There will be a mixed reaction to proposals for the Northern Relief road. On the one hand Durham has a pollution and congestion problem and attempts to get people to change will simply not deal with it.
I imagine there will be a significant number of residents supporting a new road. However there will also be a significant percentage against a road at all. Then there will be residents who want a road but do not agree with the route.
One such resident sent me a video he has done which you may find interesting. See below.
Another interesting point is that when I asked officers for the analysis of all possible routes for a relief road, I found that there were only the two options running between Brasside and Newton Hall. No consideration of Cocken Road nor of going round the back of Brasside have been even analysed at a basic level – simply because decades ago this was the proposed route. I don’t think that is an acceptable answer.
Whilst I am inclined to support improved road links due to the congestion in Durham City, I am yet to be convinced that the route proposed is the only or best option.
Whatever your views on this and the other County Plan issues, please make sure you attend the consultation events.
Greenbelt – A big success – building on the greenbelt has been dramatically reduced in the new plan. Originally anything up to 6000 houses were planned. This is now 1900.
A huge area stretching almost to Sacriston was originally proposed, this has been cut back significantly.
The greenbelt to the North of the Arnison Centre is removed from development.
The Western bypass
this is set to go ahead in the plan, paid for by a levy on the new housing.
This is in the plan with a route between Brasside and Newton Hall passing through Low Newton Junction nature reserve and coming out near Belmont. No funding is identified yet but the Council is actively working on this.
Whilst we have reservations about building on the greenbelt, we explained to officers that we needed to ensure that any development was for the benefit of all. We proposed a park running through the Sniperley Housing development and this has been confirmed in the plan. There will be a ark running the whole length of the development area, with Caterhouse Pit nature area protected.
Redevelopment of the area once the COuncil has moved to the City Centre is likely to be contentious if traffic and parking issues are not addressed. Proposals for 5000 new jobs are admirable but if the infrastructure is not in place then there will be serious problems.
We have secured a commitment that the Salutation mini roundabout area will be made far safer for pedestrians, and indeed other roundabouts including PIty ME A167, Blackie Boy, Sniperley and Aykley Heads will all have upgrades as part of the plan.
On all these issues and more need you to comment at the consultation events.
The very windy weather yesterday means there are leaves and branches all over the place, and a fair bit more litter than usual. The Council will be playing catch up to tidy all this up so please have patience and if you can help out by cleaning anything outside your house it would be appreciated.
We have had some complaints about grass cutting in the area. As anyone with a lawn will know, we had some pretty fast growth in recent weeks and this caused problems for the Council, trying to keep on top of it.
That said, there have been areas missed which we have reported to the Council. If there is an area not currently being cut please let us know. We have reported the following areas: Canterbury Road shops, front of Bede Lodge Club, parts of Abbey Road, Rear of Finchale Road Brasside (Issue with parked cars).
We have also mentioned that some of the guys are working a bit too quickly, missing edges etc. Clearly the staff are working hard, but we also need to make sure we keep on top of the standard to.
The Council has a heirarchy of gullies! Yes, there are some which it gets cleared out every three months, some less frequently and some only every 24 months – although I’m not convinced that some even get done that frequently
As your Lib Dem county councillors, whenever we see a blocked gully we report it – not strictly our job, but with the Council cutting this service back so much compared to years ago we see it as a necessity.
This is where your help comes in – please keep your eye out for blocked road gullies and report them to firstname.lastname@example.org
This way we can make sure that incidents of flooding are few and far between.
The eight new affordable to rent houses in PIty Me were completed today and new tenants will start moving in tomorrow.
This is a fantastic achievement for us as local Lib Dem councillors, and for County Durham Housing Group. After eight long years of challenging the Council for new homes and them refusing we managed to get the new housing group to agree to use brownfield/garage site for family homes.
The houses are all being let to local people after we secured a local lettings policy. It’s really great that people from the area will be able to still live near family and friends in homes that are affordable to rent. Having been in the houses today I am delighted by the quality of them and hope all those who were lucky enough to secure one really enjoy living in their new homes.
A couple of weeks ago I submitted a motion for full council calling on Cabinet to invest more funding to repair roads, in particular because of the additional damage caused by this winters poor weather but also because of years of under funding. We also called on government to put in more funding.
The Council, suddenly has found – just a few minutes before my motion was due to be debated, an additional £700,000 – great news – Lib Dem pressure pays off.
However we still feel far more is needed. Not least because we have a massive backlog of rod and path repairs of around £200 million!
We will continue to pile on the pressure which has over the years resulted in significant extra investment.
The clinic on Framwellgate Moor Front street is to close (not to be confused with Dunelm Medical Centre).
I have found out this just in the last few days, after the announcement over a year ago that it was under threat, which at the time was also uncovered by us, not through any official announcement.
Again we have found out by accident. The lease is not to be renewed and services will be shift out to other areas over the next three months.
This quite clearly goes against the NHS ethos of having services as close to patients as possible. It will also leave an empty property on the Front Street.
It also appears that there may not have been an attempt to renegotiate the lease on the property, so there is no chance that we will ever know if a better deal could have been obtained. Indeed we also do not know how much the repair clauses in the lease will hit the NHS to return the property to the state at the start of the lease.
All this suggests that there has not been full due diligence in considering whether or not this is indeed a financially sound decision to make, to say nothing of the impact on service users.
I do wonder what attempts were made to look at adding services to the Clinic to help make it more sustainable. I am deeply concerned as to what is likely to come next with local health services as many are being tendered out and are likely to end up in the private sector with the many risks associated with such action.
Whilst what is going on cannot entirely be laid at the door of the government as this is local decision making I am certain that the impact of under investment by the current government in the NHS and social care services will have contributed to the decisions being made.
I am waiting for a response from the NHS but expect we will see a response in the press from them before anything emailed back to me.
The fire in PIty Me this evening was in a skip on the building site for the new social housing at Woodbine Road, plenty of flames but thankfully, a quick call by residents to 999 and a fast response from the fire brigade got this under control quickly. It nearly spread to another skip and could have ended up setting fire to one of the new houses.
I have spoken with one of the senior officers at County Durham Housing Group who has called out this evening to view the site and will be visiting again in the morning – excellent response.
I’m also in discussion over a number of other site issues.