The County Council is currently consulting on proposals for limited waiting in the parking bays on Framwellgate Moor Front St. This follows on from a commitment from Councillor Mark Wilkes to tackle the parking problems in the area.
Mark comments “There has been an ongoing problem with parking on the Front St. I have been successful in getting the community centre carpark resurfaced and the club car park open for everyone needing to visit the area. However, many people park all day in the bays and don’t even use the local shops. By ensuring a faster turnover of spaces, businesses & visitors will benefit.
With the extra car park provision and changes to the parking bays there will also be no excuse for parking cars on pavements. Some businesses have commented that 2 hours waiting would be sufficient, though this could cause problems for others,” Mark added
Councillor Wilkes has asked for a separate scheme to be consulted at the shops on Priory Rd/Beech Rd where there is also a problem with hospital visitors taking up all the spaces for residents, business owners and users.
This is expected to be consulted on in the spring with a view to implementing a scheme later in the year once local views have been taken into account.

Fortnightly bin collections round the corner?

Although the Council haven’t openly said it yet, savings in the budget for the coming year include upwards of £1.5 million for moving to fortnightly bin collections and changes to more improved recycling.
Over the last few months, though some may have missed it, the Council has been consulting on waste collection and recycling.
This topic divides opinion as Councillor Mark Wilkes comments “On the one side some residents talk about their general waste bins being more than half empty, and their recycling overflowing.
“On the other side, households with larger families are concerned about hygiene, others are worried about the smell in the summer or the collections being missed in the winter. And quite a lot of people say to me it’s all the council does for the council tax.”
“Clearly the council does far more than just collect waste, but more and more residents say to me that they would be happy with fortnightly collections if recycling is improved. Indeed many residents would like to see weekly recycling.”
“The council is considering options including for all recycling to go in a separate wheelie bin instead of bags and boxes, but has to take into account that not everyone has space for two or three big bins.”
In Derwentside residents have had fortnightly collections for years, with recycling one week, general waste the next week.
Mark added “Whatever happens, Durham County Council has to increase recycling rates as the cost for landfill is rising every year. The more recycling is done, the lower the costs.
“One thing is certain, changes are on the way and regardless of pressures on the council budget, I can see this being implemented in the next twelve months in one form or another.”



The dates for the police and communities together meetings for the coming months are listed below for each area. I try to attend as many of these as I can. The police, neighbourhood wardens and other council officers attend with local residents to set policing priorities for the area.

3rd March 2011
Framwellgate Moor and Pity Me PACT Meeting

14th April 2011
Framwellgate Moor and Pity Me PACT Meeting

26th May 2011
Framwellgate Moor and Pity Me PACT Meeting

7th July 2011
Framwellgate Moor and Pity Me PACT Meeting

18th August 2011
Framwellgate Moor and Pity Me PACT Meeting

9th March 2011
Witton Gilbert PACT/Residents Meeting

13th April 2011
Witton Gilbert PACT/Residents Meeting

11th May 2011
Witton Gilbert PACT/Residents

8th June 2011
Witton Gilbert PACT/Residents Meeting

13th July 2011
Witton Gilbert PACT/Residents

17th March 2011
Bearpark PACT Meeting

12th May 2011
Bearpark PACT Meeting

7th July 2011
Bearpark PACT Meeting

1st September 2011
Bearpark PACT Meeting

27th October 2011
Bearpark PACT Meeting


No not a typing error – Re-re-surfaced. I raised the issue of the failed work on Bearpark’s main road with officers.

I can confirm that the failed resurfacing on the C17 main road through Bearpark will see remedial work. Parts of the newly coated road have failed over the winter, partly due to the work being carried out late in the year when the weather was turning. The remedial works will not cost the council anything as the contractor will be doing this as part of its contract.

I am continuing to push for work to be done to improve roads across the area and will report back on this once the council has completed its surveys and informed councillors.


I recieved the offical notice of the county plan meeting today:

County Durham Plan Community Engagement Event

Time: 2pm to 8pm on 22nd February 2011

Venue:  Framwellgate Moor Community Centre, Front Street, Durham DH1 5BL

Preparation of the County Durham Plan is underway and we now wish to engage the local community further in the Durham City area.

The Council Planning Team are holding an engagement event on Tuesday 22nd February at Framwellgate Moor Community Centre between 2pm and 8pm. This event will form a part of the engagement process in order to get people’s views on the issues raised in the emerging County Durham Plan.

The event will comprise of :

·         a presentation on local planning matters followed by a question and answer session (this presentation will take place at 2pm and it will be repeated at 4pm and 6pm); and,

·         throughout the afternoon and evening members of the Council Planning Team will be available to discuss matters in regards to the future development of Durham City; including the future location of new housing; new employment sites to provide opportunities for local people; transport matters including the development of new relief roads and work underway to consider suitable areas within the Green Belt to accommodate new development.

Should you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Planning Policy Team on 0300 123 70 70


footpath-a167.jpg   footpath-a167-2.jpg

Part of the A167 including Pity Me roundabout will be resurfaced between 28th Feb and 22nd March. This will almost certainly cause some delays.

As part of the scheme I have managed to secure the resurfacing/ cutting back of some of the footpaths and cycle paths around the roundabout which at present are in a dreadful state. Another footpath success! Hopefully when all this is finished and the daffodils we planted come up it will look fantastic.


Wallnook Lane Footpath before cutting backNorburn Park Footpath after first resurfacingFindon Avenue resurfaced footpath - new residents association meeting works!


Last year, after listening to your priorities we found that fixing footpaths and roads and road safety were at the top of the list of your priorites. Over the last few months we have set about making the changes after years of neglect.

We have been successful in stopping proposed reductions in the Highways budget at the council, working cross-party to make sure the department gets the funding it deserves. I would like to see more investment in this area – the cost to the council in claims for trips is huge. I hope that with falling prices for materials this year, even more can be done.

After becoming councillors we found out that only a handful of roads and footpaths had been surveyed in our area. As a result we requested dozens of surveys to be carried out and are now waiting to see which work the County Council is going to prioritise in the general budget next year.

Work already done or booked in to be done in next few months, the majority of which was as a result of our requests and efforts:

Louisa Terrace – Witton Gilbert –  Resurfacing of the dangerous bend where there had been many accidents and years of pressure from the Parish Council, Residents and ourselves – meeting our promises.

Bearpark Pinch Point – The removal of the dangerous pinch point in Bearpark, which was funded out of our Councillros Highways Budget – again as a result of years of accidents – meeting our promises.

Norburn Park and Hillside – Footpaths, untouched for decades and in some places too narrow to walk along have been cut back to their original width and have been resurfaced in a number of places, with more work still to be done to bring up to decent condition.

Cook Avenue – The infamous footpath with dozens of “temporary repairs” which were actually lumps of tarmac sticking up – Over 100 metres is booked in to be rebuilt in the coming weeks – meeting our promises.

Woodbine Road – Additional dropped kerbs to help local elderly residents were added to the existing proposals after pressure from Cllr Wilkes.

Potholes – hundreds of potholes surveyed by your councillors and filled in by the Council. If you have one near you please tell us and we’ll report it for repair.

Rose Lea, Abbey Road – Collapsed drains rebuilt after years of being broken.

Newton Drive, Framwellgate Moor – Dropped kerbs and broken pavement – Resurfacing and dropped kerbs booked in to be done near school and doctors.

Bearpark – Ritson/Kingston Av’s. – Proposal for raised platforms currently being considered for cross roads – will go to Highways Committee for final approval – for reducing speeding after numerous accidents and near misses.

Findon Avenue – Witton Gilbert – Dangerous footpath resurfaced around Bungalows after discussions at the new Witton Gilbert residents Association meeting.

Brookside, Cragside, Friarside, Glebeside – WittonGilbert – footpaths resurfaced.

Pity Me – Front Street traffic calming and access improvements – currently being finalised for completion in March – to reduce speed and make it easier to exit juncitons along the road, new slow markings, re shaping of junction markings and the driving path as well as new entrance signs for the entrance to Pity Me.

North Terrace – Remarking of no parking markings.

A167 Roundabout – as part of the work to resurface the A167, we have managed to secure the cutting back and resurfacing of footpaths/cyclepaths near the rounabout – one of which should ahve been over 1.5m wide but is currently barely visible.

Witton Station – Wallnook Lane – Cutting back of footpaths which was too narrow to walk on after many years of becoming overgrown.

Just some of the highways work which we have been working on. i will post more details as and when. Thanks must be given to excellent officers in the Highways department for all their hard work.

When we have  copies of the surveys we have requested and details of the work for the coming year I will post them here.


Each councillor gets £2000 from the County Council to give to local groups for projects in their Division. We have now given out all this years money but would be interested to hear from anyone who has an idea which they think would help in our villages. If you are a member of a local voluntary group please get in touch. New schemes will be considered from 1st April.

For the next financial year I am particularly interested to hear from anyone who wants to carry out environmental projects which involve local young people.

Details of the projects Councillor Crooks and I have jointly supported can be seen below:

Citizen’s Advice Bureau – Outreach services in Framwellgate Moor, Pity Me, Witton Gilbert, Bearpark

Bearpark under 18’s Fun day – a fantastic day for young people in Bearpark during the summer.

Bearpark Community Playgroup – funday.

Framwellgate Moor Community Centre – Christmas pantomine which was very well attended and enjoyed by all.

Bearpark Community Centre – For Christmas pantomime in village.

Beaurepaire over 60’s group – assistance with Christmas party.

DERIC Bus (Durham’s Eductional Resources in the Communities Bus) – Fiance for six week programme in Witton Gilbert which has assisted in the setting up of a Youth Club in Witton Gilbert.

Witton Gilbert Youth Club – finance for youngsters to spend on projects through the youth club.

Framwellgate Moor Youth Club – finance for youngsters to spend on projects through the youth club.

Age Concern – assistance for projects in Framwellgate Moor area including Cooking and exercise programmes for older residents.

Durham Association of  Clubs for young people –  to buy clothing and equipment for local users of Boxing Club.

Aldin Grange Angling Club – to help fund angling courses and equipment for youngsters in the area.

Bearpark Primary School – to help with a garden for pupils to learn more about gardening and growing food.

Pity Me over 60’s – Help for social activities including trips to theatre and other social events.

Flambard Road Community Centre –  help for social activities including trips to theatre and other social events for over 60’s club in Framwellgate Moor.

Witton Gilbert Baby & Toddler Group – for Christmas fair.

Bearpark Methodist SHELL group –  social events.



After a successful planting of 1300 daffodil bulbs (part donted from Homebase and part from my own money in January), I have now ordered 20 half oak barrels using some of the City Council discretionary fund. These will be spread around Pity Me, Framwellgate Moor and Brasside in April or May, underneath our Village entrance signs and on grassed areas.

If anyone would like to assist in watering them or has a suggested location, please call me on 01913725866.

Finchale Training College is filling the tubs and we should have flowers all summer long, and through next winter as well, with bulbs also coming up in Spring 2010.

Picture is an example of what they may look like.