The row over post office closures rumbles on with many rural offices identified for closure in spite of loud local protests.
Councillor Redvers Crooks is campaigning with me to keep our post offices open. Our Labour MP Roberta Blackman-Woods voted against a motion in parliament condemning post office closures, so I guess we can assume she doesn’t mind if our post offices close.
Within the Framwellgate Moor Division we have two Post Offices, one on Framwellgate Moor Front Street and one on Newton Street in Witton Gilbert. Please use them as often as possible. Bearpark no longer has a Post Office after the one on Auton Stile closed which has made it very difficult for local residents who now have to travel to Ushaw Moor or further afield.
The next round of post office closures will not now be announced until after the Unitary Elections and so we have again distributed a leaflet to residents in Framwellgate Moor, Pity Me, Brasside and Witton Gilbert, with a petition. There has so far been a good response.
You can also sign the Lib Dem petition against the closure program on the Liberal Democrat website at http://www.libdems.org.uk/commerce/issues/. Thousands of people across Britain have already done this.
The Lib Dems are the only party to have campaigned nationally against the closures since they were announced. At a County Council meeting last week there was a recommendation to look at ways of using County Council facilities to plug the gap.
I hope whatever happens everyone will use their local post offices for as long as Labour allows us to keep them.
The elections in Durham this May for the Unitary Council will cost local taxpayers more than half a million pounds.
Three quarters of local residents voted against a vast unitary council in the referendum last year but Labour ignored us and the true cost of this decision is coming home to roost.
It is bad enough that Labour ignored the clear voice of the people but the huge cost we must now all pay adds insult to injury. There are even possible plans for another election in 2010 which would see taxpayers reaching deep into their pockets yet again.
My fellow campaigner Redvers Crooks said that “it’s no wonder Council Tax under the Labour County Council has shot up again this year. Labour are incapable of doing anything other than waste our money. This is the same group that spent £4 million of our money on spin in the last year alone.”
The Lib Dems have fought against this expensive and unnecessary new Council from the start because we believe in providing value for money
for local people. The Labour-run County Council has increased Council Tax by more than inflation – again.
The Lib Dem-run City Council raised it by LESS than inflation – again – despite a considerable reduction in the grant from the Labour Government.
We can only hope that the new Unitary council isn’t Labour-run, otherwise we’ll all be digging deep next year.
When I was elected last year many residents in Brasside commented to me that there was a lack of local improvements. With this in mind I have looked at improving the village. A new litter bin was installed at the bus shelter as you enter Brasside, and just recently after my request to the City Council a new bus shelter has been installed outside Frankland Prison and a litter bin has been requested. I was recently in Brasside with Redvers before the shelter was installed, discussing various issues.
Despite malicious rumours in recent Labour leaflets we can confirm that Fyndoune House Communal Hall in Witton Gilbert now has a long term future. Lib Dem controlled Durham City Council are completing work valued at approximately £20,000 which has made the building more accessible to disabled residents as well as fitting new windows. Witton Gilbert Lib Dem Councillor Rev Crooks explained to me that he was delighted to be able to bring the Hall up to standard, particularly for the elderly people who live near by. Similar work was carried out to Beurepaire Communal Hall, Bearpark last year. I’m disappointed that Labour seem to be up to their usual trick of lies and twisted facts. I’m happy to be concentrating with my fellow Lib Dems on getting the best facilities for local residents. I was recently at the site with Council leader Fraser Reynolds (photo above).
There have been numerous instances of graffiti in the area over the last few months, particularly on the footpath running from The Arnison Centre to Finchale Road in Pity Me/Rosemount. The improvement in the underpass has been commented on by residents, but we still need to make sure that the fences and walls along this path are dealt with. At my request the City council is cleaning up much of this graffiti and I have been working on a way to stop graffiti on the Bowling Centre as well. I will continue to make regular checks of the area and report any problems to the relevant officers.