Lib Dem councillors attend Greenbelt protest in Durham City



Cllr David Freeman, Cllr Nigel Martin and I attended the County Plan protest in the Durham Market Place today. It was well attended with some good speeches.

I have arranged a meeting with the Head of Planning this coming week to get to the bottom of how the Council plans to proceed now that it has managed to get around the Inspector’s decision to reject the County Plan.

As I see it there are a number of ways the Council could deal with this:

1. Put out an alternative County Plan in a few months for “consultation” and then ignore every view which comes back – as it has done throughout the process.

2. Arrange proper consultation sessions before producing ANY proposals and then produce an alternative plan without taking account of residents proposals – less likely but wouldn’t surprise me.

3. Arrange proper consultation on the areas of the plan which the Inspector and residents disagreed with – before producing a proposal, including the changes residents want and publish the alternative plan – how it should be done but almost certainly will not happen!

Whatever happens you can be sure it will be Lib Dem councillors standing up for our World Heritage City against a Labour-run council which so far has completely and utterly ignored the views of the vast majority of residents from Durham City and the surrounding villages.

Safer access to the Arnison Centre – after Lib Dem intervention

I have always thought the Mercia side of the Arnison Centre was one of the daftest designed car parks around. Some months back we asked the owners if they could sort out the entrance where just about everyone caught their wheel on the edge of the kerb. I am pleased to confirm that some weeks back this work was completed and it is now that little bit safer to access the Centre, even if it is still a congested carpark.

Council pollution failures

As reported in the Echo today, Durham County Council has for many years now been failing to get to grips with pollution problems in Durham City:

Ever noticed when the council has a good news story a Labour politician comments. When its a bad new story its always an officer. That way you can always blame someone else! Total lack of political leadership.

Footpath replacement work finished and underway

In recent months we have had to put pressure on to get repairs in our area. I had to chase up on the footpath leading into Abbey Road industrial estate which was down to the sub-base, falling to bits. Work has started this week to fix it. (Although the traffic lights are a bit of a problem, interfering with the horrendous parking farther down the road.)

In Newton Hall, a good job has been done to replace some awful flagstone paths following our intervention on Farnham Road:


Pity Me Planning Application thrown out by committee

The postage stamp piece of land at the entrance to Pity Me already has planning permission for five houses – over development in itself.

A new application came in for six houses. I asked for it to go to committee following more residents complaints to me and today attended and spoke against the application.

I have to say that I didn’t expect much, but was shocked to find a unanimous 11-0 vote against the application.

So once in a while spending hours preparing to challenge an application does pay off – although I imagine the applicant could chose to appeal the decision.

Still that’s one problem sorted for today at least.

And still we wait for action on Abbey Road

This photo from today. IMG_0569The black car is parked up, The others are all on the pavement. In the other direction cars parked for over 100m. How much longer must we wait for action.

All those who could deal with this now know about it: senior council officers, the portfolio holder, the police and crime commissioner and for that matter the press who I hope will embarrass someone into addressing this.




Fire station site development issues

A number of residents have contacted us recently about vibrations, dust and other issues from the work being done on the former fire station site in Framwellgate Moor. the new housing development will be started soon once the demolition and clearance has been completed.

We have been working with Environmental Health and Planning, and some dust reduction machinery was brought in. More recently there have been further complaints about vibrations from the work going on.

I have asked officers try and get the developer to install some vibration measuring devices. (more…)

Holmlands Crescent repairs carried out, more reported

holmlands crescent path repair

Picture of work done.

For some time I have been asking for this path to be fixed. Well perseverance pays off. This and other repairs I reported on Holmlands Crescent have been actioned. many more are still waiting to be done.

I have of course had to report more problems on this and other streets in the last few days including broken paving and kerbs, potholes, trip hazards and requests for resurfacing, including but not exclusive to Hudspeth Crescent, The Avenue, Durham Moor Crescent, Woodbine Road. More will no doubt follow in the coming days.

It’s just a shame the County Council isn’t more proactive. If it spent the money it had more efficiently and listened to Lib Dem councillors, a lot more work would get done, for a much lower price and repeat repairs wouldn’t be necessary. (more…)