The Salt Store at the Council Depot

The new salt store has gone up in the Council Depot behind the Suez Waste Disposal Centre, off Shilburn Road. Unless your view is directly affected, it’s surprisingly hard to spot. But this vantage point, from beside the Fire Tower, is as good as any when the dump is closed, as it was yesterday of course.

It’s a big old flattened sphere all right, and its roof is falling to bits, which doesn’t bode too well for its vaunted purpose, to protect the road salt/grit from coagulating in the rain. I thought it was going to be Forstersteads that bore the brunt of the carbuncle-like view, but it must be Denefields, up at the top. I do feel sorry for those folks whose view has been ruined there, or at least hemmed in significantly. But from a quick assessment of the plaintive cries on Allendale area notices, some of those affected are reasonably fatalistic about the new construction, and perhaps in time its impact will fade into obscurity. It’s never easy living near to a waste recycling centre and right beside a council depot, regardless of the view that’s imposed, I suppose.

Most of us will never see it, unless we take things for recycling, and local drivers will be grateful for the enhanced grit capacity the big store should offer, in the winter months. The Hexham Courant did its best to cheerlead opposition to the big structure, back in February, but I imagine that it has reached its new height of 44 feet anyway, as the modified plans (upgraded from the original 33 foot height) were approved by the Tynedale Local Area Council (which used to be called West Northumberland, after the District Councils were unified under one county administration, and before that was called Tynedale District Council).

Another way to view the big dome is to take a walk along the mowed path laid out as part of the Allendale Growing Together project and identified by the newly installed green signs. You can see the salt store from this path between Shilburn and the Recreation Ground.

Councillor Colin Horncastle has suggested that a row of trees planted strategically to obscure the big structure, could help ameliorate the view impact on its bare side, which sounds a good proposition to me. It is amazing how quickly healthy trees can change a landscape: consider the birch tree avenue in the Recreation Ground, for an example.

So I guess there are several taller type structures in the East Allen: St. Cuthbert’s church spire, the chimneys, the Catton Beacon, the fire tower and now the salt store. Along with various marches of electricity pylons, of course. Over in the West Allen, there’s only the spire of Whitfield’s Holy Trinity church, a very dramatic piece of architecture piercing the sky. I imagine that life will go on, pretty much as normal, after the new salt store has become a part of the collective consciousness of this patch, much like the other tall structures we accommodate. But I do hope they fix the roof!

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