3 August 2011
Forty years ago today our city council voted in favour of the first two stages of a new inner ring road. The local paper announced the ‘convincing’ 31-14 vote in favour in its 3 August 1971 edition.
As I’ve just been reorganising my pages on the inner ring road plans, I’ve got in front of me a photocopy of that front page. In those days the local paper, which cost 3p, was produced in broadsheet size, and in 1971 it was called the Yorkshire Evening Press. A ‘Late Extra’ was necessary for breaking news, in the days before the internet.
The front page headline declared ‘Ring road green light – now to sort out traffic’, and included an illustration of the proposed route. This was obviously an exciting development, one which looks totally bonkers now.
At the top of the paper’s front page are adverts – for EvaPrest trousers (£3.75) from Edmund Jackson, in Davygate; and typewriters from Ben Johnson & Co, on Micklegate.
There’s a tendency to feel nostalgic about the era of typewriters and Evaprest trousers, and the big old Evening Press that cost 3p. But the 60s and 70s also saw the destruction of many historic buildings, and in many cases their replacement with buildings most of us still find hideous, mainly made of concrete.
Perhaps one of the most suprising things about the 1970s ring road plans is that apparently there were only 208 objections. Not many, considering the vast implications, and the proposed destruction of so many properties, homes and businesses.
Apparently, according to Councillor Douglas Craig (yes, that one), much of the protest was ‘by people from or on the fringe of the university‘.) Now, forty years on, when there’s a really crap plan put forward, thousands of people can more easily raise their voices in protest. Whether it’s a local issue, or something on a bigger scale. I guess that’s something to remember, and be thankful for.