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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 and through meetings in all five of our unique villages. Tel 0191 386 4238, Mob: 07809 377 177

Latest Focus Election Leaflet

Here is a link to the latest focus election leaflet for the May 1st elections. focus180408.pdf

Canvassing: We have been out speaking to residents on the doorstep in Pity Me today and received a very warm reception.

Many traditional Labour voters are coming over to vote Lib Dem – some disillusioned with Labour locally and nationally, but many more have seen the hard work their local Lib Dems have been doing on the ground and feel we should be given the chance to make the necessary changes at County Hall.

Green Bags: A couple of residents have reported that they still don’t have a green recycling bag and I am interested in finding out if anyone else still hasn’t received one. Please call me on 0191 386 4238 if you are missing one.

There are still a few issues to iron out but the chaos of the first week after the failure to pick up the previous week by the previous contactor – and the overwhelming response to the new scheme – is calming down.

The Carrs: The work to improve The Carrs nature reserve is underway, with part of the site cordoned off. this is for safety reasons, and also as part of the work to move the newts across to the other ponds whilst the new ponds and reed beds are constructed. The upgrade to the Black trod/footpath to Pity Me, Front St is due to be completed prior to the first new properties on the Miller homes development being occupied.  This will make the path fully accessible to everyone throughout the year. As many of you know it is frequently impassable in the winter due to water logging.

I expect to be back out tomorrow morning talking to residents with Redvers. I’m not sure which one of us will wear out the first pair of shoes but it can’t be far off now.


Canvassing in Framwellgate Moor Division this evening with fellow local Lib Dem candidate Redvers Crooks.


The reception on the doorstep has been very positive , but tinged with anger at Labour’s national and local policies. The attack on the low paid and pensioners with the abolition of the 10p tax band has been illustrated by the disgust of many voters, both low paid and well paid. This is an unjust attack on those struggling the most in our villages. Labour’s tax increases are hitting everyone hard, but the lowest paid are starting to receive their pay slips and it is shameful what is happening to hard working low income families.

Over the past four years, on a local level, the Labour-run County Council has increased council tax by nearly double that which the Lib Dem-run City Council has increased council tax. In fact the Lib Dem rises for the City Council have been below inflation for every one of the last four years. At the same time we are on target to complete on time and in budget the new swimming pool and leisure complex – with free entry to the pool for all under-fives.

On the back of Lib Dem hard work and commitment, investment in our villages has never been greater. Across the district new facilities are being financed and both Redvers and I intend to make sure that more and more of this investment comes to the Framwellgate Moor Division.

All five villages have one thing in common. The County Council has failed on improving our roads and pavements, we are and will fight to get these improvements.

Postal votes will be posted on Friday. If we haven’t knocked on your door or you missed us, please call us. We don’t give out County Council phone numbers as contact details like Labour. You should be able to get hold of your councillors when you need them. All our contact details are here:

Redvers: Mobile 07822 702181 Landline: 0191 373 7232 Email:

Address: 6 College View, Bearpark, DH7 7DY

Mark: Mobile 07809 377 177 Landline 0191 3864238 Email:

Address: 6 Abbey Road, Pity Me, Durham, DH1 5DQ

Lib Dem Office number: 0191 383 9168 Lib Dem office address: 55a Old Elvet, Durham, DH1 3HN

If you want us to call round to talk in person call us and we will come to see you.


Some weeks ago I requested information relating to speeding figures on Front Street and Abbey Road, Pity Me from tests made last year which appeared not to have been released. To my surprise I was informed that these figures would have to be released to the County Councillor before/at same time as being released to me.

I find it hard to believe that figures for speeding taken July and September last year had still not been passed on to our County Councillor or it appears the police. Your County Councillor released some of these figures to the Parish council last week most probably because of my enquiries and I have attached his response below as a word attachment.

He states regarding speeding on Abbey Road that it “does not meet the police target for carrying out an enforcement campaign in the area”

On the same day as his press release to the Parish council I received a reply from the police to my extensive investigations which read:

“I am in receipt of speed and traffic flow survey data from Durham County Council, provided as part of our partnership working in theses matters, which indicates there is indeed a high level of vehicles exceeding the speed limit at a level where enforcement action by the Police would be considered.”

Rather odd that our County Councillor believes the complete opposite. I am also interested in Cllr Burlison’s claim to be constantly in touch with the police in this matter given that it appears he didn’t even have these figures before I requested them.

Your Labour County councillor also states in his release that average speed on Front St, Pity Me is 25.7 mph. His own figures on the same page state that it is 31.4 mph. He goes on to say that this “lower speed is probably due to the close proximity of the mini-roundabout that encourages motorists to slow down.”

The speed test was carried out outside Bishops Way near the Electricity substation – hundreds of metres from the mini-roundabout! I wonder if he knows the area at all. Furthermore if you see the FULL FIGURES which I also post a copy of, you will see that 56% of vehicles are speeding on Front Street in Pity Me and a massive 64% on Abbey Road.

The average figures which have been released by Cllr Burlison do not include an awful lot of information. For example they don’t tell you that 30,900 cars are speeding on Front St, Pity Me every week.

They don’t tell you that on Abbey Road over 3000 cars a week are travelling more than 40mph in the 30mph zone. There is a link below to the video which the government released illustrating the fact that at 40mph there is an 80% chance of a child being killed.

If Cllr Burlison thinks that the police don’t think this warrants action he is wrong. The police do take it seriously and in their email to me said with regards to Abbey Road:

“On the basis of the above speed information, a specific speed enforcement campaign will be initiated and Officers of our Road Policing Unit will target the area for speed enforcement attention at the intelligence led times when speeding vehicles are known to be of particular concern

UPDATE: Following my investigations the police will now also be taking action on Front St 

Your County Councillor clearly isn’t taking this issue seriously. In fact if it had not been for my investigations I expect it would never have been taken seriously. He should have been sorting this out months ago when these figures came out, not giving out incorrect information which is in direct conflict with police opinion and appears to dilute the problem.

His comment that engineering work on the pavement will help reduce the speed on the Framwellgate Moor stretch of Front St is ludicrous. The average speed there is 25mph.

The files:

speedingpityme.pdf Cllr Burlison’s statement and average figures. I have highlighted in red the items discussed above.

fullspeedingresults.pdf The full set of figures

Link to government video (Some people my find this upsetting):

On a positive note, the speed tests I asked for on Woodbine Road and The Avenue after requests from residents have come back with hardly any speeding at all.