Lib Dem County Councillors Mark Wilkes, Amanda Hopgood and Mamie Simmons are working to provide a new site for allotments between Framwellgate Moor and Aykley Heads.
Cllr Mark Wilkes says, “We have identified a site, started the work to secure funding and asked the County Council’s legal department to carry out the work needed so that the land can be leased to the local Parish Council.
We hope to have the site operational in the Spring of 2021, however we are very much dependent on the County Council doing its part quickly.
If anyone is interested in taking one of the allotments they can notify their local county councillors. A formal waiting list and decision on how allotments will be allocated will only be confirmed once the formal legal issues are dealt with.
Cllr Amanda Hopgood comments, “We have always had waiting lists in our area for allotments and have fewer plots than most other parts of County Durham. We hope that once we have this site up and running, the waiting time will fall considerably in our area.”
A few years ago the streetlights on Burnhill Way were ripped out at significant cost by Labour-run Durham Council. They said a safety report was carried out to prove it was ok to do so.
Cllr Michael Stead has analysed the report and found a catalogue of issues. He said: “Having read the report I have submitted a formal complaint and objection and asked for full reinstatement of the lighting along this road.”
• The report states that the path is 1.5m wide. It hasn’t been 1.5m wide for over a decade. • The report says visibility at crossing points is ‘not applicable’ even though there is a crossing point. • The report says no vegetation obscures sight-lines, but the paths are clearly overgrown.
In addition to all this, no consideration has been given to the number of people using the path, which is significant. This wasn’t even in the criteria.
Cllr Stead adds, “I’ll report back on the progress of my complaint and continue to campaign to get back the street-lighting. I’m told the Council will start work to edge back the whole path soon – we look forward to seeing it.”
Well before lockdown, residents raised concerns that markings on Haslewood Road in Woodham had disappeared.
This meant not being able to see the speed humps on the street. Michael put in a request for them to be repainted, and chased it up several times.
Councillor Stead says, “Then lockdown came along and I had to pause my requests as the council had more important things to deal with.”
“However when we came out of lockdown in the summer and other marking work going on I chased this up and am pleased to say the humps are now visible. “If there is a problem on your street please let me know and I will try to get the Town or County Council to fix it if they are responsible.”
Last year Council officers told Councillor Mark Wilkes that the huge tree at the end of Abbey Road had rotted inside and had to be cut down. After checking that was the case (just to be sure!) Mark asked for a big stump to be left so the tree could be carved.
This year Cllr Hopgood found a local tree carver, Ritchie Barnes who agreed to do the work for a special price.
Framwellgate Moor Parish Council agreed to pay the £100 cost. Using local budgets as part of a wider plan to renew flower tubs the Lib Dem councillors with their colleague Cllr Mamie Simmons also got the County Council to put a floral display around the tree.
Durham Lib Dem’s stunning by-election victory a few months ago is still having repercussions. Lib Dem Garry Huntington campaigned on the state of Shildon and Dene Valley, the appalling condition of many areas and the huge number of empty homes.
The County Council has been forced to act and much more is now being done, in part thanks to a Lib Dem budget motion last year which secured unanimous support for a doubling of empty homes staff.
Labour-run Durham County Council presides over some of the highest number of empty properties in the whole country with over 6000 homes sat empty.
The Lib Dems are piling on the pressure to get action on this issue and Garry’s massive victory is helping make the Council stand up and take notice.
Garry beat Labour in their own backyard with 1257 votes to Labour’s 682, a massive swing, proving that we can win anywhere in County Durham.
Across County Durham, Liberal Democrats are winning elections with some remarkable swings.
In the once Hard-Labour town of Shildon our candidate Garry Huntington swept to victory with almost 1257 votes compared to just 682 for the local Labour candidate in last years By-Election.
In February 2020, our County Council candidate for North Aycliffe and Middridge, Michael Stead won a stunning by-election victory in the Woodham ward with nearly 80% of the vote, leaving Independent and Labour miles behind. The Tories didn’t even have a candidate.
This was one of the last elections before lockdown.
Across the County we are determined to win more seats. Come and join us and help us change our county for the better.
Amanda Hopgood with former City Council leader Sue Pitts on the campaign trail on Saturday in a rather windy Kelloe. Most of the residents we spoke to in Kelloe said they were either voting Lib Dem or thinking about it!