Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago (published Gazette, March 27, 2014)

The Northumberland Gazette delves into the archives to remind readers of stories from the past.

10 YEARS AGO – Thursday, March 25, 2003

Shoppers campaigning for a second supermarket in Alnwick are celebrating the Government’s apparent change of heart on out-of-town stores. Reports that Chancellor Gordon Brown has sanctioned a lifting of the ban on out-of-town supermarkets have given renewed hope to campaigners wanting to see a Tesco store on the Willis Garage site on South Road. Currently, there is an outright ban on out-of-town shopping centres. Last year, Tesco’s Alnwick bid was turned down by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott after a public inquiry, despite overwhelming public support. Since then, Gordon Brown has been under pressure from retail giants, including Tesco, to change the guidelines. It is understood that officials have agreed to change the planning rules.

25 YEARS AGO – Thursday, March 23, 1989

Alnmouth’s award-winning station is facing a bleak future – from a staff point-of-view. CD Dickinson, area manager of British Rail, Eastern Region, wrote to members of the district council planning committee stating the staff situation. “I want to be open with you,” he stated. “There is absolutely no possibility of staff at Alnmouth being reinstated after 2.15pm unless externally funded by Alnwick District Council, Northumberland County Council or another body.” This comes after Alnmouth retained its Eastern Region Best Small Station Award for the second year running, beating off 17 other candidates. Mr Dickinson said British Rail was prepared to meet the council to explain their actions and explain why destaffing had occurred.

50 YEARS AGO – Thursday, March 26, 1964

Come what may in the way of weather, the big Easter parade to coast and country will be sliding into top gear in a few hours’ time as millions of holidaymakers set out by road and rail for their favourite beauty spots to enjoy themselves during Britain’s first public-weekend break of 1964. Bus and train services throughout Northumberland are already poised to cope with the expected rush which will end at caravan and camping sites and at hotel and boarding houses, all of which report fairly heavy bookings, despite an early Easter. United Automobile Services announce that apart from a few withdrawn early-morning journeys, normal Sunday services will operate on all routes on Good Friday. British Railways announced that they would be running 420 additional trains in the northern region.