Online Archive  
Issue 16 - October 1973
Council Responsible For Vandalism
If you don't live in Durham City, or if you didn't read the last issue of Grumble, you might like to know that Flass Vale is one of the few nice open spaces left in the city, and that a firm of builders - Wilson's (Spennymoor) Ltd - are intending to build a number of highly priced and very un-scenic houses all over it.

Although this development was planned in the early 1960s, no-one realised what was going on until the builders began to move in their bulldozers about two months ago. There was instant uproar and lots of people started to work really hard to try and save the Vale. People of all kinds of views were agreed about the need to preserve the old part of Durham and, surely, the only part of the town where badgers and foxes live.

Although there was a public meeting it didn't really look as though anything could be done to stop the building because planning permission had been given and had been unopposed for almost ten years. However, something seems to be stirring in the deep labyrinths of the council chambers.

Councillor Peter Hepburn of the County Planning Committee blamed the City Council for the huge cock-up (not his words) that had occurred, and accused them of shirking their responsibilities in the matter. There have been proposals which involve stopping the building, but these involve paying the builders compensation which could be as much as £200,000 so that they could make as much as they would from the development without doing a hand's turn. The County Planning Officer said that he had received a request to take the matter to the department of the Environment but didn't seem to think that it would achieve much. Both the City and County Councils agree that it would be the ideal solution for the city to acquire the Vale and make it public land, but neither council is prepared to pay the cost, each blaming the other of scrounging and neglect.

While the misers of public money are squabbling, what's happening to Flass Vale? You should go and have a look for yourself. It could be your last chance to see trees and grass in Flass.

"Local authorities over the years have been partly responsible for vandalism" from Councillor J Ramshaw who is pressing for the council to acquire more open spaces for recreational purposes. How about the Vale then?