I now have an update of the route through Pity Me and Framwellgate Moor for the new 754 bus route: (Starting 30th March 2009)

Route towards Langley Park is – Dryburn Road, Front Street, Abbey Road, Arnison Centre Link Road, unclassified road to Hag House roundabout, unclassified road to A167, B6312 Park View to Plawsworth.

Route towards Durham is – Plawsworth Road, Park View, A167, Front Street, Abbey Road, Arnison Centre Link Road, unclassified road, Abbey Road, Front Street, Bus Link, High Carr Road, B6532


SUCCESS!! Following on from the loss of some of the 25/25a bus services, the new bus services which we have secured with the help of residents and fellow councillors and the County Council are the 726 and 754 services:

The 726 service will run hourly in both directions from Langley Park to Chester-le-Street, stopping in Witton Gilbert and passing through Sacriston and Plawsworth.

The 754 service will run hourly in both directions from Langley Park to Durham Bus Station, stopping in Witton Gilbert and passing through Sacriston, the Arnison Centre in Pity Me, the Salutation in Framwellgate Moor and University Hospital.

Witton Gilbert Post Office on Newton Street has copies of the timetables for both services.

I have also uploaded the timetables:

726 Timetable – Arriva

754 Timetable – Arriva

726 and 754 Route Maps


We have used some of our councillors funds to extend the CAB outreach services. the new dates are: (Click link on left for maps)

Witton Gilbert  (Fyndoune Communal Hall) 

Alternate Tuesdays 11.30am – 12.30pm

March 24th, April 7th and 21st, May 5th and 19th, June 2nd, 16th  and 30th, and July 14th and 28th.

Framwellgate Moor (Flambard Road Communal Hall)

Alternate Wednesdays 11.30am – 12.30pm

March 25th, April  8th and  22nd, May 6th and 20th, June 3rd and 17th, July 1st, 15th, and 29th.

Pity Me  (Woodbine Road Communal Hall) 

Alternate Wednesdays  12 noon – 1pm

March 18th, April  1st, 15th, 29th, May 13th and 27th, June 10th and 24th, July 8th and 22nd, August 5th.

Bearpark  (Beaurepaire Communal Hall)

Alternate Thursdays  

March 26th, April  9th and 23rd, May 7th and 21st, June 4th and 18th, July 2nd, 16th and 30th.


After discovering last week that the council was selling compost bins at £17 each, against its own policy, and having told 67,000 households where to go to pay £17, I today secured assurances that anyone buying one at this price will recieve a refund of £9. Council policy is to provide the bins for £8 each.

I find it incredulous that they would be so incompetant as to deliver 67,000 leaflets without making sure that the website  and contact centre had changed their prices. The website still has the £17 charge (www.recyclenow.com), but I am assured that this will be changed.

At least 5 people have already paid £17 and they will recieve a refund.

The council also has just £30,000 this coming year committed from your taxes to waste minimisation programs (or 6p per resident). By contrast next year it expects landfill tax charges of £6-7 million (£14 per person) – clearly priorities are not in the right place. If the council had been more proactive over the last few years we wouldn’t be facing a whopping £30 plus charge per household for this tax. Other councils have put in place the correct systems – Durham County Council needs to get its act together.


After pushing for gates to be installed between the Mercia Centre and Arnison Centre to ensure the new KFC doesn’t result in a return to boy racers, I can confirm that they have now been installed. Thanks to local residents for assisting with this and the management company for taking our concerns on board. I still have concerns about opening times but this is a step in the right direction.


We all know that the economy is in a dire state but if interest rates are to be cut again it is high time that savers were given some help, cutting tax on savings would be a start. Every time interest rates are cut it reduces the amount of money savers have to spend, further hitting the economy. Mortgate and loan rates are not falling, in fact are rising in many cases. Could further cuts be counter productive, hitting our currency and driving prices up? Comments appreciated


Residents in Brasside and particularly at Finchale Abbey Village have safer driving conditions after we pushed for new road markings to be put in place – now carried out. Thanks to the police, highways officers and local residents for their support.

The corner down to Finchale Abbey was being parked on causing serious safety concerns. a good stretch of this road now has a white line which is being observed by motorists. Parking problems still persist because of overflow from the prison and we are still waiting for the travel plan from the prison.

More awkward parking along Finchale Avenue is causing further concerns and highways officers are looking into this problem. We will continue to push for the travel plan which I asked to be beefed up at a plannig committee metting last year to be finalised and implemented and want to see better bus schedules and more car sharing. Comments appreciated.


Many councillors attended a seminar which was billed as what we are doing as council in the economic downturn. Whilst officers have clearly worked hard on what would be described as medium to long term goals, I was very vocal in stating that we need action now – immediately. I proposed the following for consideration:

Extension of CAB outreach to all villages across the county and additional funding for CAB to assist during the downturn. Rev and I have invested more of your money into outreach services which are now funded until August, with two meetings each week available across our division. We will be displaying new dates shortly and letting residents know through newspapers and leaflets.

Asked for letters to be sent with forms to every small business in County Durham which can benefit from the Small Business Rates Reduction which is currently not taken up by as many as 60% of small businesses and would keep hundreds of thousands of pounds in County Durham. This is Lib Dem policy which our local party fronted by Carol Woods your L:ib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate has been pushing for many weeks.

A fast track program for releasing council owned land for allotments freeing up local communities to apply for national funding to assist in  financing set up costs and giving residents the chance to cut their food bills and create more community spirit and cohesion. We asked residents in Bearpark if they wanted an allotment last year and increased the number interested from a dozen or so to over 60.  There is currently a waiting list of over 15 years. We want to work with the Parish Council in Bearpark and the County Council to get land which we know is available working for local people – at the end of the day Council land is residents land and politics should not be part of this.

I raised the issue of High Speed Internet across the county stating that we must make this a priority and look at cost effective solutions to wireless internet in our more rural areas.

I also recommended the council funds outreach internet services to allow for example residents to access internet tariffs for fuel bills.

I asked for all resdients to be written to make sure they receive the correct benefits and  are given details of where to go for assistance including through CAB.

I asked for support for credit unions in our area and hope to provide more information for residents.

I recommended that the council investigates renting empty properties of house builders to reduce the council housing waiting lists.

I asked that the £6000 taken out of the apprenticeships schemes in the recent budget to be reinstated and increased.

And most importantly I asked to see every week, and month what the council is doing to tackle the downturn, rather than just concentrating on medium to long term plans.

At full council last week the Lib Dems pushed for pressure to be put on central government to stop the disgraceful, compulsory  6.5% increases in social housing rents, and as a result the leader of the council has raised these issues with cabinet ministers – cross party action.

This is just the start, but this needs implementing NOW. Comments appreciated. Again i say – we will work with anyone to solve the current economic problems, but where this doesn’t happen we will challenge them politically to the n’th degree.


Cllr Crooks and I have today informed residents on Lund Av, St Aidans Av, and Gray Av in Framwellgate Moor that carriageway resurfacing will take place later this year. This comes off the back of hard work by highways officers in surveying works we asked to be looked at last year.

It has been many years since these roads were resurfaced and the state is clearly terrible, we are confident that the promises we made on improving our roads are being met and will have further announcements in the coming weeks.

Our policy of getting on with it will continue. At a time when people are paying more and more for council tax we should all expect the best for our area. We feel we are achieving this and look forward to informing residents of further improvements and investments in our area after many years of failure.

As a party we are proud of the fact that we managed to secure no cuts in the highways budget working cross party. This is how it should be done, especially in the current climate. Whilst other parties may wish to be negative, we take no truck with this. We will work with anyone who wants to work with us for the community.


A range of new measures have been announced to help people affected by loan sharks. A new, confidential, national hotline replaces regional telephone numbers and provides a single point of contact.

Where to get information

An estimated 165,000 households in the UK use an illegal money lender each year

If you need to get information about reporting a loan shark or managing your money you can:

  • Call the national hotline on 0300 555 2222
  • text ‘loan (space) shark (space) and your message’ to 60003
  • visit the new Stop Loan Sharks website using the link below

Stop Loan Sharks

The first Stop Loan Sharks pilot schemes were launched in September 2004 and then rolled out to every region of England, Wales and Scotland in 2007.

Since then, more than 60 people have been prosecuted with a further 90 prosecutions underway.

Consumer Affairs Minister, Gareth Thomas, said: “Loan sharks fleece hard-earned cash from their victims causing great distress and anguish.

“Calling this hotline gives victims the chance to talk in confidence. They get advice and support and the information provided helps the team to take action to stop illegal money lending.

“The teams are having huge success in bringing these criminals to justice and are saving consumers significant amounts of money.”