Wind turbine protestors lose fight August 1st 2005
CAMPAIGNERS in Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Sedgefield constituency have lost their fight against a wind farm they say could blight their lives. Energy firm EDF has won its appeal against Durham City Council’s refusal of permission to erect four 76-metre turbines between Town Kelloe and Trimdon Colliery. Councillors rejected the scheme despite the recommendation of planning officers to grant approval. That decision delighted the members of Trimdon Action Group Against Wind Farms, who were worried about possible subsidence, light flicker, noise, vibrations and the possible effects on people’s health. Mr Blair’s agent John Burton wrote signalling support for the objectors. Council officials said the turbines would not have a “significant visual impact”. Council leader Fraser Reynolds said: “We do recognise that many people did have concerns about noise and visual impact around this scheme. We will now try to make sure that residents are kept informed of the various stages involved in developing this site by EDF Energy.
“At the end of the day all local authorities in this region have signed up to the Regional Spatial Strategy and sustainable energy generation is part of our own LA 21 agenda. Any planning application for alternative energy will be judged on individual merits, as this particular plan was.”
A spokesman for the North-East Assembly, which drew up the Regional Spatial Strategy, said although the site was not specifically earmarked for wind power, it was identified as an area of “least constraint” where small development may be appropriate. EDF welcomed the decision, saying the wind farm could supply the annual requirements of up to 3,333 homes.
Air Crash Investigation & Archaeology June 2005
Research group ACIA is trying to trace any surviving relatives of Sgt George Marshall, of Trimdon, who was killed on 1st March 1943 whilst serving with the RAF. George is buried in Trimdon Grange Cemetery and his parents were James and Alice Marshall, of Trimdon Village. The group is researching wartime aircraft accidents and George’s aircraft is one of them, having crashed onto remote moorland near Bellingham, Northumberland. The remains of the aircraft are hopefully going to be excavated later this year and are to go on display at the North East Aircraft Museum in Sunderland. It is also hoped that a memorial will also be erected near the crash site. The main reason for tracing the relatives of Sgt Marshall is to invite them to the memorial unveiling should it come to fruition. If you think you can provide any information, please get in touch.
Blair’s short walk into history 7th May 2005
by Chris Lloyd Northern Echo
AS fields go, this is a famous one. It separates the Blairs’ constituency home of Myrobella in Trimdon Colliery from the low community association hall in which they cast their vote. It’s a puddly field, with water collecting in the dips of the football goalmouths. For its big moment this year, the field had been cut. Clarts of matted grass clippings stuck to the shoes of the Blairs as, for the third time, their walk across the field was followed by live TV cameras and photographers from across Europe. In both May 1997 and June 2001, the council had allowed the grass in the famous field to grow. Buttercups and daisies gave it an attractive, pastoral feel.
This year, though, only a few dandelions survived the tyranny of the lawnmower. They kept yellow heads low until the blades had passed over and now they pushed upward.
In May 1997, on a blisteringly hot day, the three children did not reach Tony and Cherie’s shoulders as they tripped breezily across the field as the nation joyfully turned to New Labour. In June 2001, on a pleasantly warm day, it was a workmanlike walk. The boys, Euan and Nicholas, were big and confident, stepping out on their own. Only Kathryn clung shyly to her father’s hand. But then, in November 2003, what may yet be the defining moment of Mr Blair’s premiership occured on this field.
Two giant Black Stallion Sikorsky helicopters landed in the goalmouth closest to Myrobella, bringing the Republican President George Bush to cement a friendship born in wartime. And so, in May 2005, the walk across the field seems a little subdued.
“It’s caad,” notes an elderly woman of the weather change. On the chilly wind drifts the clatter of a helicopter – “these are just toys, these helicopters”, says a local who watched grown policemen blown over by the downblast of Mr Bush’s choppers. Cherie waves enthusiastically for the cameras, and brings Euan, now 21, and Nicholas, 19, into line for a tight picture. They are both voting for the first time. Kathryn, now 16, has stayed at home.
Tony – open-necked for the first time on polling day – just holds up a hand to acknowledge the photographers (their number is down, too, from 34 in 2001 to 22 yesterday). “Rock on, Tony, man,” shouts a voice from the small crowd. And in these parts at least, Mr Blair is still extremely popular. “You shouldn’t need to ask, we’re all Labour round here,” says an elderly lady, making her way on a stick and an arm to vote. She adds: “But some folks are funny – y’know, that Sedgefield lot.” She waves her stick towards the more conservatively-inclined townlet down the road.
“I remember the big strike in 1926,” says Nora Morgan, 86, who with her husband John, 84, a retired miner, has seen all the walkings and landings on the field these last eight years. “I was seven years old and we ate in soup kitchens on Christmas Day. We can never let the Tories back in.” As the Blairs disappear behind the peeling green paint of the polling station, Evelyn Haupt arrives from Hanover, in Germany. “I am a Tony fan,” she says in the perfect English that she teaches to children back home. “I get butterflies in my stomach seeing him.” Pinned to her lapel are four handmade badges showing pictures of her meeting Mr Blair. She jiggles another handful in her pocket, and points to the one he signed at a Labour conference two years ago.
“I was amazed by his speech in front of Downing Street in 1997,” she says. “I met him first when he was on holiday in France in 1997, and ever since I have met him once or twice a year. “I like his politics – with the exception of Iraq, but that’s over now. I like him because he’s very intelligent, warm and honest.”
Their votes cast, a dark green Jaguar sweeps the Blairs away. Tony is off to thank the party workers in Sedgefield; Cherie is off to the Catholic church in Trimdon village because it is Ascension Day. Yesterday morning’s polls suggested their votes would help Labour to a comfortable and historic third victory. But for the field, anonymity rather than history beckons. Mr Blair, who will step down as party leader before the next election. He will never walk this way as Prime Minister again.
Articles from other years;