Another thank you: for electing all seven Lib Dem candidates to the parish council. Whilst this means we will have overall control of the council we aim to work for the benefit of everyone as closely as possible with the three independent and one Labour councillor also elected.
We are getting a great response on the doorstep, with many residents also contacting us by email to confirm they are supporting us.
We also hope to get elected to the Parish Council along with our Lib Dem colleagues Nigel Martin, Grenville Holland, Colin Hillary and Clive Beddoes.
We have been on our regular walkabouts and reported issues across the area, including trip hazards on pavements, potholes, build up of leaves and other rubbish on paths, flytipping to name a few.
Please do let us know if there are any areas which are not up to scratch so we can get action.
We reported last week that we’ve had no litter picks from Friday afternoon to Monday on Framwellgate Moor Front Street for the last month and it’s really been noticeable.
The Labour-run council made these changes without any consultation or even telling us as councillors.
As soon as we found out we kicked into action and I’m very pleased to say that the afternoon litter pick on a Friday has been reinstated so bins will not be overflowing all weekend and litter will not be left flying around the place.
If we hadn’t intervened as your Lib Dem councillors Framwellgate Moor would have started to go back to as it was when we had Labour councillors. Those who lived around here 10 years ago will remember the horrendous state of the litter. It’s never possible to get it perfect but our actions on this and on the takeaways should continue to keep it tidier than would otherwise be the case.
If there are any areas with litter in Newton Hall, Framwellgate Moor, Brasside, Pity Me or Finchale Abbey Village please let us know so we can get it sorted quickly.
Finchale Training College will be knocked down to make way for new housing.
We have secured various concessions to this after finding issues with the proposals.
- The Council repeatedly refused to agree to reduce the speed limit past the site. I had to intervene and speak with the Director of Regeneration at the Council over this, otherwise I would not have been minded to support the application. The speed limit is 60mph and there is a difficult bend. This speed limit should have been reduced years ago but the council refused. I’m happy to report they have not only agreed to go out to consultation before development starts but also that the developer will pay for the costs of implementing this. 1-0 Lib Dem councillors.
- Development sites require a contribution towards various improvements in the area. Developers always try to get all of this inside the site, leaving nothing to improve the local community. We have been successful in making sure that public art and open spaces funding can be spent in the wider electoral division as well as near the site, and that this money cannot be used to pay for other improvements the developer wants – they’ll have to use their own money. 2-0 Lib Dem councillors.
- Whilst most of the site is brownfield/already developed, it is surrounded by greenbelt and it was essential that proper conditions were placed on ensuring trees and landscaping on the site were retained and improved. Following our intervention this has been conditioned and residents will be consulted on the final landscaping plans. 3-0 Lib Dem councillors.
All in all a good day, with 20% affordable housing also included and funding for the charity safeguarded, as well as a cast iron agreement that the charity will have its new headquarters within County Durham!
On Tuesday we met with owners and estate managers of the Arnison Centre as well as senior council managers and traffic experts to discuss problems raised by residents over HGVs using Finchale Road, Old Pit Lane, Front St Pity Me and Framwellgate Moor and Abbey Road.
Residents on these streets are being plagued with vibrations from large HGVs. I have personal experience of the damage from vibrations with cracks in plaster, however other residents have far more serious issues with damage to properties, sleepless nights as well as concerns about highway safety.
In a few weeks time, the access between Rotary Way Bypass and the Arnison Centre/Lidl roundabout will be closed off for widening of this area. This should result in an improvement in access to and from the Centre and was requested by us as part of the expansion of the Centre. However for 6-8 weeks from around the end of March we are going to find major traffic problems including more vehicles including HGVs coming through the Pity Me, Framwellgate Moor and Newton Hall areas.
We have asked for various options to be considered to reduce the impact of this.
So for a while there will be an increase in HGVs, however we have a commitment form the Arnison Centre owners that once this necessary improvement work has taken place, they will work to ensure that all the businesses on the site get the lorries delivering goods to use the A167 Pity Me bypass and Rotary Way as it was originally designed. We will be monitoring this after the roadworks have taken place and will be asking residents to help us identify those business not adhering to the agreement.
We are keen to hear from you with suggestions of projects and ideas to boost involvement in the community or events for more senior residents. At the moment we do a great deal to assist older residents with council related issues and community programs but we want to do more.
Amanda currently helps to run the Luncheon Club at All Saint’s Church in Newton Hall which provides a meal on Mondays to 40-50 local residents who are retired, with ages ranging from 65 to nearly 100!
We also provided funding to the WI for a senior citizen’s Christmas party in December in Framwellgate Moor.
We have also been campaigning to keep local health services such as podiatry in the area.
We also support all the community buildings in the area which have groups and access for retired residents. And of course we respond to many requests for help each week, ranging from issues which all residents contact us about to concerns with assisted refuse collections, requests for dropped kerbs and social care concerns. Recently we assisted a Durham City Homes resident to improve their mobility access for example. We also helped another resident get access to the Council’s Link2 bus service to get to hospital.
Let us know if there is something missing for older residents in our area or perhaps an idea you feel will help senior members of our community. There may also be funding available for local groups which aim to help older residents.
The Council cut litter picking and bin emptying a few weeks ago on Fridays and Saturday mornings in Framwellgate Moor and other areas.
The results are clear to see already with overflowing bins and a lot more rubbish lying around. We fought bitterly to get an improved service in the area, particularly in Framwellgate Moor which has such enormous footfall, and we cannot allow the Council to go back to the bad old days.
The current situation means that from early on Friday before the lunchtime rush, until Monday morning no litter picking is taking place, no bins emptied. It’s completely unacceptable and was done without even consulting with Councillors.
After raising this last week with the Head of Service I have asked for urgent talks to get the service reinstated. I have already had numerous complaints.
What is even more galling is that just a few weeks back the Council to great fanfare announced a major “Spruce Up” of the area which we fully supported, getting a bigger area cleaned up than originally planned.
Some of the gulleys and channels in Framwellgate Moor are already blocked up again due to the cut backs and some are now wondering if the Spruce Up was an excuse to make things look good before secretly slashing the service.
Needless to say, along with the takeaway issue, we will not be letting this drop.
Jade lives in Newton Hall with her parents and has a genetic condition which causes her joints to spontaneously dislocate at any time.
They need alterations to their house so she has proper access to it.
We all see adverts and news stories asking for help for people across the UK or even overseas. On this occasion we can actually help someone who lives just round the corner.
The Council has so far agreed to fund part of the works through funding provided via the government, however the overall cost is far higher than the maximum grant available. I am currently pushing for further help and to get things moving. However we need to do more.
There’s more information on the funding page about the conditions Jade is living in and the work needed. The have so far raised over £8000 but need to get closer to £30000!
Link to fundraising page: https://gogetfunding.com/disabled-house-renovations-for-jade/
Do you walk around our area a lot? Please help us spot flytipping and rubbish so we can get it cleared up.
On a walkabout this week from Pity Me to Framwellgate Moor I found a fair bit of stuff dumped off the old Wagonway between Pity Me and Framwellgate Moor.
This has been reported and we expect the Council will sort it out fairly quickly.