Back in 2011 after Labour tried to close the leisure centre, the Council did a program of putting solar panels on our leisure centres but missed off Abbey. I’ve been complaining ever since, which is why at a council meeting today I was delighted to be able to support a program which will see Abbey become Carbon Neutral with solar panels and a huge heat pump.
This massive investment with European funding adds to the excellent news – that we got the Council to confirm this week – that the changing rooms and shower facilities will be ripped out and replaced.
I’m still working to make sure we get a new sauna/steam facility and pushing to get renovation work brought forward , but things are looking up for our leisure centre.
At yesterday’s cabinet I finally got the commitment I have been asking for for many years to the full renovation of the changing rooms and shower facilities at Abbey Leisure Centre.
For the past two years, I’ve pushed and had no positive response after the work was excluded from the plans for the Centre. Perseverance pays off!
However the commitment to keep a sauna/steam facility has not yet been given. This is a concern as for many people it is a facility which allows for conversational time with other users.
At a time when mental health issues are one of the biggest issues facing us as we come out of lockdown, it is essential that facilities like this are retained.
The work to renovate Abbey has again been kicked down the road though but the Labour-run council, with the final report not due until the end of the summer at the earliest. This is something I cannot accept and we will be pushing for the report to come forward much more quickly.
Residents have waited far too long for these improvements.
Over the last year I have been in discussion with the Council to try and get a serious solution to the problems in some parts of the area, particularly Newton Hall with poor broadband.
I have just finished a meeting with Netomnia and Youfibre representatives who are rolling out Fibre to the House broadband across our area in the coming months.
You can register your interest at youfibre.com
Their basic package is £22 for 50mb but they are offering 1000mb too – although that’s a bit pricier at £37.50 a month right now on a discount. They hope within two weeks to have updated their website for applications, but are taking time so as to manage expectations on expected date properties are connected.
I have asked that certain parts of Newton Hall – such as the Edlingham Road area are prioritised where people are only getting 3mb at present.
If you live in another part of the area, and have dreadful broadband please get in touch and let us know the speed you currently get.
The company will be providing a map soon which will show the areas they are rolling out to and I will share it on here.
Delighted to be able to report that the huge scheme at the nature reserve is getting closer to completion. The path from Abbey Road (Northumbrian Water HQ) which accesses the site has now been completely resurfaced and is wider and mud free too!
We regularly had to chase up cutting back of nettles along this path which at times came close to being difficult to pass without getting stung. Plus its easier to distance and get past each other.
Just waiting for the dropped kerb now at the start to make it easier for Prams, Wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
We submitted three main budget amendments to the Council’s budget yesterday but Labour rejected them.
£10m capital investment for school repairs: The Council currently has NOTHING in the repair budget using local funding and only £5.4m from government to repairs schools despite having a £118m backlog of repairs.
As far as the Lib Dems are concerned, if the Government is failing to provide enough funding, that does not mean the Council should put nothing in. After all, our schools are our responsibility.
£1m towards nature reserves and public rights of way: Might sound like a lot but it isn’t really. We have 55 nature reserve and 3500km of public rights of way and the council is failing to invest in them.
Rahter than leaving tens of millions of pounds in reserves, we wanted to see money spent on these areas, as so many people are getting out and about doing exercise. Labour refused, choosing to leave all the money in reserves.
£10,000 for each councillor to spend improving our area: Right now money is being put into Area Partnerships to carry out regeneration work. There is no guarantee that any area will get this money. We felt it fairer to take a small percentage of this money and let councillors decide consulting with local residents. Labour refused
We also supported an opposition motion calling for free parking in our town centres and City Centre to help boost the high street – paid for from money provided by government to tackle Covid impact. Labour refused this too.
We will of course continue to fight for and work hard to get as much investment in our area as possible.