I see at least 2 problems facing residents of Great Aycliffe. Poor shopping centre and disappearing green space.
I moved to Newton Aycliffe in 1965 for work and a house. I got my first house in Bewick Crescent, in July 1965.
Then I was proud of our town centre and my Dad loved to travel all the way from Newcastle upon Tyne to shop in our town centre.
A lot has changed since then and the town centre, although nice to look at, is not very good for shopping and rather difficult for the disabled and elderly.
I believe that is because we have an absentee landlord. A company that doesn’t seem to want to meet or talk to the residents.
Shame the town centre wasn’t sold to the sitting tenants, then we would have had some human faces to complain to.
So what can we do about it? As shoppers we go elsewhere to shop but that leaves us with a town centre with empty shops. Could we provide alternative shops (owned by the shop keepers) for our residents? Could we buy-back our town centre?
As regards the disappearing green space? The town needs to grow to accommodate the ever increasing population. Accommodation that is affordable and social housing.
I have seen how ‘council houses’ and the neighbourhood changed for the better when the residents ‘owned’ the property. People tend to look after things they have paid for, better than something they rented/hired.
How can we achieve this growth and at the same time retain, improve and increase our green spaces in line with the growth of the town?
Mr Chris Palmer
40 Gilpin Road
Open Letter on Neighbourhood Plan