Street smoking man!
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Unless I am dreadfully wrong Ravensworth Terrace in South Shields still runs from the Stagecoach bus depot at Chichester uphill following the Metro line to the West Park, it has always been thus, even though the lowest part is little more than a footpath. Google Maps does show that Ravensworth Terrace seems to stop at its junction with Hampden Street, but they have been known to make one or two small errors in the past. So, I’m puzzled, is the footpath part of Ravensworth Terrace or not? Has the last small section of highway been legally stopped up and removed from the maps ? (Durham County Council’s Historic maps show that the change from road to footpath happened after 1979)
Foregoing the above digression, I’d like you to take note of the fence on the right hand side of the picture, on the left is a building site growing in the car park of the former central surgery, which has now by and large relocated to the new “clinic” near The Nook (so I haven’t shown it), you might just see a small notice affixed to the railings, which I believe are still the responsibility of Nexus, the Metro light rail operator. Puzzling thing is the content of the notice, seems we now have some sort of semi official designated smoking zone on a public footpath, it is difficult to know which of South Shields’ smokers this is targeted at – all of them, or just the pitifully small number who use this footpath regularly? Perhaps it is targeted at the workforce involved at the former surgery, who knows?
However, after the public complaints surrounding the smokers at the General Hospital gate on Macannany Avenue I’m half expecting the NHS Primary Trust to erect a suitable notice on the adjacent bus stop, I’m sure Nexus won’t mind. Events now are far removed from the original health service that I first enjoyed as a young lad visiting his GP in Laygate Lane, back then you needed a fully operational gas mask, an 18 inch electric fan, and a million candle power torch to find your pipe smoking doctor in the the midst of the thick fog and smoke of his surgery!
I wonder if my two Progressive and one Labour councillor are aware of the emergence of this new public designated smoking area, or if Nexus are aware of the innovative use of their newish fence?
Perhaps it explains the lack of hedgehogs and foxes around there recently.