Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Act Quickly on Infirmary

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Act Quickly on Infirmary

Article excerpt

The Gazette's concern for the North Riding Infirmary is laudable, as is to be expected of a community-orientated newspaper. Within two three-week periods of processing planning applications, around 14,500 people signed petitions urging the frontage be saved and restored.

Many were town centre residents, some from outer areas of the town, some from the wider Teesside area. Many felt that brief snapshot of opinion to be the tip of an iceberg in terms of support.

During the three years of Aldi ownership my initial letters and phone calls, as a concerned local ward councillor, to ascertain intentions were ignored.

The South Tees Health Trust were more forthcoming, telling a group of residents and myself they'd sold the building to Aldi, and it was their responsibility.

This was contradicted at last week's planning committee where the Aldi representative said they'd only been responsible for the building for a few weeks, since completing the sale in March.

The neglect and buck-passing has had serious local consequences. Over the last three years I've made numerous visits to the site and been in regular contact with the fire service, police, street wardens and officers of West Middlesbrough Neighbourhood Trust, to seek to put pressure on both "owners", with limited success.

The most obvious sufferers have been residents living in the vicinity, as you describe. I've discussed the situation on several occasions with Edna Donnelly, Chair of Newport Area Residents' Association and can well understand their heartache.

I know approaches will be made to Aldi this week to find a solution which respects their retail interests, and protects and develops the Infirmary.

I hope they will decide very swiftly on a change of course - in order that the site can now be properly secured, properly developed and the gateway to our town properly served with a unique building, which still has great potential. …

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