Online Archive  
Issue 8 - November 1972
Magic Roundabout
There are two small canny neighbourly streets in Durham by the railway embankment - John Street and Holly Street. But there's a coal dump at the bottom of John Street where John Chapman stores his summer coal.

When the wind blows there's coal dust over the washing and dirt on the window sills of these two streets, and one resident, a chronic bronchitic, could not go outside because of the dust.

Every year at election time canvassers tell residents it will be removed - then the residents wait.

Take this year. After the election the matter was raised at the housing committee by Sam Green who wanted the Council to buy the land for housing.

Housing? Oh no, said a councillor, it was an area designated as an open space.

So it was referred to the planning committee.

At the planning committee ward councillor George Thompson (one of the independents who does not have his own business) pointed out that the coal dump was of no use to the residents who could not even nick the coal. Other councillors expressed such sympathy for Mr Chapman tears almost came to the eyes. Then someone realised that a summer coal dump could be anywhere in the city. "Refer it to the County Council" - so referred it was.

Back came the reply - not from the County Council but from H C Ferens and Co, solicitors for coal merchant Chapman. They said that the part of the space not taken up by the coal dump was to be used for housing.

When the minutes of the County Council were consulted it was discovered that the land was designated as an amenity area.

So cut out and keep this article, and start reading again halfway through when the matter is next raised at a council meeting. After the next election start again at the beginning.

It will save space with a reprint.