Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Willy Poole Column

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Willy Poole Column

Article excerpt

Byline: By Willy Poole

Last week I wrote about second homes and social housing.

During the previous week I was talking to a friend who herds up the Coquet:

"When are you going to write about us chaps?" he said.

Last week I touched on his problem in general terms - now I want to consider him as an individual case.

We will call him M. When M retires he will lose the house where he was born and where his father lived and worked before him.

His family have herded in the Coquet for some 50 years and in the Cheviots since "before time".

When he retires he wants to remain in the area where his family roots reach down to the tectonic plates.

He knows that with nothing but his wage to rely on, his chance of buying a cottage for his declining years is about zero.

The old squires in this area were pretty good about finding houses for employees with a long and faithful record of employment.

The young squires, such as they are, are often constrained by trustees from being charitable.

They also feel that as successive Governments have worked to destroy their birth rights, then those Governments should bloody well cope with the consequences of their actions.

If M is evicted his local authority has a duty to re-house him, but as he says, he does not want to be banged up in Pegswood or Ashington, it would be akin to transportation.

He wants to stay in the area that he knows and loves and one of those seldom-occupied second homes would do nicely.

And talking of Ashington - I hardly had time to unpack from my French trip (of which more anon), and I had to attend the 30th Anniversary Dinner of the Ashington Branch of the Coldstream Guards Association.

I regarded this invitation as a great honour, as I was never a Coldstreamer.

For some reason everyone assumes that I am an ex-cavalryman - I am not. …

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