“Utter Farce” as Durham Council’s new all singing and dancing computer system stops councillors and employees reporting problems.
Durham County Council has taken a new system online to improve reporting of issues such as potholes, missed bin collections, litter and flytipping.
Unfortunately, the new system will not allow anyone with a Council email address to register. This means that the 126 County Councillors on Durham’s unitary authority can’t use it. Or for that matter the 1000’s of council employees!! We have also been told that we can’t use personal email addresses either! So we can’t use the system and are back to emailing in issues we need to report.
Except the new system doesn’t respond to you including the message you sent, so if we send more than one request for action we haven’t a clue which reference refers to which issue.
As I frequently send in up to a dozen issues at a time ranging from litter to flytipping to pothole repairs, I and all other councillors are now left trying to figure out which response refers to which request because of the Labour-run Council failing to make sure it had a brand new system which worked.
Only in County Durham!
I have contacted the Director of Neighbourhood Services to point this out. Apparently the council is going to try and find a solution but it could be some time in September or October. We are also to be “consulted” on how the new system works for us – a bit late isnt it when its already live?
We have become increasingly angry at the rubbish being left by certain outlets outside their properties. Overflowing bins, tubs of fat and food waste are completely unacceptable, and we are adopting a zero tolerance approach to this issue which is ruining the look of the area.
Over recent months we have reported issues to the Council many times, however problems persist and we are concerned about the strength of the response and the results of enforcement.
We need your help. Every time you see overflowing takeaway bins or rubbish or containers left lying around at the front side or rear of any of the business properties on Front Street, or for that matter at any of the other shopping areas, please take photos with your phone and text or email them to us as.
Together we will make sure that these businesses and the Council take this issue seriously.
In addition we thought it worth providing details of the inspections done by the Council of the premises for food safety reasons – these are recorded on the Food Standards Agency website and are updated as and when an outlet has a new report which can be anything from 6 months to two years.
You can find the list here for Framwellgate Moor: http://ratings.food.gov.uk/authority-search/en-GB/%5E/framwellgate%20moor/desc_rating/0/durham/%5E/0/1/10
Here for Pity Me/Arnison: http://ratings.food.gov.uk/authority-search/en-GB/%5E/pity%20me/desc_rating/0/durham/%5E/0/1/10
and here for Newton Hall: http://ratings.food.gov.uk/authority-search/en-GB/%5E/newton%20hall/desc_rating/0/durham/%5E/0/1/10
If you can’t find the business you are looking for note there are three or four pages for each. You can also enter in the name of the premises, postcode or area in the search box on the FSA website.
We have been working on improvements to Framwellgate Moor Front Street. All the waste bins have been replaced with new ones. The old bins had broken doors, were cracked or damaged. We had three different types and most had no ashtray. Now all are the same and have ashtrays. We have already noted an improvement, but will have to wait until the start of the new college year in September to see the full impact. We have also been asking for more frequent cleansing of the street as pavement gullies have been clogged up with rubbish.
In addition, numerous bollards which were missing or damaged have been replaced and we are looking into further improvements in the coming months.
Ultimately we would like to see the pavements resurfaced however the Council says it doesn’t have the money. We offered to contribute to the cost but this was rejected.
We have launched a petition against Options 1,2 and 3 of the County Plan. Help us get signatures.
You can sign the petition on the Council website at:
You can download paper copies here:
County Plan Petition 2016
Please get as many signatures as possible and return to us by the deadline.
The Council’s Option 1 for the future of Durham City over the next 17 years includes building 9000 houses including at least 5000 on the greenbelt. Options 2 and 3 are not much better, so we have a petition for an improved version of option 4:
PETITION AGAINST OPTIONS 1,2&3 OF THE COUNTY DURHAM PLAN & SUPPORT FOR A MUCH IMPROVED OPTION 4
We the undersigned believe Options 1,2 and 3 of the County Durham Plan Issues and Options proposals will place unacceptable pressure on Durham City and the villages around it, damaging the Greenbelt and risking Durham’s unique status as a World Heritage City. Varying Option 4 to provide a more even spread of housing, with additional infrastructure, skills and investment to boost jobs and regeneration in all parts of County Durham would offer the best sustainable plan for the City and all of our County’s towns and villages.
After numerous attempts to get the block trod path from Pity Me to Newton Hall/Finchale Road and the cycle/path to Rotary Way from Abbey Road cut back, the Council have finally got round to doing it. It really shouldn’t be necessary for us to have to raise this to director level. The council has to get to grips with paths in urban areas which are not next to the highway. It has no policy at present, but I am assured that it is being looked into.
Residents have until the 5 August to comment on the first stage of the County plan.
We are currently delivering 6000 leaflets explaining our views relating to the four options being offered by the Council.
It is essential that as many residents as possible tell the Council that Option 1 is unacceptable as it would place too much emphasis on house building around Durham City. It proposes large scale destruction of the greenbelt with as many as 9000 houses to be built in Durham City.
The report can be read here:
Please send in your comments to the Council.
You can respond in numerous ways including by email to:
We we will put more on the blog in the next few days.
I have now had to complain at Director level about two paths in our area which every single year get ignored by the Council and become so overgrown that it is practically impossible to walk or cycle along them.
The first is from the Vauxhall Garage on Abbey Road to Rotary Way and is supposed to be a cycle path. Its a complete mess with rose bushes almost touching the ground in the middle. It once was 1.8m wide, now the path is barely visible in places.
Different council departments blame others for who is responsible and it seems to fall on Public Rights of Way who it appears do not have any money.
The other path is very well used and is the Old Wagon Way/Black Trod. About 7 years ago Miller Homes paid a substantial amount as part of the Meadows development of the old council depot to upgrade the path from Pity Me Oxley terrace, right across to Old Pit Lane, connecting Newton Hall with Fram and Pity Me. Every year I have to ask for it to be strimmed, and right now it is less than 50cm wide in places. Many residents like to push prams or cycle along here, or simply walk along it. The Council has never yet put it on a strimming program despite even the new Chief Exec being asked for action and the surface has now almost disappeared. Hopefully now that these are on this blog and have been elevated to the top of the Council we will see some action. If the council wants people to walk more and cycle, the least it can do is keep some of the most well used paths in our area passable.
Tomorrow will be the biggest vote for a generation. I expect most have made their mind up. Whichever way you intend to vote think about the impact on the North East as well as the Country as a whole. My previous post makes a very valid point:
Littering mess in carpark and overgrown areas:
On a check around the area this week we have noticed that once again the car park is a disgrace.
We arranged with the Council to have the whole area strimmed some months back, after finally managing to convince them that it was Council owned. A good job was done of clearing the undergrowth by our clean and green team.
Unfortunately the next stage of getting all the grass cleared off, reseeded and maintained hasn’t happened and now the whole area is a mess again. It is also full of litter and a real eyesore.
We have spoken with managers in the clean and green dept and they are going to redouble efforts to get the littering cleared and the clearance of the undergrowth sorted once and for all.
We will be checking this again in the next few weeks and will be back on to the Council if there isn’t an improvement. We are also contacting the highways department as the surface of the car park is rapidly deteriorating with all the weeds and many years of use. It really needs major patching or resurfacing work before it gets dangerous.
Two of many potholes in the car park: