It is clear the the Conservatives and Labour haven’t got a clue on the economy. The reassuring, sensible approach being taken by Vince Cable – Lib Dem Shadow Chancellor is a major relief. His interview with Andrew Marrs on Sunday was a breath of fresh air, and the decision to limit bonuses to the absolute minimum for bankers comes after he made that very point.

The interview can be read or watched here



Over the last few months there have been serious problems with parking in Brasside, particularly on the road running to Finchale Abbey. The number of vehicles parking along this road is now becoming dangerous, with no passing points for motorists and cars repeatedly parking round the edge of a junction which has poor visibility.

The County Council  Portfolio Member for the Environment and the Head of the department are now fully aware of the issues and I have spoken with the officers in charge of liaising with the prison on the traffic plan which I was successful in getting added to the planning application as requirement before occupation of the new block at Frankland Prison.

I have also spoken with the Highways Department to ask for the consideration of double yellow lines along this stretch of road for safety reasons, and have repeatedly asked for the extension of the no parking markings around the junction.

It is clear that there is insufficient parking at the prison, and I am waiting to see the updated travel plan proposals and the answer from Highways.



Support for the Lib Dems nationally has jumped over the last few months and we are now closer to Labour in the polls than at any time in the last 22 years with 22% of the vote.

This must in part be down to Vince Cable who has been head and tails above the Conservatives and Labour in his view of the current economic crisis, and his solutions.

In County Durham we are still the Official opposition to Labour with 27 County Councillors.


Fiona Hall MEP

I’ve added a link on the left to Fiona Hall’s website. Fiona has been a fantastic Member of the European Parliament over the last few years and has spent time in Framwellgate Moor Division knocking on doors, talking to local residents over the last year or so. Fiona’s office is in the centre of Durham so she really is a truely local MEP for Durham City area and the North East.

Her site is at


To allow for easy access to find out what is happening at the parish councils in Framwellgate Moor Division I will be adding the Agenda and minutes of these minutes onto this website once I have had confirmation from the Clerks and Chairs that they have no objection to this.

The parish councils which cover this area are:

Framwellgate Moor – Includes Framwellgate Moor, Pity Me, Brasside and Finchale Abbey

Witton Gilbert – Includes Witton Gilbert, Hartside, Kimblesworth Grange and Witton Station

Bearpark – Includes Aldin Grange and Bearpark


footpath-a167.jpg   footpath-a167-2.jpg

Part of the A167 including Pity Me roundabout will be resurfaced between 28th Feb and 22nd March. This will almost certainly cause some delays.

As part of the scheme I have managed to secure the resurfacing/ cutting back of some of the footpaths and cycle paths around the roundabout which at present are in a dreadful state. Another footpath success! Hopefully when all this is finished and the daffodils we planted come up it will look fantastic.


Wallnook Lane Footpath before cutting backNorburn Park Footpath after first resurfacingFindon Avenue resurfaced footpath - new residents association meeting works!


Last year, after listening to your priorities we found that fixing footpaths and roads and road safety were at the top of the list of your priorites. Over the last few months we have set about making the changes after years of neglect.

We have been successful in stopping proposed reductions in the Highways budget at the council, working cross-party to make sure the department gets the funding it deserves. I would like to see more investment in this area – the cost to the council in claims for trips is huge. I hope that with falling prices for materials this year, even more can be done.

After becoming councillors we found out that only a handful of roads and footpaths had been surveyed in our area. As a result we requested dozens of surveys to be carried out and are now waiting to see which work the County Council is going to prioritise in the general budget next year.

Work already done or booked in to be done in next few months, the majority of which was as a result of our requests and efforts:

Louisa Terrace – Witton Gilbert –  Resurfacing of the dangerous bend where there had been many accidents and years of pressure from the Parish Council, Residents and ourselves – meeting our promises.

Bearpark Pinch Point – The removal of the dangerous pinch point in Bearpark, which was funded out of our Councillros Highways Budget – again as a result of years of accidents – meeting our promises.

Norburn Park and Hillside – Footpaths, untouched for decades and in some places too narrow to walk along have been cut back to their original width and have been resurfaced in a number of places, with more work still to be done to bring up to decent condition.

Cook Avenue – The infamous footpath with dozens of “temporary repairs” which were actually lumps of tarmac sticking up – Over 100 metres is booked in to be rebuilt in the coming weeks – meeting our promises.

Woodbine Road – Additional dropped kerbs to help local elderly residents were added to the existing proposals after pressure from Cllr Wilkes.

Potholes – hundreds of potholes surveyed by your councillors and filled in by the Council. If you have one near you please tell us and we’ll report it for repair.

Rose Lea, Abbey Road – Collapsed drains rebuilt after years of being broken.

Newton Drive, Framwellgate Moor – Dropped kerbs and broken pavement – Resurfacing and dropped kerbs booked in to be done near school and doctors.

Bearpark – Ritson/Kingston Av’s. – Proposal for raised platforms currently being considered for cross roads – will go to Highways Committee for final approval – for reducing speeding after numerous accidents and near misses.

Findon Avenue – Witton Gilbert – Dangerous footpath resurfaced around Bungalows after discussions at the new Witton Gilbert residents Association meeting.

Brookside, Cragside, Friarside, Glebeside – WittonGilbert – footpaths resurfaced.

Pity Me – Front Street traffic calming and access improvements – currently being finalised for completion in March – to reduce speed and make it easier to exit juncitons along the road, new slow markings, re shaping of junction markings and the driving path as well as new entrance signs for the entrance to Pity Me.

North Terrace – Remarking of no parking markings.

A167 Roundabout – as part of the work to resurface the A167, we have managed to secure the cutting back and resurfacing of footpaths/cyclepaths near the rounabout – one of which should ahve been over 1.5m wide but is currently barely visible.

Witton Station – Wallnook Lane – Cutting back of footpaths which was too narrow to walk on after many years of becoming overgrown.

Just some of the highways work which we have been working on. i will post more details as and when. Thanks must be given to excellent officers in the Highways department for all their hard work.

When we have  copies of the surveys we have requested and details of the work for the coming year I will post them here.


Each councillor gets £2000 from the County Council to give to local groups for projects in their Division. We have now given out all this years money but would be interested to hear from anyone who has an idea which they think would help in our villages. If you are a member of a local voluntary group please get in touch. New schemes will be considered from 1st April.

For the next financial year I am particularly interested to hear from anyone who wants to carry out environmental projects which involve local young people.

Details of the projects Councillor Crooks and I have jointly supported can be seen below:

Citizen’s Advice Bureau – Outreach services in Framwellgate Moor, Pity Me, Witton Gilbert, Bearpark

Bearpark under 18’s Fun day – a fantastic day for young people in Bearpark during the summer.

Bearpark Community Playgroup – funday.

Framwellgate Moor Community Centre – Christmas pantomine which was very well attended and enjoyed by all.

Bearpark Community Centre – For Christmas pantomime in village.

Beaurepaire over 60’s group – assistance with Christmas party.

DERIC Bus (Durham’s Eductional Resources in the Communities Bus) – Fiance for six week programme in Witton Gilbert which has assisted in the setting up of a Youth Club in Witton Gilbert.

Witton Gilbert Youth Club – finance for youngsters to spend on projects through the youth club.

Framwellgate Moor Youth Club – finance for youngsters to spend on projects through the youth club.

Age Concern – assistance for projects in Framwellgate Moor area including Cooking and exercise programmes for older residents.

Durham Association of  Clubs for young people –  to buy clothing and equipment for local users of Boxing Club.

Aldin Grange Angling Club – to help fund angling courses and equipment for youngsters in the area.

Bearpark Primary School – to help with a garden for pupils to learn more about gardening and growing food.

Pity Me over 60’s – Help for social activities including trips to theatre and other social events.

Flambard Road Community Centre –  help for social activities including trips to theatre and other social events for over 60’s club in Framwellgate Moor.

Witton Gilbert Baby & Toddler Group – for Christmas fair.

Bearpark Methodist SHELL group –  social events.



After a successful planting of 1300 daffodil bulbs (part donted from Homebase and part from my own money in January), I have now ordered 20 half oak barrels using some of the City Council discretionary fund. These will be spread around Pity Me, Framwellgate Moor and Brasside in April or May, underneath our Village entrance signs and on grassed areas.

If anyone would like to assist in watering them or has a suggested location, please call me on 01913725866.

Finchale Training College is filling the tubs and we should have flowers all summer long, and through next winter as well, with bulbs also coming up in Spring 2010.

Picture is an example of what they may look like.