Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share via e-mail
Share on Google Bookmarks
West Auckland and St Helen`s Community
 Brought to you by Darren Fairclough

Email me

Home History Maps Community and Events Links Message Board

West Auckland Web Created by Darren Fairclough.          Back to Home Page                                All images @ Darren Fairclough 2013

Old News 2013 Old News 2012 Old News 2011 Old News 2008 Old news 2006 Old News 2005 Old News 2000

30/12/08          Travellers Under Fire For Damage

VILLAGERS are furious after hundreds of travellers descended on their green for an unofficial trap race. The gathering, in West Auckland, County Durham, highlighted the tensions between travellers and communities across the region. Council officers and police voiced their concern last night after about 200 members of the travelling community held trap races and left the village green a muddy mess.

Residents did not know the event was due to take place on Sunday, and say that horses and traps were racing along the A68 through the village, turning in the middle of the road, and holding up traffic. Some travellers parked on footpaths, blocking pavements and access to people’s garages, and 4x4s churned up wet grass, leaving deep, muddy tyre tracks on the green.

One resident, who did not want to be named, said it was the worst travellers’ gathering to take place in the village. He said: “This is the fourth one this year, and we don’t usually mind, but the damage they have caused this time is awful.” West Auckland Parish Council chairwoman, Councillor Hazel Charlton, said: “This is disrespectful of people’s property, and it is going to cost a fortune to put the area back to normal. “We really need to ensure this never happens again.” Durham county councillor Andy Turner fears that some parts of the green may need to be re-laid, which could delay the next phase of a £39,000 improvement scheme for the area. In the new year, the council expects to create a war memorial on the village green, and there are also plans to erect a statue of Sir Thomas Lipton, to commemorate West Auckland Football Club’s achievements in the early 1900s. Wear Valley district councillor John Ferguson called for the event organisers to be prosecuted, and questioned the lack of action taken over illegally parked vehicles.

“The police are prosecuting West Auckland residents for parking on footpaths for a few minutes while they go into shops, but the travellers were parking all over the place and were not being given tickets,

he said. Residents were also upset about the amount of litter which had been left behind and had to be cleared by the district council yesterday morning, plus horse droppings. Neighbourhood Inspector Martin Peace said police received some reports of racing on the road, but officers did not witness any races when they attended the event He said: “There were a lot of people around, and the large volume of vehicles caused some obstruction in the village. “We will be contacting the traveller liaison officer to find an alternative site, because this one is not appropriate.” Gipsy and traveller representative Billy Welch said the event was a traditional part of the travelling community’s Christmas celebrations, when people meet up to show off their new horses. He said: “Sometimes people tend to exaggerate things and make a mountain out of a molehill when it comes to travellers.

“We have had this before. People ring the police when we have not broken any laws, it is just a problem we have got. “There should not have been any mess, and the area should have been left the way it was found.”

Source Northern Echo

26/09/08 :  A Stroll around West

Well I had a little walk around west today,  to get some fresh air in the sun (yeah the sun couldn't quite remember what the sun was),  but along the way I thought I would take one or pics on the way. The First as you can see is the recently improved, paving and cobbled area outside West Auckland WMC, the next pic was of the new estate by Primo (formally Brosely Homes) near the football club, the estate is making good progress, whilst on about estates,  the housing company on the colliery yard seem to only have a small area left in order to complete the whole estate.  There has been some work on the Oakley Beck down on Oakley Green,  A new foot bridge added as well as some dredging,  last time it was done I am sure it must have been between 22 and 30 years ago, I must have been between 10 and 15,  I definitely remember the little beck flooding over the road,  and we had to use sand bags outside our home (75 Oakley)  I  must have been at least 8 years old,  does anyone else know when it was dredged last ?. I thought I would also add a small panoramic pic of the village green.

2007 -2008

29/08/08  BBC comes To West Auckland

Planned celebration of the Centenary of the first victory of the World cup has sparked the attention of the BBC. The one show should be in West Auckland on Saturday filming local  people regarding the cup,  they will also be filming the FA Cup Tie in the West Auckland's Football Ground at 3pm.  The show is due to be screened next  November or February.

24/07/2008         Development Plans on Show

STADIUM PLANS: Plans are on show  for a shopping and retail park at Tindale Crescent, Bishop Auckland, where developers Terrace Hill want to build a new stadium for Bishop Auckland Football Club, a Sainsbury’s superstore, a cinema and bowling alley. People from the company will be at Bishop Auckland Town Hall from 1 to 5pm 24th July, 10am to 5pm  25th July and 10am to 1pm on Saturday 26th July.

Terrace Hill is proposing a major mixed use development on the former Warner Electrics site, and surrounding land, at Tindale Crescent, in Bishop Auckland. The proposals include:

A new six-screen, 1000 seat Apollo multiplex cinema

A bingo hall and tenpin bowling alley

Two food and drink outlets, including a drive-through restaurant

A new (5574 sqm net) Sainsbury's food store and associated car parking

In addition, as part of the wider regeneration of the site, a new stadium would be developed to provide a permanent new home for Bishop Auckland Football Club. By providing a new access road, and undertaking remediation of the site, Terrace Hill will also help to facilitate the development of new industrial units on land to the west of the new football stadium.

The development will provide an exciting range of leisure and entertainment facilities not currently available to residents of Bishop Auckland. These would include a new six-screen multiplex cinema, screening the latest blockbusters. A new bingo hall and tenpin bowling alley will also be developed along with two new food and drink outlets.

19/07/08  West Auckland Carnival

West Auckland Carnival This year was officially opened by Pc Andy Hucker, the Carnival queen and entourage, made a loop around the green, before disembarking,. The fancy dress Judging took place, followed by the football finals in the main arena. There were demonstrations by the Gymnastics at Oakley Cross School, and Flyball Dogs also in the main arena .  Sure start made presence with face painting.  There was a impressive amount of amusements this year which I am sure took a few quid out of parents pockets, but it was still great to see them there. Weather was great for two hours until the heavens opened about 3 o'clock, just when the flyball dogs made their appearance.   

02/10/07       A PLAN to save an old mill by converting it into shops and homes has been welcomed.

Challener Developments has been given planning permission to revamp the Old Mill, in Station Road, West Auckland, into three ground-floor shops and 12 flats spread over three storeys. Wear Valley District Council and West Auckland Parish Council were keen to save the mill, which is in the village conservation area and was part of a car showroom until two years ago. After an plan to knock it down was withdrawn in 2004, parish councillors and conservation officers worked with English Heritage and the developers on ideas for the conversion. Although the mill has not been accurately dated, traces of its original use can still be seen. Records show that West Auckland would have had a mill since the 12th Century and it may have been on the same site. Now there are hopes that the development could encourage other improvements in the surrounding area.

Wear Valley's development control committee welcomed the conversion after hearing that the building had become an eyesore. Councillor Barbara Laurie said: "This is an extraordinarily ugly building, but it is a historic building which needs to be preserved. The plans make it look as good as it could be." Councillor John Lethbridge said: "It is ugly and it is an eyesore. The proposals will certainly enhance the scene." West Auckland councillor Colin Mairs said: "This will improve the whole area. It is exactly in keeping."  David Townsend, the council's head of development and building control said grants may be available towards the cost of the conversion. He said: "Investment in this building should be wholeheartedly welcomed as this is a key building in the Wear Auckland Conservation Area.

"The application site is in dire need of investment. The building itself is considered to be of considerable historic interest and is important due to its physical prominence and its cultural heritage value."

22/07/07  West Auckland Carnival Returns


West Auckland Carnival returned yesterday after a 4 year absence.  The fair was officially declared open by lollypop lady and lollypop man Joan and Ronnie Howard, who between them have 37 years service helping children across the road

During the day the crowds watched displays by the Oakley Cross Taekwando team, Line dancing displays and the football finals. Around the arena were various stalls  including free face painting provided by Surestart.  Towards the top of the green were fairground rides,  flying chairs, inflatable slide, merry go round, trampolines and  spinning cups.

05/07/07 -  St Helens Fair

The St Helens fair took place on Saturday  30th June,  and was well attended despite the weather.  Attractions for the day was dancers, children's performers, bouncy castles, slides, merry go rounds, face painting

29/06/07    New Bypass Opened By County Councillor Sonny Douthwaite

The Opening of the long waited bypass was conducted by County Councillor Sonny Douthwaite and 6 children,  2 from each of our local schools - St Helens,  Oakley Cross and Copland Road. The event took place on the a688 outside the Oakley Garage. Three Vintage cars were provided to carry  Sonny and Margaret,  and the Children along the bypass immediately after the opening ceremony.

27/06/07       West Auckland Carnival

The Carnival is back with a vengeance after a 4 year absence. It will take place on Saturday 21st July from 1pm - 4pm on the village green.

The event is being co­ordinated by the West Auckland Community Partnership and is being supported by the Parish Council. It will follow the pattern established in previous years. Any profits from the event will go towards village community projects, after a sum has been set aside for establishing the Carnival as an annual event. The process for bidding for funds will be set out in the September edition of West Life.

Carnival Queen Parade, Jazz Band. Fancy Dress Competition, Dancing Displays, Children's sports Demonstrations

Quoits, Football Finals, Fairground Roundabouts, Hot Food, Ice Cream, World Cup Display, Stalls

There is a whole range of events and competitions for villagers to enter and enjoy. So why not join in and be a part of the fun?

Carnival Queen Disco

The West Auckland Workingmen's Club has kindly agreed to host the Carnival Queen Disco again this year. It will be held on 16" July from 6.30 - 8.30pm. The Carnival Queen will be chosen during the evening along with her attendants. The ages are as follows: Queen's age 12 -16 years; Attendants ages 5 - 7 years and 8 - 11 years.

Fancy dress competition

The theme of this year's fancy dress competition will be 'Scarecrows'. All entrants will accompany the Carnival Queen at the opening parade. As always, prizes will be presented for the most original costumes.

Football, quoits and tug of war teams

We plan to hold: Five a side football competitions for adults and children Quoits competition

Tug of war competition.

Entry forms will be available from The Village Centre, village shops, pubs. and other village community groups. Subject to entries, knockout matches may need to be played prior to the Carnival with the finals on the day.

Photographic competition

The theme will be 'West is best!' This can include places, people. events, anything in fact that celebrates life in the village. Winning photos may be used as Christmas cards or in a Christmas calendar if content is suitable. The best entries will be displayed on the Carnival day and later at The Village Centre. The competition will be for children and adults, with prizes for all age groups All entries should be handed in to The Village Centre before the Carnival day, with details of photographer, age and address. (Photos will not be returned unless specifically requested).


There will be a Grand Raffle with a cash prize of £100 and many other prizes. Tickets will be available on and before the Carnival Day. So if your days as a Carnival queen are long gone, and the thought of stuffing an old shirt with straw doesn't thrill you, then please support the raffle. Every penny raised will go towards village community projects.

Children's Competitions

Painted egg competition

Garden on a plate (max size 25cms /10 inch diameter) . Entries to include name, age and address, will be accepted up to 12 noon on Carnival Day.

Best decorated house and business premises

Finally we hope the village will be looking its best in the week running up to the Carnival Day (14-21 July). There will be two competitions, one for the best decorated house and one for business premises (shops, offices, hotels, etc.). These competitions are for the whole village, not just those around the Village Green. Please collect an entry form from The Village Centre or make sure you submit details of your property for judging before Carnival week begins.

Carnival stalls and side shows

The Partnership is currently organizing stalls and side shows for the Carnival. If you would like to help with a stall, or have an idea for a good Carnival attraction, please make contact with those listed below. The Carnival is a fun village event and all who want to take part should be able to do so. The next Carnival committee meeting is at The Village Centre at 7pm on Wednesday, 27th June. You will be very welcome!

Carnival Contacts - Chris McHale (832717), Jill Wheeler (833646), Lynn Evans (834194). John Niven (834368) or Martin Roberts (833214)

21/06/07  New Bypass Grand Opening

The Long awaited West Auckland Bypass is due to Open on Friday 29th June officials will declare the bypass open at the Oakley Garage, a688, at 11am.

The 7 million pound scheme consists of a 7.3m wide single carriageway, approximately 2.4 kilometres in length, connecting the western end of Stage 1 of the scheme, south of St Helen Industrial Estate, with the A688 south-west of West Auckland (near to Oakley Service Station). The new road also intersects the A68 between Klickem Gables and Hummerbeck Bridge. The first stage of the bypass (completed in October 1998) provides access to an area of land which is proposed as a new ground for Bishop Auckland Football Club.

31/01/07    A Meeting that was not to be

DOZENS of villagers were left disappointed after a council officer failed to address a meeting about improvements to houses, following a bizarre mix-up. St Helen Auckland Residents Association's committee were shocked when its  Selby Close Community Centre was full to the rafters on Monday evening. It emerged that leaflets had been sent to houses in the village advertising the presence of Wear Valley District Council's interim director of development, Wayne Seaborn, to talk about a programme of replacement windows, doors, kitchens and bathrooms. But neither the association, nor Mr Seaborn, were aware of the leaflets, which had the Wear Valley District Council postmark on the envelope and St Helens Residents Association in large text at the top. Kevin Graham, who chaired the meeting, apologised to the residents whose questions were left unanswered. He said: "This committee's been embarrassed. It's in our name and we know nowt about it. "It is the first time we have seen this letter. I must apologise on behalf of the residents association." Yesterday, it was still unclear who had sent out the leaflets, which also carried an incorrect date. Mr Seaborn said: "I was unaware of this meeting and have spoken to Councillor Margaret Douthwaite to explain the situation and apologise. "I am writing to her today to see if I can attend the next meeting, which we will hopefully address. "I had no prior knowledge of this meeting - had I known, I would have been there."

Dan King

Reporter  - Northern echo

31/01/07     Football club Thefts.

    THE winners of the first ever World Cup have been left without goal nets and an expensive grass cutter following a theft at their ground. West Auckland Town FC, who beat mighty Juventus to win the Sir Thomas Lipton  Trophy in 1909, had their Darlington Road ground broken into on Sunday night. The thieves made off with a grass cutter and their goal nets, which will cost several hundred pounds to replace. The club, who play in the Arngrove Northern League, are now appealing for the return of the uninsured items, or face paying out to replace the vital equipment. The grass cutter, which is red and marked with WAFC, cost about £400 and had recently been serviced at the cost of £170. The goal nets are plain white and are the only set the club owns, meaning they will need to be replaced before the team's next home game against Dunston Federation on February 17. The club's general manager, Stuart Alderson, said: "It is really shocking. Every penny counts at a football club like ours and these are going to cost us £500 or £600 to replace. "When we come to the end of the season, we are always struggling for cash. "I can't believe that anyone who lives in West Auckland would do this - or what they are going to do with a grass cutter and some goal nets. We would appreciate getting them back." The famous World Cup trophy was stolen from West Auckland Workingmen's Club in 1994 and never found, although it has since been replaced by a replica. Anybody with information should contact police on 0845-60-60-365.

Dan King

Reporter  - Northern echo


Plans for a near-£680,000 conservation scheme at the heart of a County Durham village will go on display on Wednesday (January 24). The massive investment will be used to upgrade the historic centre of West Auckland.  Homeowners and businesses will be able to apply for grants towards the cost of repairing or reinstating historical architectural features on properties around the Village Green. Roof, masonry and window repairs will all come under the Partnership Schemes in Conservation Areas’ Grants Scheme. (CORRECT) Work will also be carried out to reinstate the original river cobbles and York stone paving on Front Street and part of Station Road. Durham County Council is putting £200,000 into the project under its Urban and Rural Renaissance Initiative. English Heritage has contributed £225,000 with £60,000 coming from Wear Valley District Council and £15,000 from West Auckland Parish Council. Homeowners and businesses are also putting £176,000 into the scheme.  

People can find out more by attending an exhibition in West Auckland’s Village Centre on:

·        Wednesday, January 24, 2pm to 7pm;

·        Thursday, January 25, 2pm to 6pm.

Representatives from the County Council will be available on those dates to talk to people about the scheme and how they can apply for grants. Information showing how the project will link with other environmental initiatives in the area, such as the West Auckland Bypass and the South West Durham Heritage Corridor, will also be available. The exhibition will run until Wednesday, February 7. People who are unable to attend can contact Tamsin Harrison, Urban Design Officer, at Durham County Council, on 0191 383 5670 for more information. Councillor Bob Pendlebury, Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability, at Durham County Council, said: “This is a superb opportunity to invest in the environmental improvement of West Auckland. “People and businesses can tap into grant money to repair or reinstate their unique historic buildings while also enhancing the appearance of one of our oldest communities. “This scheme shows our commitment to regeneration in neighbourhoods such as West Auckland and underlines the work we are doing, together with our partners, to build stronger communities.

19/01/2007          Volunteers Needed

A COMMUNITY drop-in centre in West Auckland is seeking volunteers to help run its services. The Village Centre, on the village's Front Street, has proven successful as a meeting point for youngsters since opening last August. But the renovated venue, which also hosts coffee mornings and other events for residents, needs more people to help out as the range of sessions continues to expand. The centre holds weekly sessions for two age groups of eight to 11-year-olds and 11 to 17-year-olds, as well as catering for adults and elderly people. West Auckland beat officer PC Andy Hucker, who is involved with the West Auckland Community Partnership Group who run the centre, is hoping that villagers will come forward. "The ideal person would be a local member of the community who wants to help," he said. "It's not just about children because it also holds coffee mornings and events for adults." Anybody who is interested in working at the centre can contact PC Hucker on 0845 6060365 ext 6231710.

Dan King

Reporter  - Northern echo

7/12/06             Bypass Update

WORK on the main phase of a £7m bypass resumes today. Site staff will return to the site of the long-awaited West Auckland bypass, following the Christmas break, where work began last August. Due to heavy rain, the oneand-a-half mile stretch of single carriageway is about one week behind schedule. But the project, which is being carried out by Balfour Beatty Limited on behalf of Durham County Council, is still on course to be completed by the middle of this year.  The council's resident engineer, Alan Cutty, said that work was going well on the project, which motorists have waited more than 50 years for. "Construction on the main phase continues to progress well despite poor weather conditions, " he said. "The works are approximately one week behind programme. This is due mainly to the above average rainfall in October and November." He said that an area of unexpected poor ground conditions had been encountered, and additional rainage was being installed. When finished, the work will link the first stage of the bypass, adjoining St Helen Auckland Industrial Estate with the A688 on the southwest outskirts of West Auckland. The new highway will include three roundabouts - on the A68 at Hummerbeck, at the western end of the first stage and where the road joins the A688 near Oakley Service Station - and a path for pedestrians, riders and cyclists. Mr Cutty said: "Construction of the new roundabout on the A688, close to Oakley Service Station, is under way, with some kerb lines in place to define the new road. "In January, work will start at the roundabout at St Helen Auckland Industrial Estate.  The link road will be closed to traffic during this period and access to the industrial estate will be from the A688 mini roundabout only."

Part-time traffic signals, which were removed over Christmas, will be in operation again. Mr Cutty said: "After the Christmas break, temporary traffic signals will be required on the A68 and A688, and there will be a temporary road closure of stage one on the bypass at St Helen Auckland."

Dan King

Reporter - Northern Echo

Home Page