tide. I also love to photograph this rugged piece of coastland, that's the reason why we visited today to gather material for my photoblog.

However, as I was lining up some pictures Junior Curly called out
"Dad, what are these?"
To my worry they turned out to be spent shotgun cartridges, Eley 28 gram to be exact. Junior continued to explore the beach, but now knowing what he had found, he went looking for more, and boy did he find more. Spent catridges lying all over the gritty sand in an area of about 200 suare metres, he collected over a hundred and put them in a pile, but it would have taken us hours to clean up the whole area.

Click picture to enlarge

This begs all sorts of questions - who is discharging a shotgun on the beach at Whitburn?
Is the weapon licensed and registered?
What were they shooting at?
Was this activity legal?
Why did they leave their spent munitions all over the beach?
Is it safe for other beach users when this type of activity is taking place?

Yes, I know it's just behind the army's firing range (the police went down the same road), but our soldiers are not issued with shotguns, which are a short range weapon and no good at all on the modern battlefield. Any firing from the range would not result in spent munitions falling onto the beach.

Click picture to enlarge

Spent shotgun cartridges fall at the site where the weapon is discharged from, therefore someone has been doing a lot of shooting at Whitburn beach. These cartridges are in relatively good condition, indicating that they have been on the beach for no more than two or three weeks. Surely someone heard the reports from the weapon? Not necessarily so, the beach is well hidden at the foot of the cliffs and more than 200 yards from the nearest properties, it would depend on the wind direction.

Click to enlarge map

The Police response

Junior Curly and I decided that we ought to inform the police about our find, so he put a handfull in his pocket and we drove down to South Tyneside's Area Command in Station Road, South Shields, arriving at the station at about 16.30
We spoke to a civilian operative who took us into a private office to take down all of the details and she had a look at the cartridges (looked like it was the first time she'd seen such articles), she asked us to take a seat in the waiting area whilst she got an officer to come and talk to us.
There we sat amongst the assorted bling bling charvas and bail surrenderers for over 25 minutes until I got up to tell her that I had two trout to fillet and cook. Very apologetically she explained that there was not a police officer free to see us right now.
Come on! Area Command, 15 squad cars in the car park, and nobody available to investigate a possible firearms offence? It beggered belief.

I eventually received a telephone call at 18.00 from a Sergeant Bagshaw promising that he would try and get someone to see me by 21.00 this evening ("it is a Friday night sir and the lads get very busy") failing that I could expect a visit tomorrow morning, and "please don't throw the cartridges away!"

In the meantime, someone is wandering around with a lethal shotgun discharging it on a public beach!

I have also appraised the three ward councillors in Whitburn of the situation.


Thursday, May 12, 2005

Redhead's Landing 2

Redhead's Landing Revisited

Following my post raising the issue of the locked gates at Redhead's Landing, I emailed the ward Councillors and one or two others, initial responses have been encouraging although one Council officer points out that the borough Council does not own the land, and therefore they would be reluctant to take responsibility for cleaning it up.
Terry Collins the Head of Streetscape is investigating the matter and I hope to have an in depth response from him shortly.


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Foreshore Plan

It's your time to speak up!

The Council have quite an exiting skeleton plan for redevelopment of the foreshore, but it will require a lot of input from the likes of me and you. Yes us, all of us, those who live here, those who have connections with the town, and those who visit South Shields. There is a lot to be garnered from the tourist visitors, who in years to come could add millions of pounds to our local economy. The Council started a public consultation exercise last year, beginning with Gypsies Green Stadium, but they wisely decided to widen their remit to include the whole of the sea front, from Sandhaven Hotel to Gypsies Green.
I recall posting in this blog to get people to write to, or email Alan Dibden at the Council with their views; I certainly got in touch with him myself, and I'm glad to see that at least my views on bringing the South Marine Park back to it's Victorian splendour, and the building of a permanent stage in the Bents Park have been taken on board.

Read this article in the Gazette

Consider what you want to see down there, consider what our visitors need down there, consider what future generations will benefit from, then put your thoughts together and email Alan Dibden at alan.dibden@s-tyneside-mbc.gov.uk
A few minutes of your time will not have been wasted, and despite the fact that I oppose most things that our Council do, I believe that they have taken the right decision in seeking a very wide view from the public. I cannot see any evidence of "they've already decided what to do anyway", so there is no reason to think that you'll be wasting your time and effort.


New Principle

Whacking big wages!

It's quite eye opening to hear our local Labour politicians bleating on about "fat cats" in industry rolling amongst the pound notes, yet they have recently placed an advertisement in The Times to recruit a new Principle for South Tyneside College. The Shields Gazette reveals the size of the salary, I only hope they are looking for a company chairman who has many years experience in cost cutting, budgeting, and getting value for money, particularly as this educational institution has a record for waste and inefficency.

Read more - click here


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Redhead's Landing

Redhead's Landing

Now that the election is over, it's time to start looking at some smaller more local issues again. This week one of the issues brought to attention on the South Shields Sanddancer's Message Board is Redhead's Landing. This "public landing" is situated in Commercial Road, South Shields and was for many years available as a public access to the River Tyne, a place where you could launch your boat or go fishing.Little is known about the current ownership of the land or the current rights of the public to access the river from this spot, but there is an assumption that it is still available for public use.
To it's right is McNulty Marine shipyard and to it's left another small boatbuilder's yard, however, a number of local lads have been trying to access the site recently and found the gates to be permanently sealed with large nuts and bolts enclosed in a steel housing. CLOSED!
When the Bonga sailed from the river last year I was able to gain access through the gate and take some fantastic pictures from there, but when I visited today I too found the site was sealed.
We need to know who owns the site, and do they have rights to restrict or stop public access? If so, how were these rights acquired?
There are very few public landings in South Tyneside and Redhead's Landing is known to be one of the oldest, it would be wrong for the public to lose such limited areas of access to the river.
So come on you politicians and journalists out there, investigate and find out why these gates have been sealed, furthermore if it is found that they ought not to be, let's get them opened again and get the site cleaned up, IT'S A MESS!

Click pictures to enlarge


Sunday, May 08, 2005

New Shopping Centre

New Shopping Centre

It's taken a long time (almost two years since the decision was taken) but at last Henry Boot, the developers, have a construction company on site, and the steelwork is going up at speed. The site in Waterloo Vale used to house the Police and Fire stations, but will now be the home to a new shopping centre in South Shields, we are told that there will only be four units, but they are quite large, and the two retailers who have already announced that they are coming to town are Next and Debenhams. This gives a good indication of the quality and size of retailers that Messrs. Boot are attracting.

Click pictures to enlarge

I will keep you posted as the development grows to fruition.


Blair resign calls

Bliar out calls!

Barely 48 hours after forming a new Cabinet, which includes a seat for our constituency MP David Miliband, Tony Bliar finds himself facing calls from Labour MP's to resign "sooner rather than later". Various members of his parliamentary party are lining up and voicing demands for his resignation and a timetable to be put in place to allow Gordon Brown to take over the reigns.
The general acceptance seems to be that the electorate trusts new Labour, but no longer trusts Bliar.

Full story - click here

The Herald described the election result as "a defeat for Blair, wrapped in the cloak of victory" and reckons that "the PM will not be starting any more wars in a hurry with his new precarious majority. No more riding shotgun for George Bush as they rid the world of bad guys."

Full story - click here

How long before Bliar is waving bye-bye?


Friday, May 06, 2005

Election result South Shields

South Shields Result

The result for the South Shields constituency was as follows;

David Miliband (Labour) 18,269 60.5% -2.7%
Stephen Psallidas (LIb-Dem) 5,957 19.7% +2.9%
Richard Lewis (Con) 5,207 17.2% +0.3%
Nader A-Naderi (Ind) 773 2.6% +2.6%

So David Miliband polled about 1000 votes fewer than at the last election, the Conservatives polled about the same, the Lib-Dems added 800 votes, and the Independent candidate polled less than the combined total of the two "other" candidates in 2001. Voter turn out was down 7 points at 42.2%.

Nationally, it looks as though Labour's majority has been heavily reduced, to about 66 seats, and as I post, there are still 21 seats to declare, but these include all of the Northern Ireland constituencies.

The result in Falkirk was as follows;

Eric Joyce (Lab) 23,264 50.9% -2.9%
Laura Love (SNP) 9,789 21.4% -2.2%
Callum Chomczuk (LD) 7,321 16.0% +9.2%
David Potts (Con) 4,538 9.9% +1.5%
Danny Quinlan (SSP) 838 1.8% -0.5%

So why do you think I've mentioned the result in Falkirk? I publish this result to congratulate David Potts, an avid reader of this weblog and contributor to Curly's Corner Shop Message Board. Well done David, you put your money where your mouth is, that takes some bottle, and it's a brave effort taking the fight into one of Labour's heartlands.

Michael Howard to stand down as Conservative Leader

Tory leader Michael Howard will stand down "sooner rather than later" to allow a younger leader to take over. More -click here

Only 22% of eligible voters backed Bliar

Labour's share of the popular vote was the lowest they had achieved in any post war election apart from 1983. This means that 78% of us did not actively "back Bliar". It's hardly a commanding mandate. The new "marginals" have introduced adjustments that will make it a lot easier to unseat this government when things start to go wrong (probably during Gordon Brown's premiership). Both Conservatives and Lib-Dems are now well placed to take many seats from Labour with the slightest swing at the next general election, an election where there will probably be at least two new personalities leading the major parties - "Bring it on!"


Thursday, May 05, 2005

Election result

Election Results

If you are sitting up next to your pc all night, you can keep a good track of the results here.

Latest results - click here

A BBC exit poll is suggesting a Labour win with a majority of only 66 seats. Sunderland South have declared a win for Chris Mullin (Labour) at 22.45, they win the race again!


Election day

Election Day

I cast my vote at the Council Tax office in Gordon Street, South Shields at about 4.30 p.m. today, normally the polling station is in the day care centre next door, but at least there was a notice posted there advising people of the change in venue. Unfortunately there was a larger queue of people paying their Council Tax, or going to the chemist than waiting to vote. In fact, I was the only person voting at that time, the polling clerk looked exceptionally bored, and my ballot paper seemed to drop to the bottom of the ballot box after I'd inserted it into the slit on the top. I only hope that they had a large influx of voters later in the day!

Unfortunately some electors in London will not be allowed to vote at all - click here for story. Illustrative of another cock up by local government administrators!
Once again Sunderland South will attempt to be the first constituency to declare a result after the polls close at 10 p.m. click here for the full story.
Ther's no chance of a quick result in South Shields, be looking towards 1.00 or 2.00 a.m.

So it's all over bar the shouting, we now have to wait and see how many seats Bliar has lost, before we see him installing disgraced former ministers into Cabinet seats again!


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Richard Lewis meeting

Public Meeting

Mr. Richard Lewis, the Conservative candidate for South Shields, will be attending a public meeting in St. Peter's Church Hall, Moor Lane, South Shields on Wednesday 4th. May at 4.00 p.m.

You are invited to attend and ask questions of the candidate.

Vote RICHARD LEWIS (Conservative).

Former BBC Director General takes a hefty swipe at Bliar

Greg Dyke, recently ousted from the BBC over the Iraq war affair has declared that a further term for Tony Bliar would "undermine democracy" in Britain, he is quite scathing in his remarks, but foolishly plumps for the Lib-Dems.

Undermining democracy - click here

Bliar fights to shore up marginal votes

Whilst New Labour preserves a healthy lead in the national opinion polls, matters are far more tight and closer in the marginal seats where this election will be fought and lost. Bliar is making Labour party workers aware that only one in ten Labour voters defecting to Tory or Lid-dems (or staying at home) in the marginals could signal the end of his government.

Tight fight in the marginals - click here

Iraq issue refuses to go away

The Iraq issue refuses to leave the election stage left, and continues to dog Bliar's campaign, things got worse after the death in Irag of British Guardsman Anthony Wakefield of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Angry parents of our dead soldiers are planning to sue the government. They will deliver a letter to 10 downing Street at 4.00 p.m. this afternoon.

Angry parents - click here
The view of the Muslim voicepiece - click here

Send a message to Bliar - VOTE CONSERVATIVE!


Sunday, May 01, 2005

Backing Blair

Backing Bliar (and that's not a misspell!)

That ever popular website "Backing Blair" has been steadily and relentlessly promoting the idea of a protest vote in next Thursday's election. Following Bliar's difficulties over Iraq, and his inability to spell out plans for increased National Insurance contributions after the election, Backing Bliar has issued some advice for our constituency of South Shields. On the firm understanding that they would expect Mr. Miliband to win the seat, they firmly suggest that those who wish to make a sound protest and inflict a bloody nose on new Labour should cast their vote for RICHARD LEWIS.

Backing Bliar - click here

Early years of political learning

I was born and brought up in John Williamson Street near the riverside, and during my childhood and early teens I enjoyed the comforts of a cold tap in the yard, outside netties in the yard, shovelling coal into the coalhouse (this was necessary to heat the living room and main bedroom, and for cooking on the black range), boiling countless pans of water to fill a zinc bath in the living room, gas streetlamps outside of our bedroom window, cobble stoned streets etc and just about everything else that you might read in a Catherine Cookson book.

My life was like this until 1973 god damn!

In 1945, Major Dennis Healey, who had just been elected as MP for Leeds in Labour's landslide victory promised Britain would be "a land fit for heroes", pah! Successive Labour Government's and local Labour Councils were not even able to raise our standard of living to include a bathroom or running hot water nearly thirty years after the war had ended, so much for representing the working class!

Yes, it coloured my views somewhat.

The advent of Thatcherism brought us the comforts and luxuries (hot water, bathroom and separate w.c., central heating. a fridge, a washing machine etc.) that the rest of you had taken for granted many years before. The part of town where we lived became the Western Approach Road in 1980, many parts of the area still remain barren and nothing has been rebuilt there for 25 years, is it any wonder that Frederick Street is dying on it's feet? It needed new housing around it for heaven's sake, not factory units!!

So remember old South Shields when you cast your vote, remember how little progress we have seen under Labour over the last 50 years, remember the debacles such as Temple Memorial Park and Trow Quarry, remember mostly that Labour's promises remain unfulfilled, going all the way back to 1945. Remember, Labour isn't interested in helping you or I, the party is only interested in helping itself! (A Labour Councillor can earn more money from his/her allowance than I can earn from my full time job!)

On May 5th. go out and vote - VOTE CONSERVATIVE!


Postal ballots

More potential postal ballot fraud!

I have posted a number of times in this blog during the course of the election campaign about the potential and fact of postal ballot frauds, it's extremely worrying and of great concern to me. Today the Newcastle Chronicle has reported on a further example of potential fraud.

Read the Chronicle report - click here


About Me

Born in 1956
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Former Borough Councillor
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blueyonder DOT co DOT uk

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