Arnison Centre bus shelter

We have intervened over the replacement of the bus shelter at the Arnison Centre.

When it was taken out to carry out renovation works it was found to have rotted at the base of the posts.

We contacted the Council and a new, better shelter is being procured on behalf of the site owners and will be delivered in a month or so. I did ask if a temporary shelter could be provided but it looks like this is unlikely.

Confirmed: Ghyllfield, Flambard, Frankland and Brackenfield set for road resurfacing thanks to Lib Dem pressure

Our campaign to get roads in this part of Framwellgate Moor has been successful. The Council has confirmed that in the Spring/Summer this year all these roads will be resurfaced.

This is great news after our repeated requests for action including patching works.

We have asked for various areas to be checked to see if additional patching is required first and will be checking out if anything else should be done as well.

If the Labour-run council was investing properly in our roads we would have no doubt already seen these streets done, thankfully our continued pressure has ensured they stayed at the top of the list for action.

POST OFFICE UPDATE

Someone commented to me that the post office mobile service in Framwellgate Moor had stopped. I have checked and had it confirmed that it is still running.

The times are now 13.45-15.15 on Tuesdays and Thursdays outside the front of the Community Centre. There is parking at the rear of the community centre.

Please do use it. The Post Office and ourselves continue to try and find a permanent solution but so far no one has taken up the mantle.

LIB DEM SUCCESS AS SUPERFAST BROADBAND ARRIVES!

Houses in part of Pity Me which have been waiting a long time for better broadband are celebrating today after the BT cabinet we have fought so hard for finally went active!

Over the last two years as your Lib Dem councillors we have been battling to secure better broadband for residents on parts of Rosemount and Hag House.

We have had repeated meetings with BT Openreach and various County Council departments as well as conversations with Northern Powergrid. We even had to go the press over the issue.

We secured agreement for access to land at the Arnison Centre to install the electricity to the broadband box, negotiating, telephoning and repeatedly intervening with the owners of the Arnison Centre, their lawyers and site management.

We are convinced that without all of this intervention we would not have achieved this successful conclusion.

Residents can now contact their suppliers to upgrade/

Dryburn Hill footpath rebuild underway

The next part of Dryburn Hill footpath rebuild works has started. We have been working on getting the area done for many years and last year the first section was completed. This year after being told only part of what was left was being done we decided to provide some funding to get a bit more done.

After initially being given prices which were way over the top by the Labour-run council, we challenged the quotes and got the price halved, and now another stretch is to have the flagstones removed and get a full rebuild.

This leaves one more part which we will be pushing for action on in the coming year.

Teaching Assistants update – Labour caves in at last – Or so it appears

It would appear that the campaigning has paid off. A new deal may be on the cards for teaching assistants. Council officers will be visiting schools to determine what responsibilities TAs have in each school to find out if they are graded properly.

Something we suggested at the very beginning of this mess and which Labour flatly refused to do.

Well done to all those teaching assistants who have fought against labour’s dreadful attempts to cut their pay.

Of course this could just be Labour seeking to kill the story before the local elections, so as we have since the start Lib Dem councillors will continue to lead the political campaign until a fair deal is brought forward.

Labour in Teaching Assistants cover up – Refuse democratic debate once again

More shameful behaviour from Labour-run Durham County Council over the last week.

Not satisfied with their attempts to cut TAs pay by upto 23%, they have blocked a motion by my fellow Lib Dem councillor Owen Temple, which would have seen TAs reinstated until their new contracts are redetermined.

The council has used some ridiculous excuses in the past to stop democratic debate over this and other issues but this one really took the biscuit!

Firstly they wouldn’t allow the issue debated at full council next week because it was too political! Yes – a political meeting, where motions are put and debated can’t debate – the argument that its coming up to an election. Yet election restrictions don’t start until days after the full council meeting. A disgraceful attempt to stunt democracy by Labour. It’s getting like North Korea down there – except perhaps I’m not allowed to say that either……

The second reason put by the councils legal team on why they won’t allow the motion to be debated is that it might put Labour councillors at risk following the totally unacceptable death threat against them sent to Durham Police.

Hold on a minute – so someone sends a letter to the police and democracy is immediately shut down – No chance – we live in a democracy and we will not allow threats to stop proper democratic debate. And we will not go down without a fight. This is just an excuse so Labour councillors don’t have be forced to vote again in the appalling manner they have become used to – against teaching assistants, against the people of County Durham.

The final reason we can’t have a debate on this issue  – which we are still trying to get our heads round is that we can’t reinstate teaching assistants because we might make an unlawful decision.

Owen’s response to this is worth repeating here in quotes:

“If that is the case, how could we have been given a vote in the first place, because that carried exactly the same risk? And if the termination of contracts cannot be withdrawn, what exactly is the goal of the negotiations which council, unions and Teaching Assistants are currently engaged in? Is it any wonder that Teaching Assistants think their dispute has just been kicked into the long grass beyond the election, and that once the election is out of the way the Labour run council will just return to business as usual?”

Never a truer word spoken Owen – this is another attempt to shut this issue down, but I do not believe the public will accept it. Labour’s disrespect for these public sector workers begs the question:  What is the point of Labour? **

** There isn’t one!

Teaching assistants are set to march on the 25th through Durham to Redhills. Support them by joining them if you can. If you can’t make it, please help make sure you spread the word that regardless your political beliefs, in this May’s elections, a big message is sent by kicking Labour out of County Hall once and for all.