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.
Please do let us know about any local issues
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.
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.
I chased up today on the litter situation on our country lanes, in particular Potterhouse Lane (past the tip), Rotary Way, along the back roads and down to Cocken.
They are in a really bad way. Some work will be done soon but some will have to be delayed as Cocken will apparently require a road closure for safety reasons.
I will keep chasing this. Sick and tired of takeaway rubbish on these roads.
We have had a few residents get in touch about the state of the roads. The Council has been working round the clock to keep our main roads in a good condition and despite the horrendous conditions most main roads have been passable with care most of the time.
We have one outstanding issue. Finchale Abbey Village is still wanting for a grit delivery despite my original request on 12 December and repeat requests since. We have been given assurances that there will be some delivered tomorrow.
My attempt to get down there today was not fruitful and I turned back. This suggests to us that many residents will be struggling to get out of the village, and if the forecasts are right the village may well be cut off completely by morning. Not great considering its just a couple of miles from Durham City.
When the annual review of winter maintenance comes round there will be some earnest and frank discussions about this particular element of the winter maintenance program from us as your local councillors and these problems will definitely not happen again that’s for sure.
Other than this issue, the Council is doing a good job in difficult circumstances.
All staff are working round the clock and deserve praise for their efforts. It certainly isn’t easy driving a 40 ton truck of grit on ice with near snow blindness, so please bear with them if service levels are not quite to the standard you would normally expect.
We will also see significant disruption to bin collections for the next few days and into next week, so time to compact down those bins!
We are currently working with the police to deal with some antisocial behaviour issues in Framwellgate Moor.
If anyone spots anything across our area which they feel is inappropriate such as flytipping, excessive noise, littering, dog fouling, overflowing bins, properties with a lot of rubbish lying around etc please do let us know or contact the police on their 101 number if it’s something more serious such as a drug related issue or crime.
The Council is getting round as quickly as it can but the snow is causing delays. If your bin isn’t emptied leave it out. Todays missed collections will be collected on Saturday or Monday weather permitting.
The access we secured to the A167 through the end of Potterhouse Terrace looks great. We asked for this as well as the new access at the bottom of Woodbine Road because it was a muddy mess and looked so unsightly before. The access is for cyclists and pedestrians and links to the newly widened path along the Pity Me bypass.
The path at Woodbine Road linking the A167 was completed at the same time and now means that instead of walking across 20 or so metres of grass and mud we have an excellent new access. And its much better in the evenings too as you can actually see where you are going and not trip over mole hills.