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Issue 14 - July 1973
Straight From The Parrot's Mouth
For nearly 200 years now, the north-east has been the centre of dirty, noisy, dangerous and pollutant industry. Ship building, chemicals and steel have all played a part in turning large areas into waste tips. Now, moves are being made to bring more heavy industry into the area, including the new gigantic Redcar project and a new plant in Jarrow and South Shields for coating pipes with bitumen.

The Jarrow / Shields project has been approved by South Shields council and Durham County council (which deals with planning matters for Jarrow).

The site (or should be it sight) covers 33 acres but will employ only 270 men. Therefore it's obvious that the plant won't benefit the unemployed of the two towns. Even worse, it will pour untreated chemicals into the Tyne and send fumes over much of Shields which lies down wind of it. The plant itself will of course be a huge eyesore.

But if the people of the Tyne won't benefit from it who will? As in so many cases it will be people who don't live up here and who, therefore, don't have to suffer in order to line their coffers - i.e. the southern and American shareholders. American? Well, the firm is American. It's called Anchor Wate and it has its headquarters in Houston, Texas - miles away from the smells and pollution of its north-east England plant.

GEC electrical firm have announced profits have almost doubled to over £100,000,000 while sales have only risen fractionally. Is there any evidence that this vast amount of money will find its way back to the people who have produced it?

The cost of planning in the new County Durham next year raised more than a few eyebrows at County Hall recently.

After all, hadn't they been telling us it was going to be "more economic" to run the new authorities?

Yet planning is going up. Not only is there an overall increase of £3,000 which in an area due to lose 25% of its population is quite remarkable, but the proportional increase is even more noteworthy.

At the moment, we are informed, the amount required to run a planning department with a staff of 184, is £660 per thousand heads (that's ours not theirs). The present population is 82,000.

But the new authority will have a population of only 61,500, 25% less. And when you consider that from £660 per thousand, the rate will increase to £930 per thousand heads, the results are pretty horrifying.

Put simply, the new annual figure will be £57,195 as opposed to £54,120 and just to put the cap on it, the number of people in the dept will drop to 171.

Then why, you might ask, is the cost going up?

From the scanty information available it would appear that some indians are being cleared away and others are being promoted to chiefs, giving rise to the very famous saying about too many ... etc.

By the way, there is a new definition of a Majority just come out. It is one man as opposed to 3,000 - especially if those 3,000 are young people interested in pop music and attending a non-commercial pop festival.

Prof J Lough wrote to the Durham County Advertiser complaining about news from the pop festival describing the 3,000 people who went as "a minority who live only for noise engendered by gross abuse of amplifiers".

Those who went will vouch that the noise was minimal - so we hope the professor was not disturbed too much. Jim Forrester and the festival organisers were keen not to trouble local residents. So their apologies will be sincere.

But we can't help wondering if it was the fun that distracted him from thoughts of his favourite topic - 18th century French theatre audiences. There's a majority interest for you.

At the public inquiry into the proposed demolition of Darlington Town Centre, one of the witnesses called the new concrete town hall "sophisticated" and argued one of the reasons for pulling down the old buildings should be that they do not complement the new town hall to its best advantage.

I would have thought that this would have been a good reason for pulling down the new town hall, as it does not complement the old buildings to their best advantage.

CAG the Darlington help / info service have been evicted from their offices by the council for allowing someone to sleep there. They have been unable to get a new place off the council and so have moved in to a disused old bookmakers shop in Chancery Lane. They desperately need help to get some furniture and stationery etc.

The poor of Durham District are to be helped by the kindness of the New District Council Chairman 'Pitman Jack' Ramshaw.

His allowance as chairman is largely going to provide the councillors tea and biscuits after meetings.

Councillors were told this before voting him £400 as an allowance with the promise he could come back for more.

It is obviously illegal for the councillors to vote themselves free food direct.

A special appeal was made for councillors to provide contributions towards the cost of the tea and cakes (provided incidentally by that well known philanthropist - Alderman Luke, City Council baker, cakes seller and landlord).

The clerk was given twenty pence from the sixty odd councillors.

Aren't they generous!!