On the 4th February my fellow Lib Dem councillors across County Durham put the following motions to full council:

  • The reinstatement of salting on some roads in Esh Winning and Waterhouses
  • The need for decisions to take the needs of all the county into account, not favoured areas, and that this would best be achieved by a Cabinet made up of councillors from all current districts within the county
  • Protecting services at Bishop Auckland Hospital
  • Continuing  support for town and parish councils on the new Unitary Council
  • Applying 30 mph speed limits to all villages in the county
  • Reintroducing a staff suggestion scheme at County Hall to take advantage of employees’ good ideas

I have become accustomed to Labour simply voting against everything – I honestly believe they will vote against everything which any opposition member puts forward – full stop. We will of course continue to push for imporvements in County Durham. I was most surprised at the Labour member for Deerness abstaining in the vote to get a 30mph zone for Broompark and Brancepeth.



At the full council meeting on Feb 4th I raised the issue (again) of the chronic waste at county hall. Over a twelve month period the council buys in excess of 19 thousand glue sticks. They allow staff to purchase both the designer Pritt Stick brand and a non-designer brand.

The designer brand is charged at 96p the non-designer brand at 12p. This is costing the council over £2500 more than they need to spend – and that’s before anyone questions why we need to order 19,000 of the darn things.

The response I got to my request to stop this was that the non-designer brand don’t work properly. Interesting answer – I have not been told why we buy over 6600 of the non-branded version though – when the porfolio member says they don’t work

Published 10th Feb


Bus Shelter on Front St Pity Me

Below are details of some of the sucesses from the work of your local Lib Dem Councillors in January 2009

The new bus shelter for Pity Me Front St was approved, ordered and fitted in record time between December and January. After I searched for funding, the County Integrated transport budget came up trumps working with the City Council and we now have a brand new bus shelter to make it a little easier to stand waiting. All this in just a few weeks.



On 29th January the cabinet at Durham County decided to raise Council Tax by 2.94% overall.

I spoke out against this and the Labour leader of the council accused my challenge to this of being “fantasy” and “headline grabbing”. Perhaps he should consider the fact that last year when Labour forced the new Unitary Council upon us they said there would be no increases in council tax – strange how it can go from being Labour policy to fantasy in such a short period of time.

On 27th February I would urge all residents to attend the full council meeting at 10am to listen to our alternative budget proposals which will be based on an overall average 0% rise in council tax. This will be fully funded and explained to the Council although we do not expect Labour will listen to us or the people of County Durham – why change a habit of a lifetime.

Published 10th Feb.


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Two fantastic new bus shelters have been installed after your Lib Dem county councillors worked with the County Council highways department and City Council environment department to get funding approved. This was a great joint effort and included some funding from my councillors discretionary budget, some from the City Council and some from the County Council. Officers on both councils deserve praise for all their hard work.

Some repairs are having to be carried out to the concrete pointing on the walls around the shelters and more work will be done to make sure they cannot come loose again.

Published 10th Feb 09


A big thank you to everyone who came out to vote yesterday. There are now 2 Liberal Democrat County/Unitary councillors for Framwellgate Moor division! Turnout was high for a local election at over 46%. Across Durham District, local Lib Dems have taken 15 out of 22 seats, and across County Durham we have gone from having 5 County Councillors to 27. Labour has narrowly kept control of county Durham by just 3 seats. Maybe now they will start to listen to us. Thank you to the other candidates for a hard fought campaign and for their best wishes.

We will work hard to acheive the best for Framwellgate Moor Division and County Durham.

Thank you once again.


WILKES, Mark – Liberal Democrats 1433 Elected

CROOKS, Rev – Liberal Democrats 1400 Elected

BURLISON, George William – Labour 1267

WILSON, Marion – Labour 1062

MODERATE, Terry – Independent 626

BATES, Michael Local Conservatives 329

MUSGRAVE, Ralph Stephen – BNP 285

CAREY, Simon Paul – Independent 257

WYNNE, Pat Local – Conservatives 244


Here are just a few of the important promises we make to you if we are elected to the new council.

To make the new council more efficient

To campaign against labour’s tax rises

To improve play and youth facilities

To tackle road safety issues

To tackle anti-social behaviour

To continue to make our villages greener and cleaner

To fight to get overdue pavement and road repairs

To work hard at increasing affordable housing, social housing and making homes more efficient

To continue to communicate regularly and to listen to your concerns

To help build sustainable communities, protect and improve local services.


The blog has missed a few days while I have been out with Redvers knocking on doors.  I have now knocked on more than half of the 4000 homes  personally and hope to get round everyone over the next week. Please call me on 0191 386 4238 if you have any questions.

The response today in Pity Me, Witton Gilbert and Witton Gilbert Station was excellent – a lot of issues to think about and a lot more to deal with locally. I have made repeated calls to City Council and County Council officers during the day, and continue to deal with recycling issues.

In many areas residents seem happy to see a smiling face and someone to talk to who will try to sort out local issues – delivering a leaflet every few months outside of election time does matter to people.

Several people have raised environmental issues with me and are keen to see leadership locally in reducing packaging, increase recycling and finding solutions including an increase in micro-generation (locally produced energy). Redvers is already doing this with under-ground heating and I have been working to reduce packaging and increase recycling with supermarkets, residents, the New College and of course through the new Lib Dem cardboard and plastic recycling scheme.

Continuing niggles with the recycling scheme are gradually being ironed out and I am in daily contact with the relevant officers. Please let me know if you do not have a new green bag, green box, or have any other recycling related issue.  I am looking forward to tackling environmental issues head on over the coming months.

If you expected to have received a postal vote and have not please contact me.

Finally – the attempted u-turn by Labour over the 10p tax band is quite simply the worst kind of electioneering. The poorest in society will continue to have to struggle with complicated forms which cost all of us fortune and do not compensate the worst off. The system wastes taxpayers money and demoralises people. We need more efficient government locally and nationally.


He is my brief candidate statement to the Northern Echo today:

I live in the area and I care about turning around the neglect we have suffered under Labour. Since I was elected as a local District Councillor for the area last year, I have worked on improving road safety, reducing litter, tackling anti-social behaviour and highlighting our deteriorating roads and pavements. I have also campaigned for better facilities for local residents, young and old, and fought against Labour plans to close local Post Offices. Working with fellow Lib Dem Redvers Crooks and local community groups we will get the best value for your council tax and will continue to communicate all year round through Focus leaflets, on my blog at markwilkes.mycouncillor.org.uk and through meetings in all five of our unique villages. Tel 0191 386 4238, Mob: 07809 377 177