Letter to Gazette in response to FEEDBACK – ‘We Say’ on 27 August 2015.
I welcome your positive response to TeessideTogether’s call to end the area’s undoubted identity crisis and the reiteration of your wish to move away from the Tees Valley brand (We Say, August 27).
The only defence which seems to be put forward for the brand—which our local MP and Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton has again recognised is not popular—is that Darlington and Hartlepool cannot be described as, in your words, ‘by the Tees.’
In reality the Tees runs through Darlington, skirting ‘Blackwell’ and ‘Conisciffe Road’ – and – Hartlepool lies on the northern side of the mouth of the Tees, where Seaton Carew North Gare beach sits with its ‘excellent’ water quality. What is clear that neither Darlington nor Hartlepool…nor the rest of our area…lie in a ‘Valley.’
The suggestion that we continue to have imposed upon us an artificial identity which has no basis in fact, history—or public sentiment—because it is the least worst cannot be in the interests of our area, especially at a time when, through the move to greater devolution, we are seeking to compete in the same league as the North’s major cities.
What better evidence can there be that Tees Valley has failed than the words of local business figure Neil Etherington, who actually led the first organisation to try to promote the brand when he says it ‘remains a wholly artificial construct. It fails to register at all with the community that it is supposed to serve, the audience that it is supposed to attract or the businesses that it is supposed to support.’
Chairman, Teesside Together