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.
In the last week we have requested action at the Arnison Centre roundabout, on Carr House Drive, Bek Road and Rothbury Road in Newton Hall all for pothole repairs, and on Pity Me Front Street where the road is cracking up.
Of course we don’t think these are as bad as some we saw in another area of the County last week. See picture below of some pretty deep holes filled with rainwater. Needless to say the area has Labour councillors!
We think we are pretty proactive in chasing up road and footpath defects, so if you spot anything like this in our area we would be surprised, but please do let us know.
We think the Council needs to invest far more local funding into road and footpath repairs. It is one of the top complaints we get and as Lib Dem councillors we will continue to push for action.
There are a small number of problem households in the area causing real concern to residents.
As this picture shows it is pretty serious. One such property in Pity Me has been an issue for many months, with three residents taken to court and issued fines, yet the problem continues.
The Council is working hard to address problems at this and other properties following repeated requests from local residents and your Lib Dem councillors. This kind of behaviour cannot and will not be tolerated and we are chasing up the Council regularly where an issue is not dealt with.
If you are aware of any properties where there are similar problems please let us know asap. We need to make sure they are dealt with to avoid vermin issues and cost to the council of clearing up wind blown rubbish. Its also unacceptable to us to have any part of the area looking a mess like this.
We need everyone to support the mobile post office in the village until a new home can be found for a permanent service.
The mobile post office is open 9.30am to 12.30pm on Friday mornings outside Framwellgate Moor Community Centre. There’s plenty of parking round the back.
The more people use it the more it keeps the pressure on to get a full reinstatement.
We are still pushing for one of the local businesses to take on the service.
We have requested road sweepers for many streets in the area over recent weeks, particularly in Pity Me and Framwellgate Moor. The Council appears to only do road sweeping these days when requested rather than proactively. It does seem though that when requests are made, the work gets done, although we do have to ask more than once sometimes.
If you notice any streets with a lot of leaves/dirt on the road or pavement, please let us know and we will request action. the sooner they are cleared the less chance of blocked drains and flooding, or accidents.
The government is currently trying to change legislation so that local authorities would be banned from starting up bus companies.
The Lib Dem group will call for cross party support on Wednesday against these proposals. We will ask the Council to publicly challenge the plans and to write to the relevant government ministers in protest at these plans.
Any council at some point in the future could find that it has to set up services should there be no local private companies willing or able to run services. The remove this ability is clearly a political move by the Tory Government, and it is unacceptable. Indeed many rural areas of the Country could be aversely hit – ironically many of which are normally Conservative leaning in their views.
Private companies frequently find it difficult to set up bus services in rural areas, and if we remove the ability of a local council to do this then we in effect shut down localism – precisely the opposite of what this government professes to support.
The Link 2 service operated by the Council in County Durham offers a prime example of a service which has been set up to fill a gap in services. I would hate to think that in other areas, should a council wish to, services could not be set up, or become far more difficult to set up, leaving the vulnerable, disabled or the elderly stranded.
We hope all councillors will support our motion, which Cllr Richard Ormerod is proposing.