Cabinet to decide on plans for Durham City

This link will take you to what the Cabinet will decide next week.

It includes the Durham City Masterplan which apparently all residents have been consulted on. In addition plans to regenerate North Road, plans to start charging you for collecting your garden waste – yes on top of the £1000-£3000 council tax you pay them.

Cabinet is at Crook next week – premumably not because Cabinet doesn’t want any Durham City residents turning up?

Parking Bay Work Continues at Priory Road

Work to build the new parking bay we have funded using local neighbourhood budget continues at pace. The work started last week, and when finished there will be a new 40m long area for parking in this congested area. We continue to work to get further improvements in other parts of the area and look forward to announcing further news in due course.


Do you know a business which could benefit from money to take on an apprentice? Or a young person looking for an apprenticeship?

Take a look at the government website The are thousands of positions currently advertised.

Businesses can get £1500 grant towards taking on an apprentice along with up to 100% of training costs. There was never a better time for businesses in the North East to check out available help.


Numbers sleeping rough in County falls

This is great news in our county. Your local councillors put on pressure after residents contacted us &welcome the positive action which continues to reduce the number of rough sleepers & help those who find themselves struggling.

Council press release:

The number of people sleeping rough on the streets in County Durham has fallen following targeted action by Durham County Council and charities. Figures for 2013 show an average of three a night compared to 11 the previous year. This is in line with the North East region which has seen a 69 per cent reduction, from 69 to 12, for the same period. It bucks the national trend which reveals a 5 per cent increase.

A “No Second Night Out” approach by the county council and the voluntary sector ensures that all agencies know who is on the street and look to resolve their needs within 24 hours. Andrew Burnip, from housing solutions, Durham County Council, is chair of the Regional Homelessness Group, including all 12 regional authorities. He said: “This approach has meant that in many areas of the North East we have been able to find people sooner and offer them a route into proper shelter. In many cases this is a pathway which could ultimately lead them to their own independent home. We also now know much more about who is on the street and how best to help them.”

Lindsay Henderson, regional manager for Homeless Link, a national charity which represents and supports organisations working with homeless people, said: “The tremendous efforts of local authorities and homeless organisations across the North East means we have been able to reduce the number of people staying on the streets. We have begun to reduce the number of rough sleepers as we are able to find long term solutions which stop people returning to or staying on the streets.”

If anyone sees a person rough sleeping they should ring the National Street Link Line on 0300 500 0914, or the website Link will then contact local services to locate and support the person rough sleeping to get them off the streets and into accommodation and support.


Below is a pdf version of the Caterhouse Pit Nature Reserve and Wildlife Corridor petition.

Please help get as many people as possible to sign the petition and return to the freepost address we have provided. (Story below in previous post.)


Protecting Youth Services

Your Lib Dem councillors have been working hard to protect youth provision in our area. A few years ago we were getting hardly anything, now we have youth club and activities at Framwellgate Moor Community Centre and at Abbey Leisure Centre, where where there are now over 100 young people registered in the youth gym we secured funding for. Recent cuts to the budget of youth provision could have put  services at risk but we are keeping an eye on the situation and have already ensured that one youth session wasn’t cancelled and that considerations are given to better ways of managing the service. We have als0 provided funding from local budgets for Duke of Edinburgh schemes and continue to look for more ways to improve local services for young people.

Beech Road Parking Changes a step closer

Changes to parking at the shops on Beech Close are currently being advertised. The traffic regulation order which your local councillors have been trying to get in place for a long time now, will allow for the diagonal parking bays to have 3 hour restrictions. this will ensure that there is more parking for passing trade, which has been affected by people parking  in front of the shops and then disappearing off to the hospital or into town making it impossible for customers to park up.

If there are objections to the order it will go before the highways committee, if not, the work which we have provided funding for from local budgets will go ahead in the coming months. This is another example of how your Lib Dem councillors are seeking to make it easier for businesses to trade in our area.

New trees on Finchale Road looking great – parking bay on way

As part of our plans to build a new parking bay on Priory Road in Framwellgate Moor, I have worked with Amanda and Mamie to get a large number of trees planted across the grassed area along Finchale Road. The new trees look great, will benefit wildlife, help soak up water and even reduce pollution levels, and help reduce the impact of losing some of the grass for the parking bay. Work should start on building the new parking in the coming months and is being paid for from your councillors local neighbourhood budgets. Residents have raised concerns about problems at this location for a  number of years and your Lib Dem councillors are pleased they have been able to help improve the area.

Laurels for Litchfield

The Council was recently a bit over ambitious with their hedge cutting. The hedge which protected residents from the road noise and provided a buffer between the Newton Grange Pub and Litchfield Road saw its height cut by more than half. Residents complained to your Lib Dem councillors and following discussions between residents  and Cllr Hopgood with the support of Cllr Simmons and I, it was agreed to plant a Laurel hedge to provide a proper all year round evergreen buffer, which will also provide shelter for wildlife and improve the look of the area. The original hedgerow is also to have some additional planting to improve it.

Many hedgerows in the area were severely pruned back over the winter. This was necessary for a number of reasons including visibility and aesthetics, and whilst looking a bit rough we do expect them all to grow back looking great this Spring. The problem has been that for the last few years work was simply not being done, but thanks to your Lib Dem councillors pushing for change and securing better management of grass cutting, hedge pruning and other clean and green services in our area, we are continuing to see some excellent improvements.

Petition to Save Caterhouse Pit

All 6000 households across the Framwellgate and Newton Hall Division will be getting one of our newspapers this week or in the coming week or so. It includes a petition to protect Caterhouse Pit, which the Council believes is surplus to requirements but which your Lib Dem councillors are campaigning to protect for future generations as a Nature Reserve. If you need extra copies of the petition please email me and I will email you a copy of the petition so you can help get names on it.