Online Archive  
Issue 1 - December 1971
Flushed Out
Bishop Auckland's young fighter John Callaghan is determined that a Ministry inspector should see for himself some of the less publicised aspects of Durham County Council's population "regrouping policy".

Since 1951, families living in condemned houses in the county's 114 "D" zone villages have been encouraged to move into "regrouping centres" rather than stay in their home village.

The mechanics of this policy have been quite simple. Once a house is demolished in a "D" zone village, it cannot be rebuilt. As no new housing is permitted, these villages are left to crumble and die.

Callaghan, himself a county councillor, is hardly a firm friend of the "D" zone planners. He asked the ministry inspector at the most recent "D" zone public inquiry (there have been a mere 47 such inquiries so far) to be sure and visit one such "regrouping centre" at Bessemer Park, near Spennymoor, before returning to London.

Bessemer Park consists in the main of multi-storey housing blocks set around elegantly in the shape of a horseshoe.

The residents, many of them emigres from the now decaying pit villages, have a fond regard for their new housing paradise.

Caretakers at the estate recently threatened strike action. They were tired of going to the lift shafts every morning and clearing out a wheelbarrow-full of human excrement.