Lib Dem councillors have been working hard to get improvement works commenced at the Carrs Nature Reserve, to give residents somewhere safe to go for a walk in the midst of Covid and beyond.
Councillor Mark Wilkes, who has led the project comments, “In just a few short months we have managed to raise £60,000 from numerous different sources including: All three of our neighbourhood budgets, the AAP budget, Parish Paths fund, Parish Council, Northumbrian Water, Local Transport Plan, money we recovered from a maintenance reserve which had disappeared in the County Council’s budgets and s106 money which Story Homes agreed to bring forward so we could start work early.”
Work will involve clearing out overgrown areas to re-create large ponds which have dried out, putting in viewing areas with disabled suitable seating, and most importantly perhaps in light of Covid, creating and resurfacing a kilometre of pathway around the outside of the site. We will also be getting some dropped kerbs installed near NWL HQ and amending the access gates so that they are disabled accessible.
The whole project is to take a few months to complete. Work has just started on the ponds and we are chasing all the time to make sure that timescales do not slip to get the path works done.
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.”
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.
Framwellgate Moor now has a wonderful newly resurfaced Multi-use games area which can be used for basketball, football and other sports. It now also has one of the few tennis courts across the area which can be used by the general public for free, or be hired at specific times for by coaches and clubs.
Lib Dem Parish Councillor Colin Hillary comments, “We got some very good quotes for fully resurfacing the courts and our Lib Dem county councillors used some of their local funding to pay for the work. “The Parish Council is going from strength to strength.”