Thursday, July 28, 2005

Tall Ships

Tall Ships Sail from Shields

The party is over, the Tall Ships have sailed from the Tyne today in their race to Norway, many thousands of people lined both banks of the river, some of them, like myself, attended the fireworks display in Newcastle-Gateshead last night (police estimate that 500,000 turned out.)
In my two photography sessions, last night and this morning, I returned with almost 225 pictures, so I'm going to be busy for the next few days making corrections, alterations, and improvements to them.
I've opened a new page in my main site Curly's Corner Shop, a commemorative Tall Ships Gallery, which I shall leave in place until around Christmas time, it should help, in a small way, keeping South Shields on the map.
Here are a few little tasters of what is in the gallery, click on the thumbnails to enlarge


Tall Ships Race

The Tall Ships Race

I went to Gateshead Quays last night to see the Tall Ships and the fireworks display. I guess I was one of about 250,000 people who thronged both banks of the Tyne, the atmosphere was terrific and the traffic was horrendous!
I came back with almost 100 pictures, returning home well after midnight, here's a taster of the type of ship that would have looked great passing the "Gut" at Redhead's Landing, if only some people had acted sooner, rather than later!
Click the picture to enlarge.

Free Image Hosting at

I am now leaving to find a spot on the pier, and will get some more shots posted here this evening as well as creating a special Tall Ships Gallery in Curly's Corner Shop.
This is another of those great events that will put South Shields on the map this summer, there is also a live webcast available here for the next four hours for those who are unable to attend, the camera is positioned on the roof of the Customs House at the Mill Dam.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

eileen Leask

Unhappily online Councillor

I've just received this wonderful little email from Cllr. Eileen Leask, it's nice to know that our representatives are oh so comfortable with modern technology!

Please do not email I will not answer. E Leask

I wonder if she will still speak to me in the Snooker Club?


Redheads Landing

Redhead's Landing closed on safety grounds.

The Council have revealed that they were responsible for the decision to lock the public access gate at Redhead's Landing as the site is wholly unsuitable for public access. Neil Carter, a solicitor in the Council's legal team does not even view enforcement of the current planning conditions as "legitimate". This is a poor decision and negates everything that this Council and it's predecessors had worked towards, it also sets a dangerous precedent whereby others could ignore planning conditions at will.

Here is the text of a letter that I have sent to the Shields Gazette for publication:

Dear Sir,
after much campaigning through my weblog "Curly's Daily Comment" and large volumes of email to our MP David Miliband and Borough Councillors, it is a matter of regret that Redhead's Landing has been locked by the Council, and that it was not available as a site to photograph today's Parade of Sail of the Tall Ships.
The Council's officers took the decision to lock the gates on grounds of public safety, there is a large amount of debris on the landing, the cobbles are slippery and covered in moss and algae, and there is no life saving equipment there. This rubbish and debris tends to be high up on the landing and it is difficult to imagine how flytippers could be responsible when the gate is almost always locked these days, and the tide is never high enough to wash the debris so high.
Neil Carter, a Council Solicitor, in his submission to Councillors stated "It is true that a planning condition was imposed in 1990 but after careful consideration, it has been decided that this is not now something which the Council as Local Planning Authority could legitimately enforce."
This is a worrying decision, if it were legitimate to enforce the planning permissions in 1995, then why is it not legitimate to enforce them today? When the original planning consent was granted for the erection of the gates, the authority must have had very good reason for deciding "that a pedestrian access gate be maintained and kept open at all times." A decision such as this sets a precedent and will encourage others to break planning conditions. What value will there be in future decisions taken by the Council if they cannot be policed or enforced?
The amount of debris on the site then was no different to what it is now, the risk of accidents to members of the public will not have increased either, this smells of "compensation culture". Yet we can allow children, adults, anglers, and photographers to clamber over slippery rocks at the Groyne, the South Pier, Trow Rocks etc. where the risk of accidents is all too evident. Do we now take decisions to close off the beaches whenever a major event takes place, in fear of that writ from a "no win no fee" solicitor?
Redhead's Landing needs to be secured for public access as one of only two points of access to the river in South Shields. I call upon the Council to everything within it's power to acquire this small piece of land so that it can be maintained to a safe level for the public to enjoy a view of the river at this historic location, or else run the risk of it being annexed by commercial interests.

I would like to see the area paved with a dwarf wall erected to separate the landing from Tyne Slipway's land and also across the water's edge to prevent people from going into the water. A couple of seats could be provided, as well as the necessary life saving equipment, the area could then be nicely presented and maintained and Tyne Slipway can carry on their business with a better degree of comfort.


Redhead's Landing

Redhead's Landing Locked, Council blamed!!

With only 22 hours to go before the Tall Ships start to leave the Tyne, I decided to visit Redhead's Landing to assess it's condition. I had received emails from Cllr. David Potts and David Miliband's office yesterday. Cllr. Potts sent me a note he had received from Kevin Vigars the Rights of Way and Access Development Officer for the Council , in which he states that
I have been led to believe that the party responsible for locking the gate has voluntarily agreed to unlock it, at least for the period of the Tall Ships Race. This is a voluntary agreement and so not enforceable by the Council at this present time if the responsible party changes their mind"

He also notes
Research is on-going into the enforceability of the planning condition. However, it should be noted that if the Council were to take any planning enforcement action to require the occupier to refrain from locking the gate, considerable criticism may be levelled at the Council from a health and safety point of view, given the significant public safety issues which have been brought to the Council's attention by the adjoining land owner (Tyne Slipway Engineering Ltd). They contend that this is the reason why the gates were locked".

Scott Duffy, David Miliband's Parliamentary aide writes

"Just to let you know that we are pressing for Redhead's Landing to be cleaned up, prior to the start of the ships race.
The area is in desperate need of clearing (especially just behind the gate) - we can't promise it will happen, but we are hoping."

On my visit an hour ago I found the pedestrian access gate to be locked with a heavy brass padlock, so I decided to make enquiries at the office of Tyne Slipway Engineering Ltd., the adjacent land owners. I spoke to the office manager who told me that the Council came along and locked the gate permanently yesterday because of health and safety issues. "It has nothing to do with us" he told me. He further went on to state that "someone had been down there the other day with a bulldozer and pushed piles of shit onto our slipway, so that we can't get boats up and down there" (verbatim). "I can't promise that the gates will be open for tomorrow, it's got nothing to do with us, you'll have to ring the Council to find out what's going on".
"I'm expecting loads of people knocking on this door tomorrow with the Tall Ships Race going on complaining that it's us who are locking the gate, well it's not us, it's the Council".

I am not happy with this explanation and I am now about to get in touch with some of our Councillors, and the Council's Chief Executive, to try and have this gate opened by tomorrow morning.


Friday, July 22, 2005


Apologies; The Corner Shop is now closed

I would like to apologise to my visitors to Curly's Corner Shop, Curly's Daily Comment, and Curly's Photoshop for the fact that we are now closed for a short vacation! There will be no new posts until at least Thursday 28th. July, the day of the Tall Ships Race, when I hope to be taking photographs from Redhead's Landing.
Curly and his family will be taking a short break in North Yorkshire to enjoy the fresh air, appreciate some different scenery, and recharge the batteries.

Councillors and officers will no doubt appreciate my absence from their inbox!


Redhead's Landing

Redhead's Landing - progress at last!

I attended a meeting this evening of the Riverside Central Area Forum, at Laygate Lane School, the first Council Committee meeting that I have been to since losing my seat over twenty years ago!
I quite enjoyed listening to some of the input, but there again some of the contributors were as effective as a sedative!
However, I am greatly indebted to Cllr. Ed. Malcolm and the Chairman Cllr. John Woods for agreeing to the urgent inclusion of the Redhead's Landing issue. The immediate outcome is that the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council will be discussing the matter tomorrow to facilitate further action. Cllr. Ed. Malcolm was effusive in his desire to see full public rights of access maintained at the site, the meeting also heard from a local resident, with a long memory, who produced his own site plan showing the old landing in it's original context adjacent to River Street, Officers were able to take to take note and we can be assured that moves will no doubt be taken to enforce the original planning conditions when the present gates were erected in 1989.
It was interesting to meet some of the present generation of Councillors, Ed. Malcolm, for instance, reminded me very much of his father when he sat on the old Tyne and Wear County Council, Ken Hickman has not changed in the twenty odd years since I first met him, John Anglin was not what I expected (he was a very lucid and effective questioner of officers).
I only wish that I had known in advance that I had the opportunity to speak to the forum if I so wished, I really wanted to remind the meeting of the previous resolutions passed by the old Town Development Committee and ratified by the full Council, and to express my worries about the actions of Tyne Slipway Engineering Co., but hey ho,this blog is surpassing it's intentions by getting Councillors and oficers to sit up and take notice of the "smaller" issues that the public feel strongly about.

I can now be gratified that issues raised in this weblog, such as Trow Quarry, Temple Memorial Park and the proposed "super school", the shotgun cartridges on Whitburn beach, the seafront redevelopment, the lottery fund application for the South Marine Park, and Redhead's Landing,as well as the flooding at Tyne Dock, are having some impact upon our elected representatives. You can be assured that this weblog will continue to campaign for the "man on the street" and be representative of common viewpoints held across South Shields.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Cllr Elsom

The non reply!

Your message


was deleted without being read on Wed, 20 Jul 2005 17:33:15 +0100


Redhead's Landing

Redhead's Landing, Council to Discuss

Following my appeal to our Councillors yesterday, I have received an email from the former Mayor Cllr. John Wood, informing me that he is allowing the inclusion of the topic as an urgent matter for discussion at the meeting of the Riverside Central Area Forum. The meeting takes place tomorrow night at 6.00 p.m. in Laygate School.
I have also received supportive emails from the Council Leader Paul Waggott, the Opposition Leader Jim Capstick, and Cllr. Iain Malcolm (I remember having a few running battles with his father when he was a member of the Council).

Once again I have a criticism of the majority of Council members, this Council has gone a fair distance in it's efforts to include as many people as possible, and this includes those with internet access, the authority has made a lot of information available and invited a lot of participation, e-services are worthwhile and they work. Unfortunately a lot of our elected members have not taken the opportunity to embrace the new technologies, whilst most members have now read my emails, it is always the same very few who show the courtesy of sending a reply. The majority who do not reply send me negative messages, either they don't care, or they don't know how to use simple email. The latter should be unimportant, as they could always telephone me if they wished!


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Toddler Walk

Something went wrong today!

I decided to take some exercise today and make the most of a two week holiday, so having perused the Council website to see "What's on", I thought I'd take Missy Curly (who is only three year old) on a walk with other toddlers around the sea front and parks. We drove down to Bents Park Road and parked up before walking across the "dragon" to the meeting point at Minchella's kiosk next to the covered promenade. We were there in good time, the walk wasn't due to start until 10.00 a.m. However, no one else turned up, no guide from the Council, no notice of cancellation either, we hung around a bit and had one of those world famous ice creams before the rain came down.
After a quick dash back to the car, I thought I'd take my daughter to the Temple Park Leisure Centre, blow me it cast 60p to park there! "Pirates Playland" thought I, she can run some energy off there, if she didn't fancy that we could go down to the gymnasium where I remeber taking Junior Curly when he was about the same age. It used to be a great parent and toddlers group that met down there with lots of play equipment for the children.
What a dissapointment........silly me had forgotten all about the redevelopment work at the Leisure Centre, so it rained again whilst I pushed her on a swing outside. 60p. well wasted if you ask me!

Wouldn't it be nice if someone could put a notice up showing what facilities are currently available in the entrance foyer.


Monday, July 18, 2005

Redhead's Landing

Redhead's Landing..............(cont.)

It is interesting to note that this blog has had a further two visits from a client using a leased line of South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council's server this morning (11.23). To try and help out with the information gathering that you may be doing in respect of Redhead's Landing, a trawl through the Council Minutes for 1988 and 1995 this morning revealed the following;

Resolution no.16 (page 97) of the Town Development Committee 21st. March 1989 authorised the Council Solicitor to apply for a Prohibition of Driving Order, to be enforced by the erection of gates incorporating an unlocked pedestrian access gate. (This action was deferred following protests and a petition against the proposal.)

The former related to the resolution of the Town Development Committee 12th. July 1988. The Chief Engineer then reported that the ownership of the land was not known but that it was between the former River Street and the boundary of McNulty Marine's premises. It was considered it would be public ownership. The committee resolved to authorise the Council Solicitor to seek a Prohibition of Driving Order under section116 of the Highways Act 1980, with the condition that a public access gate for pedestrians be maintained at all times.

This resolution was confirmed by the full Council on 16th. May 1989.

Resolution no.14. page 113 of the Town Development Committe 12th. May 1995, in respect of a breach of planning condition. The committee resolved (a) that TWDC instigate enforcement action to ensure that pedestrian access to the landing is maintained at all times (b) that the appropriate officers be authorised to continue with investigations relating to land ownership and existing rights over the landing.

Resolution no.4. page 117 of the Town Development Committee 11th. September 1995 "The report pointed out that investigations into the history of the landing revealed conclusive evidence that it had been a Public Highway in 1918 and, since no evidence had been discovered to show that it had been stopped up since that date, it appeared that Redhead's Landing remained a Public Highway. However the landing was subject to a Prohibition of Driving Order made on 7th. December 1989.

In reaffirming the decision taken on 12th. May 1995, (that a pedestrian access gate remains unlocked at all times) the committee resolved that no further action be taken.

This still begs more questions, if Redheads Landing was confirmed as still being Public Highway, subject to a Prohibition of Driving Order, how was it not deemed to be a Public Right of Way when the Definitive Map of Public Rights of Way was drawn up?

If the landing was considered to be in public ownership, is there a case for the Council to acquire the land on behalf of the public, thus ensuring that a right of way is maintained, and that the landing is regularly cleaned and maintained?


Ted Heath

Sir Edward Heath

I was saddened to learn of the death of former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath at the grand age of 89, I met him a few times when I was a member of the Conservative Party and always found him to be a gregarious and entertaining host who loved a laugh. I have a particulary fond memory of a weekend spent at the Peebles Hydro Hotel in Scotland for a conference of the Scottish Young Conservatives (I wonder if they still have such people in Scotland), when Ted recounted at dinner the advice given to him by the Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Mao Tse T'ung;
"Enjoy these occassions, meet with nice people, wine with nice people, dine with nice people, and sleep with.................a contended mind" :)

There are now only two surving British politicians who have served as Prime Minister, Baroness Thatcher and John Major


Redhead's Landing

Redhead's Landing...........(cont.)

I have just returned from a visit to Redhead's Landing in Commercial Road, South Shields and I am delighted to report that the pedestrian gate is wide open and the landing has once again been cleaned up. Access is easy and relatively safe, the booms that had been placed across the mouth of the landing by Tyne Slipway Engineering have been removed to their portion of the land.
I am about to visit the Central Library to continue my search through the old Council Minutes of the late 80's and early 90's to find reference to the planning decisions affecting the gates at Redhead's Landing. If any of our local politicians or journalists who read this blog can help me out with this quest, I would be very grateful if they could email me at, I am also interested in finding out if the public access condition attached to the planning approval was inserted because the landing was viewed as a public right of way, and if so, why is it not deemed to be a public right of way now? Was this an accidental ommission?


Zapcats Racing

ZapCats Championship in South Shields

Another wet weekend in South Shields, at least as far as the competitors and the theme was concerned. Once again we, metaphorically, visited the sea, this time for a round of the National ZapCats Racing Championship held off Sandhaven Beach on Saturday and Sunday. The weather was gloriously hot with a clear blue sky on Saturday and the crowds flocked to the beach to see this spectacle supported and sponsored by South Tyneside Council. The numbers of visitors must have been huge, and I haven't seen the beach so well populated for many a year.
The racing was colourful, fast and furious with these inflatable double hulled crafts, and the beach was maintained in a spotless condition, you will see from some of my photographs that the scene looked more reminiscent of Australia's Gold Coast.
This was another first for the town, and another event that I hope can be repeated, although one does have to remember that the weather was a major factor in bringing the crowds out.
We are enjoying a bumber year of summer events, and the local economy can only benefit from the spending power that comes with tourism, next weekend we will enjoy the Proms in the Park, classical performances from South Tyneside Youth Orchestra and Choir, it starts at 7.00 p.m. on Saturday night in the Bents Park, and once again this is a free event.

ZapCat pictures - click the thumbnails to enlarge.


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Football Stadia

Old Football Stadiums (Stadia)

Found this fascinating thread on a French Message Board for Liverpool fans with pictures of some of our football grounds when they represented the real spiritual home of the English game. Take your time to look through the four pages and reminisce about times gone by standing on the terraces. It tends to create a very sanitized image of the modern stadia, somehow lacking in the fabulous atmosphere pre Taylor report.


Friday, July 15, 2005

Redhead's Landing

Redhead's Landing............(cont.)

The Tall Ships Race is now only 13 days away, and the first ships in the flet will likely start to arrive in the Tyne on Sunday or Monday, therefore I must reiterate that South Tyneside Borough Council must enforce the original conditions of the planning permission granted in January 1995. This included a condition that a gate for public pedestrian access must be provided, maintained, and remain open at all reasonable times.
The Council had to take enforcement action against Tyne Slipway in May of 1995 following complaints then that the gate was locked for periods of time.

Come on Councillors (and officers) let's make sure that photographers can get access to the river to record this event.

Today the gate is firmly locked again!


Tax Credits

Tax Credits Chaos!

I read recently that members of Parliament had described the Tax Credit System as being in a mess, with many needy people missing out on their credit, others being overpaid, and some having payments stopped when they could least manage without them. To working families with low incomes, the system was designed to be something like a "safety net" that would help families, such as mine, meet the normal financial demands of family life. Until today I thought the system was working fairly well for me, forms arrived in good time, and if they were promptly filled in and returned your tax credit would be fairly judged, allocated, and paid into your bank.
I sent my forms back some weeks ago, but today received five envelopes in the post from the Inland Revenue. I opened the smallest which told me that the application forms for 2005-6 were sent to me many weeks ago, and if they wren't returned by September of this year it would be likely that I would not receive any Tax Credits. (I had returned the said forms within two working days of their arrival here.) The next four envelopes were adressed as follows, two to me and two to my wife, and they were notifications of our Tax Credit Awards for 2004-5, and 2005-6!
Come on guys, if you have decided to award a small increase for 2005-6 then you surely must have received my completed application, it seems that some sub-departments are not effectively communicating with their colleagues!!


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Redhead's Landing

Redhead's Landing Research

I spend a profitable couple of hours at the local library yesterday evening researching Redhead's Landing, I was interested in the Council Minutes for the 1980's, a time when I was a member of South Tyneside Council. The Town Development Committe under the Chairmanship of former Councillor Gerry Graham was oft discussing the planning application taken to the Tyne Wear Development Corporation and passed back and forwards between the two bodies, before a decision was taken to grant permission for the erection of the gates; because time was restricted and the library was due to close at 7.00 p.m., I was unable to complete my investigations, I was looking for references to the term "Public Right of Way".
I will make a return trip tomorrow and Saturday morning to dig a little deeper.
The gates have been open now for five consecutive days.


Getting ready for new season

Black Cats building for new campaign

In about nine hours time Mick McCarthy's squad in Canada will kick off the close season fitness campaign in readiness for their return to the Premiership. In the absence of the injured duo Gary Breen and George McCartney, the squad will be skippered by the Welsh international Carl Robinson. Tonight's opener against the amateur British Columbia All Stars starts at 03.00 our time, and will likely feature debuts for Nyron Nosworthy, Kelvin Davies, Tommy Miller, Jon Stead, Daryl Murphy, and Martin Woods, as well as a long awaited comeback for ex- England Under 21 Matty Piper. Unfortunately defender Danny Collins will not be available for the match at Royal Athletic Park, Vancouver after picking up an achilles injury in training.
For the hundreds of die hard fans who have made the trip across the Atlantic there is a treat in store on Sunday 17th. July, when Mick McCarthy and the squad will mingle with the fans, exchange notes, handshakes, and autographs.
Back at home the club is hoping to pick up new signings in the form of Stoke City's want away left back Clive Clarke, and Derby County's leading scorer of last term Grzegorz Rasiak for a combined fee of less than £1.5millon., Michael Bridges may be used as bait to lure Rasiak.
The club has also launched a seat competition on it's website with a season ticket up for grabs for the lucky winner!

Following Liverpool's win against TNS of Wales,which I watched last night, the heart has already began to beat faster and the temperature has started to rise in anticipation of the new Premiership season, and I'm confident that the Black Cats will not be struggling to avoid relegation next April and May. I'm also confident that those who stayed away for the last two years will begin to return to the Stadium of Light and recreate the atmosphere that we loved and profited from during our last tenure in the top flight.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005


South Shields online photogallery

If by chance you have enjoyed seeing some of my pictures from South Shields, you might like to see some more from our local community in our online photogallery. You might even wish to register (quick and easy) and post some of your own pictures, there is no restriction on geographical areas, and new contributors will always be welcome, why not give it a try?


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Hurricane Dennis

Missed a disaster?

Former South Shields woman Elaine H from Palm Harbour, Florida, has! We have heard quite a few stories of those locals who narrowly missed the mayhem caused by the mass murdering muslim terrorists in London last week, but one natural disaster which was overshadowed by this dreadful news was the arrival of hurricane Dennis on the Florida panhandle. Elaine is married with a family living in southern Florida and she knows all about hurricanes, having survived quite a few over the past few years, although Dennis battered her property, demolishing fences, and dumping inches of rain all around, she escaped it's worst destructive elements. However plenty of Americans were not so lucky, Elaine has sent me this link which is worth looking at just for the enormous picture gallery of resident's submitted photos. There is a picture in the top left hand corner, if you click on it a picture slide show opens up.


Redhaed's Landing

Redhead's Landing.........(cont.)

I have received a number of messages of support for the stand that I and a few others have taken over the indiscriminate locking if the gates. Indeed, one gentleman travelled all the way from Tony Blair's constituency, Sedsgefield, to come and see me at work in South Shields to relay his experiences of photographing ships for the World Ship Society from the landing. I have also received a mail from David Miliband's staff indicating that increasing pressure is being brought to bear upon our Council who tried to wash their hands of the affair when they stated that they don't own the land and therefore are not responsible for it's upkeep. However, they are being reminded that as the planning authority they are responsible for enforcing the decisions that they took when giving planning permission for the erecting of the gates. That is, they must ensure that the pedestrian gate is kept open at all times for public access.

The gate has been open for the last three days!


Naked in ZakYnthos

Stupid Stunts in Zante!

The Shields Gazette reports today on the arrest by Greek police on the island of Zakynthos (Zante) of 18 year old Jonathan Vickers, allegedly from South Shields. He was one of three young men arrested for parading near naked through the resort of Laganas, a place I know very well having holidayed there. the three will appear in court accused of indecent exposure and insulting the Greek police, they were protesting against the earlier arrest and 15 month imprisonment of Vincent Dutton from Liverpool for a similar stupid display of behaviour on Saturday.
Typically British Chav behaviour after a few bottles of beer, brainless and born stupid if you ask me. If one guy gets locked up for it, why invite yourself to carry on the party at the local stinking hot jailhouse?
What on earth must their parents be thinking of them now? It's not exactly looking like a good joke and a laugh now lads!
They have no cause for complaint, the information concerning the consequences of this sort of behaviour is printed in the majority of holiday brochures, but when did these lads last do any serious reading?

Anyway heres a nice picture of a sunset in Zante, taken from the beach in Laganas (hoping that ImageShack's servers can be relied upon today.)


Monday, July 11, 2005

Festival Pictures

Mouth of the Tyne Festival

Just had to share some more pictures of the festival with you, including last night's fabulous show!

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge

I have also posted images in Curly's Corner shop, this evening, please enjoy!


Festival finale

Flashy Festival's Fireworks Finale

The Mouth of the Tyne Festival concluded yesterday evening with a spectacular water feature and fireworks show at the Town Hall, South Shields. The Mayor, Cllr. Bill Lynch described the show as "absolutely magic", and as one of the thousands who was there, I have to agree! The show was delayed half an hour because the weatherwas so good that the setting sun was still too bright to allow the lighting effects and fireworks to be shown to their best advantage.
If this is the standard of festival that we can expect to enjoy in the future then "bring it on".


Sunday, July 10, 2005

Redhead's Landing

Redhead's Landing.......(cont.)

I'm very greatful to the 73 year old gentleman who has supplied me with more old cuttings from the Shields Gazette to help protect the status of Redhead's Landing. He has given me an interesting clip from 8th. September 1988 which includes an article about Graham Smith who ran the sub Post Office in the Mill Dam. He was objecting to the Council's plans to stop up River Street (Redhead's Landing) to traffic.
I quote directly from the Gazette's article;

"The subject of Graham's current vitriol is the Council's proposal to close off the old Redhead's Landing on the riverside and restrict access to what is a public right of way to legitimate users."

So yet again we see another indication of a public right of way here, so how on earth the Council missed this when they drew up the definative map of public rights of way is very puzzling. I'm hoping that some good Councillors, or our Member of Parliament, might read this and be able to persuade the Council that it made an ommission that now needs correcting, this might save me the effort of filling out the lengthy formal application to have Redhead's Landing added to the map.

As for now, with the Tall Ships Race almost upon us, the Council must enforce the conditions of the original planning permission given to Tyne Slipway and it's predecesors, that the gate for public access must remain open at all times.

Many thanks for the cuttings George!


Mouth of the Tyne

Mouth of the Tyne Festival

What a weekend folks, something for South Tyneside to really shout about, interesting and entertaining events in at least four locations (Customs House and Harton Staithes, South Marine Park, Bents Park, and the Town Hall.) I visited the Mill Dam both yesterday and today and went inside the "Illumitorium", a kind of gigantic air filled structure rather like a children's bouncy castle but it was designed with a number of shapes and geometry with different coloured panels in it's roof space which allowed the sun to filter through, colouring each room, or cave, in strange hues. As music played, you were able to wander through at your own pace and discover tranquility and moods according to the colours, all very strange, but hugely interesting.
Today I returned with the kids and they loved it too, we were also entertained by the Custom's House Youth Band outside, A quick trip around "The Reaper"followed, an 1800's herring drifter which now belongs to Scottish Fisheries, a veritable floating maritime museum.
However yesterday's piece de resistance was the evening parade by Malabar: Les Voyage des Aquarêves, this was an astonishing and stunning experience, a lunar ship (in the shape of an iced galleon complete with frozen crew) which travelled along the coast from Gypsy's Green to Littlehaven Hotel. All the while it's crew were playing live music much akin to Enigma accompanied by gigantic "stilt creatures" like something out of War of the Worlds. The stopped and gave an acrobatics exhibition at the roundabout at the foot of Beach Road before continuing the journey to Littlehaven Beach where the fun really started, a huge foam party, accompanied by lasers and fireworks - what a finale!

This afternoon we were in the South Marine Park, which surely has never enjoyed such crowds in it's history, witnessing Dreamstate Circus performing death defying acrobatics suspended from thin silk bands, there were other live music events going on as well, and rather like in Australia people had brought there own disposable barbecues and spent the whole day in the park. Similarly the Bents Park was very full, I wish I could tell you about, but we ran out of time enjoying ourselves in the Marine Park.

The final event is this evening where the Town Hall is going to become one incredible water feature, you can be sure I'll be there getting some more great shots for readers of Curly's Corner Shop.

I only have a few pictures of yesterday's events to post ( I have so many more to process over the next few days, so keep your eyes open)

I must say a big huge "thank you" and "well done" to the organisers of the Mouth Of the Tyne Festival, this one short weekend is turning into a huge success, and it is a rare thing when I prais this Council. We must now go full tilt and promote an event bigger than North Tyneside's Window on the World (Fishquay Festival), we have the facilities, we only need the will. Better still, and I've argued this before, peruade the event organisers to bring it over to this side of the river.

Click on thumbnails to enlarge.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005


2012 Olympics London Bound!

It's the exciting news that everyone had been hoping for, the Olympiad of 2012 will be held in the nation's capital, an event that will stir up up all that is best in the British people. Winning the bid will provide a huge boost to the economy and a massive injection of enthusiasm and impetus to British sport.
There will even be a small boost to our local economy as St. James Park in Newcastle will host some of the early rounds in the football competition.
This is the sort of news that athletes in South Shields have been waiting for, and South Shields Harriers will be striving to find a teenager who will be able to compete at the highest levels in six years time.

Super School planning gets underway

Following the protests at the planned "super school" for Temple Memorial Park, the Council decided to build the complex at Chuter Ede, and the planning stages are now well and truly underway with parents being offerred ample opportunity to have their say and input as to how the building develops. The Council has organised a series of meetings where you can be informed of the developments and add your own comments on how the school will grow.


Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Curly is working nights this week, long hours, 12 hour shifts etc, so he is very tired. Curly's Corner Shop is having it's annual stocktake, so he won't be making as many posts as usual this week.
You can see some of Curly's new pictures taken at SouthTyneside's Cookson Parade and the Cultures Together Mela in Curly's Corner Shop, and Curly's Photoshop.

Curly will be out and about to photograph the Mouth of the Tyne Festival at the weekend, so look out for this new exiting entertainment in South Shields.


Saturday, July 02, 2005

Cookson Parade

Cookson Parade enjoys good weather!

The weather stayed fine this afternoon for the Cookson Parade from the Town Hall to the Bents Park. Threatened rain did not appear and the crowds lining the streets enjoyed a mini spectacle which included entrants from far and wide, including some who will line up to perform in tomorrow's multicultural Mela.
Ray Spencer, the Director of the Customs House hosted the parade in his guise of Tommy the Trumpeter, and aided by the Mayor Cllr. Bill Lynch started the event by releasing hundreds of balloons which were carried across the North Sea on a gentle southerly breeze.

Click on thumbnails to enlarge

Despite yesterday's news of a six million pound blackhole in the Council's finances, Councillors joined in the fun of the parade, and still found something to smile about.

Pictured left, Council Leader Cllr. Paul Waggot and his wife Lynda. Pictured right, Cllr. Eilleen Leask (left) and Cllr. Jim Foreman (background right).

You can find more pictures of the event in Curly's Corner Shop.


Trow Quarry

Trow Quarry Scrutiny Commission

I have just received a copy of the Final Report on Coastal Management Issues and the Trow Quarry Site and a quick perusal through it shows comments that vindicate the actions of Peter Collins, the former National Trust Warden of the site who has since lost his job and his home for making the matter public.

Page 7.19. The site is safe so long as the current management arrangements are in place
Page 7.20. Current arrangements will not guarantee the safety of the site in the longer term.
Page 7.22. The National Trust have responsibilities under Health and Safety legislation to protect their staff and visitors to the site.
Page 8.33. This highlights some of the Council's failures such as "Not sharing the High-Point Rendell Ground Investigation report sooner with the National Trust"
Page 9.37. There are clear lessons to be learned about communicating such issues with the public.
Page 11.41.R2. The Cabinet and Council be made aware of the outcomes of the latest High-Point Rendell ground investigations and whether the Trow Quarry site is to be determined "contaminated".
Page 15.56. The determination of a site as "contaminated land" is made by the Council in line with guidance issued by Defra. That guidance is very prescriptive with little scope for leeway.
Page 33.110. highlights the the new openness displayed since the revelations were made public and includes reference to my letter to the Scrutiny commission.

In conclusion, there seems to be much in the Scrutiny Commission's report to suggest that the Council now knows that there are long term risks associated with Trow Quarry, and that current management procedures alone will not be sufficient to guarantee the the health and safety of the public at the site. Funding is now being sought and a plan is being prepared to secure the longer term containment of the former landfill materials, the likely result will be an armoured revettment on the seaward edge consisting of very large rocks, and a limited "dig out" of some of the fill material.

To loosely declare that Trow Quarry is "safe" is a misuse of the known facts and risks outlined in this report. The Council would have been better advised to state that the former landfill site is "relatively safe for now, but we have longer term implications that need addressing."


Council Overspend

We can rebuild him!.......Six Million Dollar Woman

It came as something of a massive shock to learn yeasterday that South Tyneside Council has overspent it's 323 million pound budget by six million pounds, it was not even made aware to the full Council meeting on Thursday afternoon. With amazing cheek Council Chief Executive Irene Lucas announced on the Council's website "As a result of our prudent budget and financial management in the past, we do have resources available to cover this overspend."

She means that this money will be taken from the reserves to fill the gap, so the poor Council Tax payers who have seen officers fail to control spending, will feel a very large hand dipping into their back pocket to take another six million, knowing full well that next year they can expect to be mugged again in order to top up the reserves. If this happened in the streets of South Tyneside, one could reasonably expect to see someone ending up behind bars! However, it's only 1.8% of the gross budget, we are told by Ms. Lucas. Wow, such candour!

If Asda at Boldon were to lose every penny of their takings over a week, you could be sure that the manager would be losing his job, but yet, it seems, that honour and integrity are old fashioned terms to those who are invested with the responsibility of safeguarding our finances. Has there been a comment from the Leader of the Council Paul Waggot? No, of course not, he is always the last to be heard when things go wrong, if we cast our minds back to the Trow Quarry incident we will recall that the Council Leader was one of the last people to air his views on the matter.

We elect our Councillors to represent us, to be the guardians of our money
and to provide stewardship over the officers employed on our behalf. It's an onerous responsibility which has to be taken very seriously. If I were to be told that I had failed so miserably in my responsibilities, I would resign from my post, yet, I will be extremely surprised if any of the ruling Labour Group show such levels of integrity.

Please do not come to the people of South Tyneside asking for an increase in next year's budget and a hike in the Community Charge, you should not expect our support for such a course. Instead, why not make it a matter of policy that you will operate stringent financial controls and seek a Tax freeze for the much punished Council tax payers of this borough.

Councillors ought, at the very least, make a gesture to us by declining any proposed increases in their allowances, and droppoing the proposition to more than double the Mayoral Allowance.

I's time to get a grip and start applying strong controls on the officers, that is what we elected you to do.

Cookson Country Parade

It's the annual carnival this afternoon where the community gets together to enjoy ourselves, the parade leaves the Town Hall at 1.30 p.m. to make it's way through the town centre and along to the Bents Park on the sea front for an afternoon fair to raise money for local charities. I will be there hoping to get some good pictures for Curly's Corner Shop, so the rest of the world can see what is good about South Tyneside. Despite the bad news and the gripes, our geordie hospitality and humour will ensure that we have an enjoyable afternoon that any tourist would be pleased they came for. Unfortunately it always rains on the marchers!

Redhead's Landing gate was firmly closed again yesterday.


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