Friday, November 03, 2017

Blaydon roadworks

Northern Gas Network, who are carrying out work in Blaydon, have encountered a major problem with the existing steel pipe running from the A695 roundabout to the bottom of Blaydon Bank. Their gas monitoring in the area indicates this is now an emergency situation, so they will begin work at 6pm on Saturday 4 November to install a new section of pipe from the bus station access road to the bottom of Blaydon Bank.

Due to the urgency of the work, their works will be continuous throughout the night.

They do not anticipate any road closures, but some traffic disruption is likely and some bus stops at Blaydon bus station – mostly affecting buses to and from Winlaton – will need to be re-located around the corner. Please check at the bus station for more information.

NGN expect to finish on the morning of Monday 6th November, with all works in the area completed by Friday (10 November).

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Work starts on Remaking Beamish after record visitor figures

Beamish Museum June 2017 (39)

Visitor numbers to Beamish Museum have again broken records this year. In August alone, 122,000 people visited the open air museum. Work has now started on the biggest development agreed so far at the award winning museum. Remaking Beamish will see the creation of a 1950s town with prefabricated homes relocated from Kibblesworth. The town will have a cinema, community centre, shops and cafe. A restored trolley bus will be carrying visitors to and from the town. In the Georgian area of the museum, a coaching inn will be built, along with a quilter's cottage and a windmill.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has paid £11 million towards the costs of the project with the remaining £7 million raised by the Museum. Work to create the new attractions will be carried out over the next three years.

Historian and Lib Dem Leader of the Opposition on Gateshead Council, Jonathan Wallace, welcomed the developments at Beamish. "The new attractions will help to bring more visitors to the region, boosting jobs and the local economy."

Questions raised over derelict Dunston Hill School

Dunston Hill School Peter Maughan Kevin McClurey Oct 17 (2)

Photo: Cllr Peter Maughan and Kevin McClurey outside the derelict Dunston Hill School

The Lib Dem Focus Team in Dunston is pressing Gateshead Council to take action to demolish the former Dunston Hill School which has been allowed to turn into a derelict eyesore.

“Over two years ago, plans were put forward for the site to be used as a cancer care facility with some house-building on the site,” said Lib Dem campaigner Kevin McClurey.

“Two years on and all that has happened on the site is that the once valuable building has turned into a derelict eyesore right in the heart of the community.

“Trees are now growing out of walls, windows are smashed and weeds are taking over paths. Residents are telling us that they are fed up with the eyesore on our doorsteps.

“While Labour are happy to build houses on our countryside, they are showing an alarming lack of interest in getting this site cleared up and developed.”

Cllr Peter Maughan said, “I have written to the Council’s chief executive to draw attention yet again to the need to sort out the school site.

“Residents have waited long enough for the original plans to be put into operation. With nothing having happened yet, despite the passage of so much time, I have urged that the building be demolished and marketed as a site suitable for affordable homes - not the super-expensive homes
Labour wants for our area.

“I am yet to receive a response to my request but I am continuing to press the case. It is totally unacceptable that people are being forced to live next door to this derelict mess. This site could be sold by the council to raise valuable funds and provide affordable homes for local people.”

Finalised Dunston Hill house building plans expected by December

Central Nursery Peter Maughan Kevin McClurey Oct 17 (2)

Photo: Lib Dem campaigners Cllr Peter Maughan and Kevin McClurey outside the Central Nursery where Labour plans to build 100s of executive homes.

Lib Dem campaigners, who have been leading the battle against Labour’s plans to build nearly 600 executive homes on local countryside, are warning that 2018 could see “our countryside buried under concrete” if the house-building proposals are not defeated.

Labour Coucillors battled to have the Central Nursery and fields to the south of Whickham Highway removed from the greenbelt so that the superexpensive housiing plans can go ahead.

Lib Dem Councillor Peter Maughan has contacted planning officers for an update on the plans submitted earlier this year by house-builder Persimmon.

“I have been told that the plans could come to the Council’s planning committee by December at the earliest but discussions on some of the details of the application are still being sorted,” said Peter.

“Liberal Democrats are continuing the battle to defeat the housing plans, said Lib Dem campaigner Kevin McClurey. "We circulated a petition earlier this year opposing the current planning application and we are continuing to collect signatures.

“Labour claims that they ‘are for the many, not the few’ are dead in the water in Gateshead. The executive homes they want on Dunston Hill will be well beyond what most residents can afford. Instead of affordable homes for the many, they are building expensive homes for the few.

“In Crawcrook, a similar plan by Labour has seen new houses built that will start at 10 times the average annual pay of residents. The Dunston Hill Houses are likely to be even more expensive.”

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Queen Elizabeth Hospital open Day

Queen Elizabeth Hospital Apr 17

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is holding an open day on Wednesday 1st November, from 3.30pm to 6pm. The event will take place at the Quenellies Restaurant at the Windy Nook entrance. If you are interested in a career with the hospital, would like a health check-up orwant to find out more about the services it provides, staff will be on hand throughout the afternoon to assist you. You can also learn about becoming a member and having a say in your local hospital.

To book a place call 0191 445 3712/3713 or email or

Gateshead and Newcastle Healthcare survey

NHS continuing healthcare (CHC) is an ongoing package of care outside of hospital that is arranged and funded by the NHS, where a person is found to have a ‘primary health need’. Care can be provided in a range of settings, including residential care or in someone's own home.

Healthwatch Gateshead and Healthwatch Newcastle are researching relevant issues with service users, carers and relatives, the voluntary and community sector, service providers and commissioners.

If you live in Newcastle or Gateshead and have been through the CHC pathway in the past 12 months, or are starting the process, we would like to hear about your experiences.

Take the survey at

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Recent plans for Gateshead

Pub to housing plans for Heworth

Planning permission is being sought for new housing at the Maiden Over pub on Low Heworth Lane in Heworth. The proposals, which have been handed in to Gateshead Council, will see, if approved, two detached houses on the former car park. The pub itself will be converted into two houses. The plans include the creation of garden space and parking for each house and cycle storage.

Community Farm’s plan

Gibside Community Farm are seeking planning permission for a portacabin for office/shelter near Fellside Road.

Powered up in Lamesley

Planning permission is being sought for a 49.99 MW Gas Fired Electricity Generating Facility at Long Acre Farm, Lamesley. Landscaping of the site forms part of the plan as well.

Ryton Tower improvement

Planning permission is being sought to install external fire escape stairs on north and east sides of Ryton Tower Residential Home, Whitewell Lane, Ryton.

Winlaton assisted living plan

Plans for new housing in Winlaton have been submitted to Gateshead Council. If approved, the garage site behind 33 - 43 Derwent View, Winlaton will be used for four assisted living flats and associated parking.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Urban garden proposed for Gateshead

Gateshead Quays Dec 16 (2)

Plans have been submitted to the Council for a temporary urban garden at Hillgate Quay. The development would be open in June 2018 at the site located between HMS Calliope and the Swing Bridge to coincide with the Great Exhibition for the North.

The aim is to bring visitors to the area and support the local economy. No costs of the garden will fall on the council. Instead, the costs will me covered by the private sector. Plans for the garden have been drawn up by Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medalist and TV garden designer Diarmuid Gavin . #

He aims to create a cultural oasis and would be the largest container garden in the world. There will be open areas of trees and mixed planting using 90 shipping containers split between two main areas, the Plaza Garden and the Main Urban Garden. There will be retail, catering and art attractions as well as start-up and local businesses.

There will also be space for the community and voluntary sector to ensure wider social value and engagement connecting local communities to the Quays.

About 100 people will work at the site, while volunteers and National Trust gardeners would be involved in maintaining the garden. Fruit and vegetables grown at the site would be used by the catering outlets. It is anticipated that the site could attract 200,000 visitors.

Planning permission will be needed but if approved, work could begin on site in January with completion in June 2018.

Lib Dem Leader on Gateshead Council, Jonathan Wallace, welcomed the plans but at a meeting of the Gateshead and Newcastle Partnership on 5th October, he questioned why the garden will only be temporary.

"Given the investment that will go into this garden, and the likelihood that it could continue to attract visitors to the area, therefore boosting the economy, we should be looking at a permanent feature there, not a temporary one," said Jonathan.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Whickham's Chase Park to reopen this weekend

Whickham windmill Mar 17

Major renovation work on Whickham's historic Chase Park has now been completed. To celebrate the £1 million refurbishment, Friends of Chase Park are holding a re-opening event on Saturday, 23rd September, from 11am to 3pm.

The Mayor of Gateshead, Cllr Pauline Dillon, will lead the re-opening ceremony. There will be lot of entertainment, activities and a fair.

Everyone is welcome to join in the celebrations.

Chase Park entrance renovation Jul 17

The renovation of the Park was the result of the Friends of Chase Park's campaign to restore it to its former glory. A partnership of the Friends and Gateshead Council saw a successful bid for £1 million made to the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund. The work was carried out during 2017 and includes:
•​Restoration of the listed windmill, entrance gates, paths and ornamental garden
•​Replanting of flower beds and trees
•​Remodelling and enhancement of the toddler play area
•​Resurfacing of the tennis courts and new table tennis installed 
•​New junior play area and skateboard park
•​Outdoor gym/trim trail 
•​Development of community garden 
•​New benches, signs and interpretations of heritage points of interest.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Labour Rebels Hand May a Blank Cheque - Wallace

Flying flag for Europe Gateshead Quays Mar 17 (42)

Liberal Democrats in Gateshead have accused the Labour Party of handing Theresa May a blank cheque over the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. A vote held on 12th September  on the EU withdrawal Bill saw 7 Labour MPs vote with the Conservatives, helping to boost May’s majority.

The Withdrawal Bill will pass all current EU laws and rules into British law and give Government ministers unprecedented powers to change them without requiring further legislation.

Lib Dem candidate for Blaydon, Jonathan Wallace, said, “Despite Labour flip-flopping over their stance on the EU and the Single Market, they at least had a definite position on this Bill, which was to oppose it. In the Commons, Theresa May blew away her majority at the snap General Election in June so even a small rebellion by the chaotic Labour Party saves the Conservatives.

“That’s exactly what’s happened here. Those Labour rebels, and those who abstained, in effect teamed up with the Tory Right and the DUP to hand ministers massive powers to by-pass Parliament.”

Tom Brake MP, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson, said, “This Bill will hand the Government unprecedented new powers. MPs, especially those who campaigned to leave the EU on the basis of ‘taking back control’ for our Parliament, should be ashamed.  They have abdicated their responsibility to scrutinise legislation and relinquished Parliamentary sovereignty to Theresa May’s unrepresentative cabal.

“This is a dark day for the mother of parliaments.  The Liberal Democrats will fight to amend the bill in Committee to stop this affront to democracy.

“Labour rebels have handed the Government sweeping anti-democratic powers.  A significant number walked hand in hand with the Tories and have given the Government extreme powers not seen since the Middle Ages.”