Any potholes out there? Help us get them fixed

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.

Problem households causing major rubbish and vermin headache

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.

Road sweepers – help us get our area clean

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.

Local Lib Dems challenge government ban on local authority bus companies

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.

Arnison Crossing installed

I’m please to be able to report that following our complaint about the new crossing near to Frankie and Bennies not having being completed, that the site owners moved very quickly and installed the raised crossing.

We remain concerned that many drivers haven’t got used to the new layout and ask pedestrians and particularly drivers to take extra care. I personally observed a driver go straight over the crossing without slowing down, with pedestrians waiting to cross.

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St Cuthberts Hospice – Fireworks Display at Framwellgate School – Supported by your local councillors – Saturday 5th November – Display at 8pm, gates open at 6pm

Have you got your tickets yet for the fireworks display?

It’s in the grounds of Framwellgate School Durham on Saturday 5th November – Display at 8pm, gates open at 6pm.

As your local councillors we have provided funding towards the cost of running the event so that it can go ahead in our area and so that ticket prices can be kept reasonable and some money raised for the hospice.

You can get tickets by calling the hospice on 0191 386 1170 Extension 5 or visit eventbrite:

Full details:

St Cuthbert’s Hospice Family Fireworks Night
5th November 2016

The skies of Durham will be brought to life with an explosion of colour as St Cuthbert’s Hospice celebrate Guy Fawkes Night on Saturday, 5th November 2016 with our second fireworks extravaganza. There will also be fairground rides and catering vans to ensure fun for all the family. 

Event Timings:
6:00pm Gates and fun fair open
8.00pm Firework display

Ticket prices:
Adults (Aged 16 and over) £5
15 & Under £3
Family (2 Adults, 2 Children aged 3 to 15) £14.
*Please note children aged 2 years and under are free.

This event is sponsored by Ramside Hall Hotel Golf & Spa and kindly supported by County Councillors; Amanda Hopgood, Mamie Simmons and Mark Wilkes.

Do you walk your dog in Pity Me – Help tackle fouling – PLUS Help us get stronger enforcement

If you are one of the majority who go for a walk each day with your dog and pick up after it, you can help us. There are a small number of dog owners letting everyone else down. If you spot anyone letting their dog foul and then leaving it, please let us know the name of the person or culprit, the time, location and type of dog. We are trying to find those who are spoiling it for everyone else in the area.

We have recently targeted Newton Hall and now are trying to do the same in Pity Me. Indeed if you spot anyone anywhere leaving dog waste let us know the details.

We have asked for large signs to go up as a deterrent. Ultimately, people can face a large fine.

The Council has agreed with us that stronger measures are needed. They have a consultation running until 5th December aimed at having stronger powers of enforcement. Please respond to it by visiting this link:

Lib Dem success: Better opening hours secured for Abbey Leisure Centre – PLUS Open weekend in October and New Functional training room

We’ve been working with the Council and listening to users to make Abbey Leisure Centre even better.

Users wanted the centre to open earlier so we had discussions with the Council and discovered that there was a period in the morning for setting up which wasn’t necessary, and a possible business case for longer morning opening hours.

Morning hours have been extend from 8.30-10.30 TO 8.00-11.30. (Mon-Fri). The afternoons have been adjusted to open at 3pm instead of 2pm as this time was very quiet. The new opening hours start from 1st October – Monday coming.

The Exciting New Functional Training Room looks great.

There is an Open Weekend on Friday October 21st and Saturday 22nd with loads of free sessions on Sat 22nd October: Inflatable session, soft play session, kids street dance, table tennis, squash, badminton, street dance, metafit, zumbatone, boxercise, functional training, stretch n tone.

Over the last few years we have helped to turn Abbey into one of the best leisure centres in the County. To think that Labour councillors wanted to shut it down! there’s still more to do, however over the last few years we have provided and helped secure funding for new gym areas, a refurbished reception and corridors, kids gym equipment and much more.

Now we have morning hours which should tempt in more users, particularly in the morning. Call in and take a look around!!

(It’s worth remembering that the Labour-run council aimed to shut the Centre. If it were not for users and your local Lib Dem councillors fighting to keep the centre open, it might not be there now.)

Teaching assistants being blackmailed into taking massive pay cut by Labour politicians

You couldn’t make it up. Yesterday Labour run Durham Council insulted Teaching `assistants by offering them two years protected salary in return for slashing their pay by up to a quarter.

I hope every Labour voter in County Durham finds out about how appallingly Labour is treating its lowest paid education staff. Why should anyone be expected to take such a huge pay cut? An utter shambles of a disgrace from a Labour run council which is acting more and more like a far-right Tory one.