Housing is not the answer

Having read the article on Northumberland County Council’s imminent investment into specific towns within the county, and Bedlington’s in particular, I have to ask which brains of Britain dreamt this up?

Having been told to expect an ambitious announcement which would finally bring much needed public/private investment into Bedlington, what we get is actually a continuation of a 50-year-old stagnant policy of new housing for the town.

Rip down the council offices and sell the land for housing is the main if not the only crux of it.

Is nobody listening to what a lot of residents and the community is saying, the infrastructure in Bedlington is not in place to support the housing we have, never mind just adding more.

Adding more and more housing is not the panacea some people obviously think it is. Course it is income producing for the rest of the county’s expenditure!

Looking at the specifics and the old council offices, do we really need to have it ripped down?

Given that this is the final community asset we have which has not as yet been asset stripped by the council, can we not make more use of it?

What about some of those thousands of jobs going to Ashington and the new County Hall, can’t we get some of those departments and maybe see a couple of hundred office jobs here?

What difference might that make, well a few hundred office workers looking for a bite to eat and something to drink at lunchtime would certainly improve pedestrian numbers in Front Street and maybe give new businesses something to come here for.

Not just for the obvious, but imagine seeing some new fashions or the latest gadgets on offer, you might well decide to pop back after work and buy them too.

If it has to be knocked down, is housing the answer? Almost certainly not.

What better site for a leisure facility, and by this I mean a youth facility, sports facility, Heritage Centre and info point.

That sort of combination should ensure sustainability and start the slow progress towards making Bedlington a destination town, rather than a passing point on the way to somewhere else.

Also it is not a cleared site or exactly the Aldi and Lidl business model where they prefer to build their own style of retail outlet.

Absolutely no chance of them taking the Tesco site on but maybe somewhere where they can stamp their own individuality on the build might be of interest.

So are there any other options for this site in the town rather than just relaying on a staid and unimaginative new housing policy? You bet there are.

Will we get the chance to present such possibilities (not just for this site but for other sites within the town) to the great and good who know what is best for us?

Going off past experience, definitely not.

Seems a funny owld partnership this to me, even stranger when you consider all these decision-makers are all working for us.

Malcolm Robinson