Politicians should attract jobs to Blyth, not houses

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It is incredible to read the statement from Miller Homes that the proposed building of 350 homes near Laverock Hall Road would provide “opportunity to create an attractive gateway into south west Blyth” (News Post Leader, June 5).

There has also been a letter from John Wilson lamenting the decay of Blyth town centre as an area with 13 closed shops, including the closed Co-op, having an abundance of charity shops and at the last count two pawnshops.

If the above statement from Miller Homes has any credibility then why haven’t the developments at the beach, and in the area close to Asda done just that? Or indeed the older estate at South Beach – I must have missed the café society blooming on the market square (aka the great grey desert cum car boot sale venue).

Blyth Council used to publish a brochure and in 1932, the then town clerk, J Leigh Turner, pointed out that Blyth had amongst other things:

a) Cheap sites

b) Low rates

c) A cheap and adequate supply of gas and electricity

d) An abundance of coal mined locally

e) An ample supply of skilled and unskilled labour

f) Good transport facilities by road, rail and sea

g) Efficient municipal services
h) First class educational facilities

i) Conveniently situated residential districts within easy reach of the industrial centre

Even as late as 1966 the council claimed that the people of Blyth liked “the shopping facilities as do many people living in the surrounding areas, augmented on Fridays and Saturdays by a lively open air market”.

I’ll leave it up to the reader to decide how many of the above still are valid.

Perhaps Mr Wilson and I are not seeing things as they are as the council on its website states that: “Blyth is a vibrant market town, port and home to some of the world’s greatest innovators in renewable technology.

“Situated in the south-east of the county, Blyth Town Council serve over 36,000 inhabitants in this the most densely populated town of Northumberland, which also boasts a fine beach, wonderful parks and a friendly disposition. Don’t just take our word for it though. Visit the beach and parks gallery or even more fine buildings, sights and amenities in around Blyth.”

Like Mr Wilson I grew up in Blyth when it had life, pride and lots of shops fuelled by almost full employment.

So rather than houses, the politicians should be attracting jobs, rather than creating follies such as the market, they should be regenerating the fine buildings in Blyth and removing the corporate tat attached to them.

Whoever wrote the council’s blurb need also to go for a walk around the town – but be careful of the dog mess if you do.

Alan Henderson

Blyth/Thun