All Saint’s Christmas Fair success

Sunday’s Christmas Fair at All Saint’s in Newton Hall was a great success. Over 80 children came to see Santa Claus and all got a present. Cllr Simmons attended as Santa’s helper after assisting making preparations in the kitchen for the cafe.

I helped serve turkey stuffing sandwiches, hot beef baps, scones and soup, all prepared by Cllr Amanda Hopgood who was front of shop serving customers for 3 hours. We had a great time and raised lots of money.

It would not have been possible without all the volunteers including Jack Mason, Elaine Kent and Nicola Finlay in the kitchen who kept me right. Thanks also to Neil, Amanda’s husband for making some of the best leek and potato soup ever!

We raised £150 after costs towards the Church Hall.

It was great to see so many people come through the doors and despite the Christmas tree not arriving until Monday we still had a great Carol service and Christmas lights switch on from Santa Claus!

And big thanks to all the All Saint’s volunteers who helped not just on the day but help out throughout the whole year.

Amanda was back in the kitchen today preparing dinner for over 20 local senior citizen’s for the weekly luncheon club dinner – star performance!

Reporting issues across the area

Over the last few days whilst delivering our local leaflets we have reported dozens of local issues including:

Pavement trip hazards and road repair issues

Serious problems with some takeaways in the area with overflowing rubbish and un binned piles of rubbish, including some more serious issues regarding unsatisfactory website disposal. Such problems lead to vermin and we have a zero tolerance approach on these issues. The Council has been notified of all these issues and we are becoming concerned about the amount of time it takes to address the issues, and the repetitive nature of many of the problems with particular establishments, so issues have been elevated up to management levels.

We have asked for a lot of areas to be cleared of leaves and other detritus, both on pavements and roads including Rowan Drive, Dryburn Road, Sacriston Road, Folly Terrace and many more. The clean and green department are doing a speedy job to clear up these issues as we report them.

We have also spoken to numerous residents about specific local issues and have had several dozen residents contact us by email so far regarding issues raised in the leaflets or other local issues.

If you haven’t received our latest leaflet by the end of the week please let us know.

 

Remembrance Sunday in Framwellgate Moor – 100 Year Anniversary of the end of World War 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please attend the parade and services this weekend. Starting at St Aidan’s Parish Hall at 10.30am with a service led by Rev Fiona Collin. We will then walk to the memorial garden at Durham Moor, which has had significant work carried out this year and looks splendid.

Local resident David Wheeler ( A Royal British Legion volunteer) has been working all day to cut back paths and plant up some wonderful commemorative benches as well as some extra displays of flowers.

Thank you to Pity Me Nursery for providing the plants – the heathers and pansies I picked up today which David has planted look fantastic.

A company called Loggerheads designed and built the benches, completely voluntarily and if you go and take a look you will be amazed at how great they look. A big thank you to them.

Thank you to the County Council for providing heavy duty flagstones at short notice and free of charge to fix the benches to.

The Parish Council commissioned Marble plaques for the memorial this year using s106 public art money we secured through the County Council.

Parish Councillor Peter Dawson worked hard to get together all the names of our fallen heroes from World War 1 and their names are now there for all to see for the first time on our memorial.

The Parish Council, residents and your county councillors will continue to work together to do all we can to improve the memorial area.

Thank you to David, Loggerheads, Peter, The Royal British Legion,The Parish and County Council’s and everyone else who was involved in improving the memorial this year, but most importantly, thank you to all those who died fighting so that we may live in a peaceful and tolerant society.

Lest We Forget

MAJOR RESURFACING WORKS AT BEK ROAD/CARR HOUSE DRIVE – 64 BUS SERVICE AFFECTED

This coming weekend 20th and 21st October, the entrance in to Newton Hall from Bek Road traffic lights will be closed. This will include the closure of the section of Carr House Drive from Alnwick Road junction to Bek Road, and Bek Road up to just before Eden Road. A full resurfacing job will be done on the stretch not done last year, but this will include removing the top layer and putting on a full new surface rather than just a coating over the top.

The 64 Bus service will operate along Rothbury Road and Canterbury Road and part of Bek Road as normal, but turn down Langley Road, missing out the rest of Bek Road, going onto Carr House Drive and then down Alnwick Road, it will then turn back onto Rothbury Road, and then continue down Old Pit Lane/Finchale Road – and the reverse going the other direction.

This will mean that two stops (one in either direction) will be missed on Bek Road.

It is possible that the service will be disrupted. Please let us know if any of the 64 services this weekend or any other day for that matter do not actually go through the estate, as there are regular occurrences when the service misses out the estate completely!

We have raised concerns with the council that the closure this weekend has not been sufficiently advertised in the press, and indeed I was only notified myself of the alternative route at 10.30 on Thursday (today).

I also held a 2 hour meeting with council transport officers last week about the 64 service and they are arranging a meeting with Arriva so that we can raise concerns of residents about the frequent occasions when the 64 bus misses out the entire estate.

Well done! Council Clean and Green Team in rapid response to dangerous trees

Yesterday afternoon I contacted our Clean and Green Manager about a dangerous tree at the entrance to the Arnison Centre. There could have been a serious accident as it was leaning at 45 degrees towards the road and was only held up by a sign.

The team was out and had the whole tree down and removed and the access fully open again astonishingly quickly. All credit to them. They also made safe another tree in Newton Hall and were called out to countless other problems across the area.

Hopefully we won’t have to deal with this again but if you do spot a dangerous tree contact the Council immediately and let us know.

Summer break that wasn’t a summer break

Whilst the weather was certainly summer like this year. The supposed August break failed to materialise for us as councillors. We have had to deal with a whole raft of issues across the area during this time including:

– ARRIVA BUS SERVICES – Problems with local bus services culminating in articles in the local press. We have had to challenge the Council and Arriva regarding the 64 service and indeed other services across the area. It seems Arriva have had a whole raft of problems. Although for many long term sufferers of the services on Newton Hall, this will come as no surprise, just that this year it seems to have been worse than ever. We continue to look for ways to improve services in our area.

– HIGHWAYS ISSUES At various locations including Mere Drive and Carr House Drive we have had to intervene over council work to footpaths where not all the work was completed. In ere Drive this was not the Council’s fault and was down to parked cars. On Carr House Drive, areas where were due to be rebuilt were completely missed due to council error. And ear the hospital we have had to repeatedly push with our colleagues form Neveille’s Cross for the footpath which was really dangerous to be resurfaced. This was done over the last weekend and a very good job has been done, so thank you to our highways teams for finally recognising the need for this work.

– PAVILLION AND KING GEORGE V WORKS – On a the Parish Council we have all been working hard to make sure that the work to the Pavillion could start this week, the £100,000 project includes replacement of the roof of the Pavillion including other structural works, new heating system, new lighting for the MUGA,Tennis court and pavillion access road. Parish Councillor Colin Hillary has been invaluable in making sure that this project reached this stage. I was put in charge of the fundraising and we managed to bring in significant funding from Sport England, S106 planning funds and AAP funding so that the parish council has only had to fund a small proportion of the works. The Parsih car park will be closed for 3 months and we have had to liaise with the Primary school, county council and police to ensure that problems in the local area are kept to a minimum particularly on Newton Drive.

– FRAMWELLGATE MOOR PRIMARY SCHOOL has opened with its wonderful extension, new windows, heating and car park works well on the way to completion. It is expected the works will take until April to completely finish. This has ensured that the area will have enough places for local children this year and that the primary school will now have far better facilities than before to support its outstanding status! We had to work hard with the school and County Council to ensure that the heating, parking and windows plans were improved.

– COUNTY HALL AND AKYLEY HEADS. We have had to intervene over the summer over the plans for the new county hall and next week Amanda will be raising concerns about the Aykley Heads masterplan at Cabinet. We do not believe that the County Council can be trusted to ensure that this area has the infrastructure in place to deal with the proposals for new jobs in this area and given the problems over the years which we have had to deal with since the redevelopment of Trinity School, we have sincere concerns about how traffic management, parking and other issues will be managed. The new county hall plans for the Sands car park have raised significant concerns in the community, and I have raised with Directors at County Hall my concerns that there is no sustainability assessment included with the proposals Many residents have contacted us about the plans for the new HQ. As I am on the planning committee I cannot give an opinion either way on the building but do feel that residents should have an extended period of consultation on this as all the information needed to consider the proposals is not yet available and the consultation period closed last week – this is clearly not acceptable.

BRASSIDE PARKING LAY-BYS – We have numerous issues which we have had to deal with in Brasside including discussions about the plans to rebuild the parking areas though the village. We are now hopeful of a start on site soon after making several amendments to the works to make them safer and more appropriate.

START OF NEW COLLEGE TERM – The state of Front Street last week with students from New College back for the new term was completely unacceptable and we intervened contacting the College, the Police and teh County Council. Wardens are patrolling, as are the police and the College has written to all students reminding them of their responsibility to treat the local area with respect. The amount of litter at the top of Newcastle Terrace last week was disgraceful We are going to me monitoring this going forward and I will be asking the County council to reconsider whether or not 16-18 year olds can / should be given penalty notices for littering as at the moment the Council does not do this.

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES – Across the area we have had requests for a variety of works including weed spraying, tree and bush cutting, clearing of flytipping and litter. We have also had to intervene because of the unacceptable behaviour of some of the shops on Framwellgate Moor Front street, the owners of which seem to think they can profit from the local community at the same time has leaving the outside of the shops looking a complete tip. Warning and enforcement letters have been sent and are being looked at further.

CLOSURE OF POTTERHOUSE LANE

We had to intervene and challenge the Council over this and their suggestion that this will be closed for months and months. For many years I have expressed concerns about the culvert running under the road near the chicken farm. It collapsed and when the Council said it was going to take so long to repair we have been putting pressure on and hope that the work will get finished more quickly to avoid unnecessary disruption.

Just a few of the things going on. Blog fully back up and running……..

Reporting issues around our area

Over the last week, whilst delivering our latest leaflet which provides details of the County Plan consultation, we have also ben reporting issues around our area. Some of these will be acted on quickly by the council, some will be booked in for future works program, and sadly some may not be actioned at all if Council doesn’t think they are severe enough or fails to properly investigate – this does happens sometimes and some of the reports we put in have to be it in more than once. Here’s a sample of some requests, if you spot anything like this anywhere else, please let us know.

Dryburn Hill – Road surface request for patching, leaves and detritus on footpaths and road.

Dryburn Road – Request for sweeping of road and paths

Sacriston Lane/Durham Moor – Various areas requiring sweeping

Durham Road/Durham Moor Crescent – Tree root trip hazards on pavement, detritus on pavement.

Holmlands Crescent – trip hazard on pavement

Durham Moor Crescent – Very poor state of pavement on part of the street

Path from Finchale Road to Newton Drive – overgrown/full of weeds

Various properties with rubbish in gardens or overflowing bins

25-31 Finchale Rd – road surface never resurfaced when rest of estate was done

Flytipping at various locations including Finchale Road, Beech Road, Newcastle Terrace, Garden Avenue, Front St Framwellgate Moor, Woodbine Road, Farnham Road, Durham Terrace

Dangerous structure (wall) on Finchale Road

Damaged footpaths on Finchale Road, The Forge,

High Carr Close – new estate – drainage gullies full of construction waste

Various issues with County Durham Housing Group properties

Overgrown paths/weeds on Caterhouse Road

Pavement issues on Lilac Avenue

Abandoned vehicles

Overgrown path at Bek Rd traffic lights

Various detritus issues on Old Pit Lane

Road defects Roman Drive, Carr House Drive, Aykley Vale

Overgrown path Newton Drive

Path from Potterhouse Terrace to the Forge overgrown

Blocked gullies – various locations

Farnham Road – tree root/trip hazards

Bede Way – bushes growing into road

 

 

 

Northern Relief Road thoughts

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.

 

County Plan – the basics

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.

Northern Bypass

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.

Country Park

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.

Aykley Heads

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.

Infrastructure Changes

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.