Tree at Abbey Rd/Pulmans carved!

When the County Council said they had to cut down the tree which stands at the junction of Abbey Road and Wheatlands Way I asked them to leave a big stump so we could get it carved.

Amanda managed to find someone willing to do this for a knock down price and the work is nearing completion. The Parish council agreed to pay for the carving and we are funding a flower display around it later this year along with new flower tubs across the area. Should look fantastic when it’s finished!

Stunning Lib Dem by-election win in Esh & Witton Gilbert

Lib Dem Bev Coult has secured an amazing election win, securing 63% of the vote for the County Council seat which covers Witton Gilbert, Langley Park and many smaller villages.

Labour which held the seat until less than two years ago saw their vote fall further to just 20%.

The Tories slid to just 8%.

Well done Bev, and a big thank you to the residents across this area for sending a resounding message to Labour at County Hall.

Potholes getting worse across County

The winter weather has certainly taken its toll on our roads, many of the main roads in the area have potholes appearing and some parts are breaking up quite badly. We’ve been reporting them where we see issues but your help is needed. Let us know if any potholes on your street so we can get them reported.

Some work done by the council is sadly already breaking up, we are not sure if this is the quality of the work, but some patching does seem to be deteriorating a bit too quickly – Abbey Rd/Front St mini roundabout is one such example.

We’ve also report problems in Dryburn Road this week and have concerns some of our main roads such as Carr House Drive still have issues.

We recommended funding extra road repairs in the budget but despite the council having over £200 million in reserves, and increasing council tax and us suggesting where additional funding could be found, Labour said no!

We will continue to push for action to fix our roads and pavements.

Stopping the shotgun noises in Fram and Pity Me – Action/Success

In the last two weeks we have had a number of complaints about the shot gun noises in the area.

They are actually from an automatic bird scaring machine which mimics a shot gun sound to scare birds off crops. Unfortunately its been going off from very early in the morning, causing problems for a lot of people.

We have been in lengthy discussions with the council who have managed to get an agreement now with the landowner. The following has been agreed:

  1. To remove the remaining bird scarer by this Saturday 16th March.
  2. To reassess any further use required should his crop be attacked by pigeons following the bird scarer removal.
  3. If bird scarers are to be used again to follow the codes of practice issued by the NFU. This will include consideration of the position and use of baffles (straw bales) to help concentrate the sound onto the fields.

We are hopeful that after Saturday they will not be needed again and if they are the noise will be concerntrated so that it doesn’t impact on residents.

We will of course monitor this.

Sign the Petition to the Secretary of State over the Sands HQ

Residents, furious at the HQ planning application have stated a petition to the Sectrary of State requesting he calls it in.

The more signatures, the more pressure it puts on him to act. I was one of the six councillors who voted against the application at committee last week. I have never in 10 years as a councillor seen a more ill thought out planning application. I was one of only a few councillors on the committee who spoke against the proposals, and at significant length.

There were so many reasons for objection to the application, it was almost too difficult to get across all of them. Cllr Elizabeth Scott the Lib Dem Chair of the City of Durham parish Council spoke against it, as did the two local Lib Dem county councillors Cllr Freeman and Ormerod.

No members of the Labour Party spoke out against the application on behalf of their Party and the MP has failed to provide any comments against the application. So its down to residents and Lib Dem councillors to continue to push for action. You can sign the petition here. I have sent this to all 126 councillors – might there be one Labour councillor out there who sees sense on this?:

Council HQ planning application at committee on Tuesday 5th March

The application is going to committee on Tuesday 5th March. Residents are welcome to attend the meeting which starts at 1pm prompt at County Hall. Arrive early to get signed in at the reception as there may be a queue. As I’m on the committee I’m not commenting on the merits or otherwise of the application prior to the meeting, just wading through the 1215 documents on the Council’s website!