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.

Arnison Centre update

Various issues have been raised with the company managing the retail centre, some going back over a year. We have chased an update from them regarding these issues: My comments followed by their answers below.

1. The area to the rear of Costa has had a skip there for months, being used for general waste. It has no cover and when it’s windy it blows out. There is a rat problem in this area.
This skip has been removed and I have received the waste transfer note to confirm this.
2. In the same area the road wasn’t designed right and a big stretch of verge which was planted up very nicely when first done has been mud since just after the pods/work was done.
We are aware of this and unfortunately this is due to the occupiers service lorries reversing over this area and damaging the planted shrubs. We have obtained a quote to move the kerb back but due to the large cost of these works we have to increase the budget to allow us to proceed with this. We need to see if we have the funds to proceed with this in the new year once the service charge has been reconciled.
3. Other parts of the site have areas where planting has disappeared or is dead.
We are aware of these and it is unfortunate that people decide to walk over the new planting and as a result it dies off. We have spent £3,500 replanting the shrubs along the Greggs and Costa pod at the end of June. We tendered our landscaping contract in June this year and the new contractor is meeting myself and our facilities manager on site next week to review what others areas we need to concentrate on.
4. The kerb near Marks and Spencer which I reported over a year ago as dangerous has now had cones on it for over six months.
If you are referring to the attached photo I had asked the original contractor to review this and move the kerb back. I will follow this up.
5. The zebra crossing point next to KFC has no crossing markings (worn off) and has now been like this for a year.
We are relining all of the Mercia car park and placed the order with our contractor on 7th September to complete over £3k of works.
6. Still no bins.
We are reviewing whether these are required.
7. Still no seating.
We have decided on the seating and obtained quotes. We need to review all the leases on the park as some of the retailers have exclusion and visibility zones that need to be considered and could alter the preferred location for the seating.

// We are following up on some of these answers but it is good to see some movement on these issues. If you have any other issues with the retail park or any other shopping areas please do let us know.

Abbey Road parking

We are currently working to address some problems in the Pity Me area around Smithfield and Abbey Road. The success of some of the businesses has increased the number of vehicles in the area. This has resulted in some pretty dangerous and inconsiderate parking, but we are on the case and are working with the businesses and the Council to get as quick a resolution as possible.

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.

County Plan – Important update – Consultation Dates

Durham County Council’s cabinet passed the County Plan for consultation on Wednesday. The plan looks at what the County needs in terms of housing, employment and infrastructure until 2035.

We have three consultation events arranged in our area – originally one until we complained.

They are on the following dates:

Framwellgate Moor Community Centre – 27th June from 3.30pm to 6.30pm

Abbey Leisure Centre – 5th July from 4pm to 7pm

All Saints Church Newton Hall – 19th July from 4pm to 7pm

There will also be an event at the Town Hall tbc.

 

Grass cutting issues

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.

Please do let us know about any local issues