Thursday, March 08, 2007

Reprieve for the White Horse?

Interesting item in today's Echo that the White Horse Hotel may not be for the wrecking-ball after all.

The owners report that the bar and restaurant may be about to re-open, and that they are in discussions with "a third party".

I understand that Mark Burton, one of Labour's candidates in May's election, was the source of the story, after posting the news on his excellent harrowgatehill website. He's quoted at the end of the story. Constructively Mark is encouraging local people to use the bar and restaurant, and was never one of those to try and exploit the closure for political purposes. His website includes some interesting observations by the pub's owners.

Bad news I fear for the Tories' candidates in the ward, who have predicated their entire campaign on the White Horse being a pile of rubble come May. More cannily both Labour and to a lesser extent the LibDems have invested heavily in bread-and-butter work around the ward.


Anonymous said...

Must comment here, Mike and Gill for the Tory's did not fight the White Horse closure for political gain.. What led them into politics is how badly they were treated and the lack of support by their present Labour Councillors.

The fact Mark Burton is now using the material just makes the Labour Party look like a laughing stock.

Do you honestly believe believe that they fought a fantastic campaign just so they could stand for Council. Come on smell the coffee...

Roll on May. When I read the article in the paper, I thought it made him look like a cheap skate.

Anonymous said...

No bread and butter work eh?
Go to to explode that myth!

Gill Cartwright said...

Bad news Nick, hardly. Its the best news possible we saved the White Horse! Might even have a party and invite the 400 people who voted in the referendum to save it.
Got a fab leaflet to send out to celebrate the hard work and support of the people of Harrowgate Hill.

Anonymous said...

Where might you hold this party? It would make a first for you to set foot in the place... that is if they let you in!

Darlington Councillor said...

I wonder in respect Gill and Mike can claim they "saved" the White Horse? It was a commercial decision to close the hotel, and now it would seem to keep it open.

The message that Gill and Mike pushed that somehow this was a case of a community vs. an uncaring Council was always rubbish, and they knew it. It was a cynical ploy, and reflected poorly on both of them.

Aeres said...

I'm sure that you're correct to say that it was commercial reasons that saved the Horse rather than Gill and Mike.

However, it's also true that they did a hell of a lot more to save the place than the 3 sitting councillors who barely lifted a finger during the entire campaign - this despite overwhelming evidence that the people who they were supposed to represent were opposed to the closure.

Sorry Nick, but I think community vs uncaring Council is bang on the mark - how did the Council 'care' exactly?

Darlington Councillor said...

I'm not suggesting that Gill and Mike Cartwright did not campaign against the closure of the White Horse, although there has been some airbrushing of history regarding the involvement of the ward councillors - I understand that John Vasey went along to meetings and spoke powerfully against demolition at the Planning Applications Committee.

However, to ask how the Council "cared" is to miss the point - the Council had a duty to consider the planning application and not take sides. In planning law, the case against demolition was very weak, hence the officers' advice that the flats should be allowed. That the White Horse is a local landmark (which is really what this all bolied down to) was no reason in planning law for refusal.

I think the lead campaigners knew all of this perfectly well, but for whatever reason tried to portray the fight as residents vs. Council when all along it was residents vs. developers. Cynical stuff?

Anonymous said...

Talk about 'airbrushing history' where do you get off on saying that the 'landmark' point was at the root of the campaign. How about relevant issues, which were believed went against government recommendations, such as the removal of a community facility and the destruction of a perfectly good building. Fears over traffic congestion due to the lift parking system which it was felt would not be used on a regular basis by residents due to the associated time factor with such a system. I could go on but a council, that back then was going for the easy option i.e. give the developer what they want, was not listening.