Saturday, 30 June 2012

Take Pride in Prudhoe 2012

Joined by a few others and in the light of the decision of 20th June 2012 that the new Prudhoe Town centre would go ahead, I have set up a Facebook page Take Pride in Prudhoe 2012. This builds on a previous Facebook page I participated in called Take Pride in Prudhoe but which was hijacked by a Turkish gentleman and which it has proved impossible to return to local admin. The flavour of the page is to celebrate the whole of Prudhoe, to offer a safe debating space for all polite viewpoints, and to be ready to ask difficult questions of the new development but also to document its progress as it changes the face of Prudhoe.

Here is a post from today to give you a flavour of things:
I am looking at the Hexham Courant 29th June at a story from the week before this week's storm. Page 5 reports on a downpour resulting in another sewage spill in the Castlefield woods. What baffles me is that along with many others last November I attended a public meeting where the new West Area Highways Engineer stood up and said Prudhoe needs a detailed drainage study, it would takes three years and there should be no major development meantime. This was stood on its head on the 20th June 2012. What are the options? Is the story wrong? Did I mishear with many others the man at the meeting? It then leads into another debate which a neighbour took me aside over today. Why are these decisions taken at meetings in Hexham? Would Hexham stand for the planning meeting about their new shopping developments taking place in Prudhoe? This gentleman told me how he felt utterly unrepresented in this decision taking. To Take Pride in Prudhoe the population must feel that someone takes notice of them. Take Pride in Prudhoe could translate into Take Notice of Prudhoe.
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Take Pride in Prudhoe (2012)
I anticipate that someone in favour of the development will say as the report says, the new surge tank will solve the problem. Firstly I think I am right in saying that such features built on Castlefields itself have had their own problems. Secondly the heat of my criticism would be removed by the county putting up the Highway's Engineer who spoke last November and having him say "that in his professional judgement against which he would stake his reputation that the present plan for the new development will either improve Prudhoe's drainage or not change it in any regard". If the man is happy to put that on record the strength of anyone's concern about drainage and the development is reduced.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

20th June 2012 Prudhoe Town Centre Development Approved

Readers here will know that the Prudhoe Town Centre has been chatted about here and in the real world for years. On 20th June 2012 Northumberland West Area Planning Committe finally gave it the go ahead. I have misgivings about THIS development but fully recognise developmental change is inevitable one way or another. The best summary I have of where things lie comes in the comments a Prudhoe councillor put on his facebook. Neil Bradbury said "

So the town centre application has gone through finally. I always suspected it would as the planning rules are not about whether you like something or not but whether it is broadly within the guidelines which, mostly, this is. There have been mixed reactions from "FINALLY we might get a decent supermarket" to "That's the end of Prudhoe".

What we have to do now is pull together as a community and make the best of the town and of the development by working with Northumbrian estates. I will be doing that and think that this town has a great future."

That is exactly it, the community must go forward and recent events like the Prudhoe Diamond Jubilee Street Party showed with panache what Prudhoe can achieve. I do find myself drawn to what Neil said about "broadly...mostly" . The sense I have that the plan is somewhat at a tangent to what would provide Prudhoe with a really excellent solution rather than a multi storey car park jutting out of  a hillside and towering over nearby homes is well expressed in that.

What is for sure is that all the years passed are but a beginning. Now the years of change in the heart of Prudhoe really start. To that end and recognising that an existing Facebook page Take Pride in Prudhoe has been hi-jacked I have created a new one Take Pride in Prudhoe (2012). I never managed the original one. I do the new one and I will ensure it remains an open place to talk about the subject. I shall positively manage it to allow all opinions to be heard without it becoming abusive and it will with my steer reflect my non-party partizan ethos.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Thomas Edmondson Tickets

For about 150 years, the sine qua non of railway and much shipping ticketing was this little pasteboard card called the Edmondson ticket. It was invented further along the Newcastle Carlisle line beside which I live. Now to showcase my own considerable collection, to advertise the related work of the Transport Ticket Society of which I am a member, to enable others to post their examples and discuss the subject and to provide links to tickets offered for sale I have opened this Facebook Community Page Thomas Edmondson Tickets. It features albums. Individuals wishing their own album space can approach me and this can be created. There is also a resource album leading you to books and other online resources about these tickets. If you can you are invited to Like the Facebook page. In the first 36 hours 25 people did so.

Northumberland West Area Planning Committee considers Prudhoe Town Centre 20th June 2012

Dear Charles

An Open Letter to Reverend Charles Hope Chair of the Prudhoe Community Partnership

Recent events in Prudhoe like the Jubilee Street Party show without doubt the magnificent community spirit that can be generated in Prudhoe. In very significant measure both you personally and the PCP corporately deserve clear praise as facilitators in these matters.

In two days time and after many years, what is anticipated as the  final planning consideration of the Northumberland Estates Prudhoe Town Centre project comes before the West Area Planning Committee of Northumberland County Council.

Last week I brought to your attention what had happened in nearby Newburn when a culvert constructed underneath a housing estate on land owned by Northumberland Estates failed ( This is just one of a number of incidents where the current management of Northumberland Estates have found themselves in unfortunate situations. As I have discovered in recent years these have been well documented embracing places around the county like Alnwick and Amble.

Flooding concerns have been but one issue raised in relation to Prudhoe. I remain firmly of the opinion that there is little appetite in the population of Prudhoe as a whole for a 20th century concrete monstrosity sprawling down the remaining piece of open hillside in the centre of Prudhoe and overlooking housing on three sides. A 21st century development would have been a different matter. One in which the environment and landscape was given true priority.

I note the letters available on public access from yourself in previous years offering essentially support to the development. In particular you offered the view ( in February 2008 that "the possible clash with existing traders should not be too great". With the passing of time I hope there is the Christian humility to recognise that the traders affected in very large measure did not agree with that statement.

Last summer the Northumberland Estates carried out a new public consultation with the citizens of Prudhoe. Are you aware of where the published results are?

Whilst not optimistic that my thoughts will bear much fruit, I would like to suggest that since I anticipate that you will be at this meeting, that you will take the floor and announce that since the project has proved far more contentious than first anticipated and with the recent incident at Newburn along with the lack (I understand) of a detailed flooding study at Prudhoe, the need for which was highlighted by a senior Northumberland County Council engineer in the public meeting 10th November 2011, that you withdraw your support from the project. And if you cannot do it institutionally as the PCP my own considered view is that personally as the town's parish priest representing all interests, you need to do this in  a private capacity.

Yours sincerely Robert Forsythe

To this open letter I received a reply from the vicar indicating that he had a previous engagement and would not be in attendance at this meeting.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

 An invitation to view . The image is of Britannia crossing the Old West River in the Cambridgeshire Fens. Back in 2007 I signed up with Cafe Press. Since when very little has been done with it. As ever family, ebay, other contracts, the list is endless have intervened. However our vast archives of images embracing our own photography and out of copyright advertising ephemera and postcards is crying out to be deployed. More effort then is being made with Cafe Press. More images and products have been added.  Over on our Facebook selling pages Robertatforysthe a Cafe Press album has been created. The beauty of Cafe Press is flexibility. I can allocate any image to any chosen product. You could look at our main Facebook albums and then request an image against a product and the indicated price and we could set that up. Do offer feedback on this shop. We may develop some specialist ones. Perhaps a Lighthouse one? I look forward to hearing about shower curtains and aprons being enjoyed featuring our imagery. As well as the more usual tile coaster or poster.