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.



I was out over the weekend litter picking and taking photos of the old railway path in Pity Me which I am trying to get funding for upgrading. this path is well used and if it can be linked up with the path to New College will make an excellent improvement.

Work was done last year on the other side of the path and I feel this is a priority for the vilage.

I have meetings over the coming weeks with various officers and organistions to try and secure the funding and will report back if I am successful.

Green Waste Update

Anyone who wants a compost bin at a discounted rate will shortly be able to buy one – especially useful if you care not to be in the initial roll out of green waste collection, don’t want another wheelie bin or would prefer to make your own compost. Check back here and i will update on when they will be available.

Success – Expanded Green Waste Collection!

The District and County councils have been working on rolling out green waste collections. Councillors were asked their views last month and after viewing the proposals for Framwellgate Moor division I requested a considerable increase in the number of houses receiving the service in our area.

At present around 67,000 homes have green waste collections across the County. An additonal 60,000 are to be added, leaving around 50,000 without the service. Many parts of our area were not to be included in the roll out, however after discussions between myself and officers I can now confirm that hundreds more homes will be added to the round in our area including Taylor, Cook, Ritson and Kingston Avenues and all the streets running off Newton Drive in Framwellgate Moor.

I asked for maps of the areas which will receive the new service and these can be seen below:

Bearpark Green Waste

Framwellgate Moor green Waste

Pity Me Green Waste

Witton Gilbert Green Waste

I will continue to push for further expansion within our area and have been told that once the roll out is completed, priority consideration will be given to providing the service to those areas not yet included, such as Brasside, Institute Terrace and Aldin Rise in Bearpark and Front St in Witton Gilbert.

I have also been asked for the Terraces behind Front St in Fram to be added.

Anyone who does not want to join up to the service can ask to opt out. It is expected to start  after Easter around the 14th April. If your house isn’t on the map and you want green waste collection (and have a garden) let me know and I will ask for it to be considered.

Citizen’s Advice Bureau Outreach Extension

We can now confirm that  the CAB Outreach program will be extended from April through to August after your Lib Dem councillors allocated additional resources to the CAB.

Later dates will be added here. Remember that you can go along to any of the outreach services and don’t need to wait until there is one in your village.

Each poster has a map showing where to go and details of all  the dates until April when the service is running. We will add new dates when finalised.

If you can’t open the files you need to download Adobe Reader, which can be done for free by clicking here. http://get.adobe.com/uk/reader/ Otherwise send me an email and I’ll let you know the dates for your area.

Bearpark CAB Outreach

Flambard Road/Framwellgate Moor CAB OutreachBearpark CAB Outreach

Pity Me Woodbine Road CAB Outreach

Witton Gilbert Fyndoune CAB Outreach

Durham Herald Online

You can now view a copy of our latest Durham Herald Newspaper electronically whenver you want. I will keeping a copy of all Herald’s as published on my site. Simply click on the Durham Herald link on the left.

If you want to look at our latest local Focus leaflets these can also be found on the left.


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