Online Archive  
Issue 2 - February 1972
The Durham Housing Association is still smarting after parting with its solicitor, one John Blair.

The housing association, a registered charity, buys up houses in decaying pit villages and revitalises them, installing indoor toilets, central heating and bathrooms where necessary.

And sitting tenants are allowed to buy the improved houses at a weekly mortgage repayment figure lower than the normal rent.

Some months ago, the DHA was approached by the Croxdale Tenants Association and told that about 120 houses in Croxdale Colliery village were available for purchase.

At this time, the legal affairs of the DHA were handled by Mr Blair who operates from an address at Lloyds Bank Chambers, Hexham, Northumberland.

For some time after this initiative however, Mr John Callaghan, Secretary of the DHA, lost track of the negotiations.

"Next thing we knew, the properties had been taken up by Autumn Homes Ltd", claims Mr Callaghan.

Sure enough, a planning application for alterations to Nos 1-38, Front Street, Croxdale Colliery, was lodged with Durham Rural Council by Autumn Homes Ltd.

The notepaper of Autumn Homes Ltd is headed by the names of two directors, J S Blair and Muriel Blair.

It is understood that this firm is also registered as a kind of charity.

However, the Durham Housing Association has the consolation of knowing that its legal affairs are now being handled by Messrs Marquis, Penna and Sutton, of Bishop Auckland.