This is not Freedom from Masks Day in my opinion

Whilst I’m sure everyone is keen for things to get back to normal, at the moment while so many people are being pinged, and Covid rates are so high, stopping wearing masks in public places is not in my opinion a sensible thing to do. I would urge everyone to continue to wear masks until it is clear that Covid rates have fallen to acceptable levels.

Right now in our area, the figures show our Covid rate at 804/100k for Pity Me and Framwellgate Moor and 645/100k for Newton Hall. Whilst most people getting Covid at the moment are not getting really ill because they have had at least one jab, many people still are, and in addition, with so many people being Pinged this is having an impact on every business and an organisation across the whole county.

If too many people are isolating, being able to operate services becomes more difficult.

Keeping our masks on helps ensure all services can continue to operate, so for now I will continue to wear a mask in all places we were previously advised to.

Universal Credit cuts

At last weeks full council meeting I was able to confirm that the new Joint Administration is writing to the Government to implore them not to scrap the £20 a week universal credit uplift. The governments proposals will see over £50m removed from the County economy for the following year, this is. clearly unacceptable and will impact on over 52000 County Durham residents. This will also impact the council with increases in workload to address the many and varied problems which this will cause.

Inside the DLI

This week I finally got chance to see inside the DLI Museum, after several visits to the grounds area.

On first entering the building you think that it could be reopened relatively easily and doesn’t look too bad inside, but then you find out that the roof probably needs replacing, the boilers are completely shot and the drainage/sewer system also needs significant work.

Such a shame that Labour allowed the building to deteriorate. It was actually quite an emotional visit for me – seeing some of the displays still in place and thinking about just how strongly people felt about the closure and more importantly a reminder of just how much we owe to members of the Durham Light Infantry and those who came before and after.

The review of the future of the collection, building and grounds is being carried out over the summer with a report set to be brought to cabinet in September.

In the meantime, I would strongly recommend going down to see the site as it really is beautiful, even if its been allowed to be run down in places. We are currently working on and preparing to do some outdoor improvements like cutting back trees over paths and clearing rubbish.

There’s also a wonderful meadow on the other side of the main road in to the DLI, which is full of flowers – there’s an unofficial path through the trees to the train station, but watch for tree roots!

Vacancy for Crossing Patrol Officer

There is an ongoing vacancy for a crossing patrol officer (lollipop officer!) on Framwellgate Moor Front Street.

No one applied and it will shortly be readvertised. Please do get in touch if this is something you might be interested. You can view the current vacancies for all council jobs at:

Crossing agent jobs come under Traffic / Highways / Road safety.

New bungalows in Newton Hall from Believe Housing


Like so many developers right now Believe have been struggling to get materials for building work. This has delayed the work on the new bungalows. They still hope to be completed by Novemberbut advertising has been delayed.

Previous message

The new bungalows being built near St Godric’s School in Newton Hall will be advertised very soon. The site has 17 bungalows which we secured working with Believe Housing and the County Council. It is expected the first properties will become available by November.

We also secured a local lettings policy on these properties so only residents from Newton Hall, Framwellgate Moor, Pity Me and Brasside are eligible to apply for them.

If you are not registered with you will need to do so immediately or you will not be able to apply. If you have a disability it may be worth checking that you are in the correct banding and that DKO have your most up to date information.

Road and footpath works this year in our area

Across the area there will be patching work going on as usual throughout the year, however we have also been notified of the following work which is planned to imporve roads and footpaths in our area:

Alnwick Road (cul de sac), Newton Hall and Bishops Way in Pity Me will have a new surface put on top of the existing road.

Dryburn Park (main road) will see full carriageway work as will Carr House Drive.

Carlisle, Middleham Road and Bek Road are having some of their flagstone paths replaced. Work on Bek Road has already started.

Flagstone paths running from Priory Road across to Finchale Road which are in a really poor state will also be rebuilt with new bitmac surfaces.

We continue to push for more and better road and pavement repairs and replacement.

Work done is based on a variety of criteria, including the condition of the road or pavement, and the best resurfacing options based on the condition.

Let us know if there is a path or road you are concerned about. We regularly go round the area reporting issues.

We have noticed that Dryburn Hill, Dilston Road and Barrasford Roads are deteriorating quickly and work is needed on Featherstone Road too.

Brasside pedestrian safety improvements – your views

We are keen to hear the views of residents in Brasside and Newton Hall on the current trial footpath improvements under the railway bridge. The footpath was widened to make it safer to walk intoand out of Brasside and traffic lights have automatic sensors ensure drivers are not waiting too long. Email us to let us know if you support the trial scheme continuing or becoming a permanent feature.