Pity Me path works – another Lib Dem success

Footpath resurfacing works have started today on The Avenue, Hudspeth and Hartside. We have been pushing for this for a number of years and are very pleased our repeated pressure has finally paid off and the paths will get the first work to them for decades.

Woodbine Rd, Folly Terrace and Red Briar Walk are also set for work and we are working with the Council to get a number of others in the area done too.

Planning application for new social housing submitted – Lib Dem social housing success

The planning application for new social housing on Woodbine Road / Folly terrace has been submitted. We are delighted that our hard work has paid off and the village is to get new affordable housing. This follows years of the Labour-run council refusing to help improve this area of Pity Me.

Durham City Homes’ proposals will make the area look much better, and as your Lib Dem councillors we have managed to secure a local lettings policy, so local people will get first chance to apply for one of the homes through Durham Key Options.

In addition, our pressure will mean that most of the footpaths in the area will be resurfaced this year, further enhancing the village.


New bus shelters in Newton Hall – progressing well

A new bus shelter which was requested by residents during our survey earlier this year, is close to completion, thanks to our speedy action.

The shelter on Rothbury Road will help make it easier for local residents, particularly the elderly after we managed to get some extra steps installed as well!IMG_6131

Another shelter requested for Finchale Road, Newton Hall outside the school is currently under consultation. Numerous residents asked for one at this location and we are hopeful that it can be provided.

Over many years we have managed to get a huge number of new and replacement shelters, including scrapping many of the old brick ones which used to cause anti-social behaviour. Indeed I can hardly remember the last time we had a report of anti-social behaviour or noise in one of our bus shelters – other than some broken panels on Fram Front St.


Teaching assistants being blackmailed into taking massive pay cut by Labour politicians

You couldn’t make it up. Yesterday Labour run Durham Council insulted Teaching `assistants by offering them two years protected salary in return for slashing their pay by up to a quarter.

I hope every Labour voter in County Durham finds out about how appallingly Labour is treating its lowest paid education staff. Why should anyone be expected to take such a huge pay cut? An utter shambles of a disgrace from a Labour run council which is acting more and more like a far-right Tory one.

Durham’s Labour councillors scrap youth club funding and slash youth budget – Lib Dem councillors vow to continue to help young people

Yesterday I challenged Simon Henig to delay any further cutting of youth service budgets.

Cabinet were deciding on scrapping open access services – youth clubs in effect.

At the same Cabinet meeting the department which is in charge of Youth Services, reported that it had made additional savings of more than £850,000 – unexpected early savings.

It also has £14m in a cash limit reserve not allocated to anything.

I asked that some of these unexpected savings be used to extend open access youth provision to give voluntary groups more time to change the way they work and search for alternative funding streams.

Cabinet members refused. Shame on Labour for ending youth club funding when they have the money to keep supporting them!

In addition to the £14m cash limit reserve in Adult and Children’s dept (now being broken in two), the Council has 50 other reserves of over £150m.

In addition it has a general reserve of £30 million.

Any suggestion from Labour politicians that we need to scrap youth clubs and open access provision right now is utter nonsense.

One Labour cabinet member said that she did not see why other areas should have any youth clubs since her area did not have them and in the past others (councillors etc) had secured facilities in their areas and that was unfair.

A damning indictment on her failure to ensure facilities in her area. This sounded very much like: If I don’t have them then stuff your area you can’t have them – beggar thy neighbour or what!

Whilst Labour politicians couldn’t care less about young people in our area, as your Lib Dem councillors will do all we can to ensure that our area has good facilities.

Over the last few years we have secured funding to upgrade play facilities in Framwellgate Moor, Newton Hall and Brasside, including a new play area at Caterhouse Road and brand new equipment in Brasside.

We also provided funding for Abbey Leisure Centre to have youth gym facilities and have assisted local community centres with funding which has helped local youth groups to have sessions in better quality buildings.

We have helped all our local schools with funding or assistance to improve facilities or provide excursions, local events or projects and this year we are supporting the only major fireworks display in the area at Framwellgate School – You can get tickets from St Cuthbert’s hospice which is managing the event and raising funding for the hospice.

We continue to look for other projects which can help young people in our area, so please let us know if there is something you think we can help with.

Tidying up the area – Pity Me

The Council has quickly responded following my requests for various areas to be strimmed and tidied up in Pity Me this week:

  • entrance to acorn place
  • the orchard
  • the rear of front street
  • st oswald’s sq

There is some litter picking still to do but I am assured it will be tended to.

If you know of other areas which look a bit of a mess please let us know so we can get them tidied up.

Council slammed again over Teaching Assistants

The Guardian newspaper today tore the shreds off Labour-run Durham County Council for it appalling handling of teaching assistants.

You can read the report here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/06/teaching-assistants-durham-pay-slashed-women-lions-of-durham-grunwick

Labour councillors should be ashamed of their actions to date.

Now a new proposal is in – an offer of a wage protection package for 2 years followed by losing unto a quarter of their pay – some deal that is!! Needless to say Lib Dem councillors are once again challenging the shameful actions of the Labour-run council and its Labour councillors over this matter.

Rosemount broadband disgrace – update

BT Openreach have shown themselves to be in my opinion one of the worst companies in the whole country.

After further research I have discovered that they repeatedly either put on hold or cancelled an order to put in place the electrics for the broadband box which is needed to provide much of Rosemount with faster broadband.

We have, finally managed to get BT to install the equipment needed – actually inside the box and time is now counting on the electricity supply being brought the the site with hopes of a go date in or before November.

I am personally keeping in touch with Northern Powergrid after getting inaccurate information that they had been the problem – they categorically have not been!

I am convinced that if we hadn’t been pushing for this box to be sorted it would still be years away.

Hopefully in the coming months everyone will have the broadband they need on Rosemount.

There are still other parts of our area which should have faster services and hopefully they will see action soon as well.

Brasside play area opens for business – Thanks to Lib Dem councillor action

Children in Brasside are celebrating as new play facilities secured by your Lib Dem councillors have been put in place. The equipment was installed just in time for school holidays.

Local children chose the equipment including a specially designed “open slide” which I tried out with a lot of trepidation! Mamie, Amanda and I checked out the site and are monitoring to make sure that any initial issues are dealt with.


The village has waited for many years for new play equipment after the Labour run County Council refused to support a new play area.

The parish council didn’t feel it was in a position to fundraise and organise a new play area, so it was left to your Lib Dem councillors once again to take action. The Parish Council has agreed to take over the management of the site.

The site has previously a boggy mess, so waterlogged that you could;t play on it. As part of the proposals we have ensured that a full new drainage system has been installed, so that youngsters can enjoy the field and play football and other games.

We are now working on a phase two plan which will add some additional equipment and make the site look much more appealing too.


Traffic order for Framwellgate Moor to stop pavement parking

We have secured consultation which should lead to action on changing the parking restrictions opposite shops in Framwellgate Moor.

We made significant changes to improve the area a few years ago, getting limited waiting in the parking bays, and providing a new carpark at the rear of the community centre, however many inconsiderate people are still pulling onto the single width parts of the pavement opposite the shops.

The current restrictions are not adequate. The proposed restrictions we have asked to be consulted on will remove all rights to waiting and unloading on the pavement. If these proposals are confirmed, there will then be zero excuse for putting pedestrians at risk.

As local councillors we will then be asking residents to photograph any illegally parked cars and will be pushing for maximum levels of enforcement to stamp out this dangerous practice.