Police Commissioner asks for views on 7% council tax rise

The police commissioner is proposing to raise the police element of the council tax by 7%. I have some sympathy with his view that if the government cuts funding then requires pay rises for police he has to find the funding from somewhere.

7% is a high percentage and when added to other rises in cost of living it clearly will have an impact on many people.

For that impact to be acceptable we need to see an increase in visible police presence across the County.

Unfortunately I have a feeling that we will not see this.

 

Press release from the police commissioner Ron Hogg:

In response to pressure from Government, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg has decided to increase the amount of Council Tax which goes to the police service, known as the precept, by 7.09%. This equates to an increase of £8 a year, or 15p a week for a property in Council Tax Band A. Members of the public are being asked to comment.

Ron Hogg said: “The Government has reduced the funding for policing in Durham and Darlington every year since 2010. We now have around 360 fewer officers than in 2010 – a reduction of 1 in 4.”

“I have been lobbying the Government for some years, to fund policing fairly. I did not expect the Government to respond by placing an additional burden on Council Tax payers. However, in my view they are abdicating their responsibility to protect our communities. This has put me in a position where, if I do not introduce this increase, I will be reducing the income of Durham Constabulary this year, and for every year afterwards. It will inevitably mean fewer Police Officers in the community, preventing and solving crime. I cannot do that without risking the safety of the community. The Government’s decision to relax the cap on the precept equates to an extra 15p per week for a property in Council Tax Band A.”

“Durham Constabulary is already the most efficient force in the country according to HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services. That’s a consequence of the force’s commitment to innovation, making the very best use of the money available. We continue to challenge every facet of our business in order to find further efficiencies, but this gets harder every year. I welcomed the Government’s recent announcement of pay rises for Police Officers, but they have not provided me with the funding for this.”

Councillor Lucy Hovvels, Chair of the Police and Crime Panel said:

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“Panel Members understand current financial pressures placed on policing budgets and support the Commissioner’s approach to seek comment from residents on this proposal”

ENDS

Notes for editors:

For more information or to arrange an interview with the PCVC please contact pcvc.media@durham.pcc.pnn.gov.uk or 07814174417

The public are able to comment on this proposal until Wednesday 31st January 2018. Residents are can provide their views in a number of ways, including:

  •   Through my website www.durham-pcc.gov.uk
  •   Through Facebook or Twitter (search for Durham PCC)
  •   On telephone on: 0191 375 2001
  •   At the AAP Boards during January 2018

o 10th January 2018 – 4together AAP Board
o 10thJanuary2018–MidDurhamRuralAAPBoard
o 16th January 2018 – East Durham Rural Corridor AAP Board o 18th January 2018 – Spennymoor AAP Board
o 22nd January 2018 – Chester Le Street AAP Board
o 24th January 2018 – Teesdale AAP Board
o 24th January 2018 – Derwent Valley AAP Board
o 24thJanuary2018–BishopAucklandandShildonAAPBoard o 30th January 2018 – GAMP AAP Board

  •   At drop in sessions on 19th January at the Dolphin Centre, Darlington 11am-1pm
  •   Additional drop in sessions are planned for Monday 22nd and 29th January 2018 full details can

    be found at www.durham-pcc.gov.uk

 

 

Help for homeless and those struggling or in difficult situations over Christmas and beyond

The Council’s housing solutions service provides advice to anyone facing housing problems including:

Anyone who is homeless or sleeping rough

Those who are struggling to pay their mortgage or rent,

Anyone living in unsuitable accommodation

Anyone at risk of abuse or harm

Anyone struggling to keep warm or to pay their bills.

If you or anyone you know is facing any of these issues, contact 03000 268 000. The Council offices are closed from today until 2nd January, however there is an out of hours number for those who cannot wait to get help by calling 01388 722 538.

Members of the public can report anyone who is sleeping rough to the national organisation StreetLink on 0300 500 0914 or at www.streetlink.org.uk

They will try to find the person and offer them help.

Trees – Where do you want them

We have secured a really good deal on 200 decent sized trees and are seeking views from residents on the areas you want them. We already have various locations suggested either by us or residents, so please let us know. Current suggestions are:

Durham Moor Crescent to replace lost cherries.

The green area outside the police houses in Pity Me on the Front St

The bullring at Newton Drive

The playing field on Canterbury Road near Peterborough and the meadow area between Cotherstone and Featherstone Roads.

We have various Cherries, Oaks and fruit trees and a number roof other varieties too.

Brasside regeneration to start in the Spring

We are pleased to be able to confirm that we have come to an agreement with the Council to get the next phase of Brasside parking regeneration done.

Plans have been agreed which will see a further 80m stretch upgraded.

The current state of the verges through the village is appalling. We are angry that the Labour-run council has refused to put any funding in to the village to deal with these problems and improve residents lives.

We are therefore using local neighbourhood funding to carry out this important regeneration project after our requests for matched funding were again rejected.

The project is currently on hold after we found out there was a chance that Northumbrian Water would be coming in and replacing the main pipework through the village. Had we not asked for this to be checked out the Council may have done the work only for it to be dug up again!

Bus shelter repairs, replacements and cleaning

We have secured repairs and replacements for a number of bus shelters around the area.

Many shelters are being cleaned, and damaged perspex and glass is being replaced.

This includes the one at the entrance to Brasside on Finchale Avenue and the one near new college where we have also secured work to improve the crossing point for new college.

The one outside Vets for Pets and those near Beech Close and Priory Road on Finchale Road in Framwellgate Moor are also getting new glass installed.

The old brick shelter opposite the Newton Grange pub is also being replaced with a new clean one which should also deter people taking toilet breaks in it!

 

 

 

LOCAL ELECTION: VOTE LIB DEM ON MAY 4TH

Next Thursday we are standing for re-election as your Lib Dem County Councillors. Please vote for Mark Wilkes, Mamie Simmons and Amanda Hopgood on Thursday 4th May.

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.

Framwellgate Moor litter pick reinstated after Lib Dem intervention

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 to be knocked down – planning concessions secured by Lib Dems

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!