Sunday, July 29, 2007

Lotties Wood, Sunnside

This video was made to show the transformation of the fields next to Lotties Wood, between Streetgate and Sunniside. The Woodland Trust ploughed the field in December to kill the weeds. It has now become a meadow rich in wild flowers.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Opencast appeal withdrawn

LIBERAL Democrat councillors who fought plans for a huge opencast mine in western Gateshead have welcomed the decision of the applicant to withdraw their appeal.

Halls of Durham had applied for planning permission to opencast a site at Skons Park, next to the historic Gibside estate near Whickham, Burnopfield and Rowlands Gill.

But the planning application was refused by Gateshead Council after a huge campaign by residents, campaign groups and local councillors.

Halls had appealed to the government’s planning inspectors to overturn the decision and a public inquiry was due to take place in the autumn. But now the appeal has been withdrawn, the inquiry will no longer go ahead.

Councillor Jonathan Wallace, one of the leaders of the campaign against the opencast plans, said he was delighted the appeal had been withdrawn but warned that there may be a new application to opencast the site shortly.

“It is likely that Halls must have seen that their appeal would not survive the scrutiny of a public inquiry,” said Councillor Wallace.

“It is unfortunate that Halls have put local councils and the planning inspectorate to such trouble. After all that, they have now accepted that their planning application was inadequate and lacked necessary information.

“However, that was always obvious to those who campaigned against this application and to Gateshead Council’s Planning Department.

“This however is not the end of the story. It is likely that Halls will submit a new application later this year. Those who fought this application last time are, I am sure, ready to do battle again.”

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Campaign against Wylam Bridge closure

Plans by Northumberland County Council to close Wylam Bridge for up to five months are being opposed by Wylam’s Liberal Democrat Councillors Nick Appleby and Tom Appleby.

The closure will not only have an impact on the people of Wylam, local businesses, and emergency services but will also deeply effect the people of Throckley, Newburn (Newcastle), Crawcrook, Ryton, Clara Vale, Greenside (Gateshead), Ovingham, Horsley, Heddon, and Prudhoe (Northumberland). Crawcrook residents have already started their own campaign.

A protest meeting is to be held by residents on Friday 27th July at 10.30am at the Old Station Car park in Wylam.

Concerns have been expressed by Wylam’s district councillors about the refusal of the County Council to discuss the closure with them.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Labour hold Dunston and Teams by-election

The Dunston and Teams by-election, on Thursday 5th July, was held by Labour. The votes cast were:

Labour 793
Liberal Democrats (Michael Ruddy) 285
BNP 131
Conservatives 69

Majority 508

The seat was the top target for the BNP in the North East but their performance must be leaving them wondering why they bothered.

Meanwhile the Conservatives broke their own record for the lowest vote they have ever achieved in a ward in Gateshead.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Repairs to historic wall welcomed

Liberal Democrat Councillors in Whickham, Gateshead, have welcomed repairs to an historic wall that had been left crumbling for years.

Councillor Peter Maughan had raised concerns about the damage to the stone wall around the former Dunston Hill Hospital, on Whickham Highway.

He had pressed the company developing the Dunston Hill site for housing to repair the wall which is seen by thousands of local residents every day.

“The wall was a mess with crumbling stonework and in some cases complete stones had been removed and not replaced,” said Peter.

“But at long last, the developers have repaired the wall and it is now in a much improved condition.”

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Gateshead residents asked about “Get Carter” car park demolition

GATESHEAD residents are being asked whether or not they support the demolition of the landmark “Get Carter” car park.

An on-line poll has been set up on the party’s local news blog, Gateshead News. Residents are asked whether or not they support the Council’s recent go-ahead for demolition.

The car park was made famous as one of the venues for the 1972 film classic “Get Carter” starring Michael Cain. Gateshead Council took the decision in June to demolish the car park by November.

Councillor Jonathan Wallace, who supports the demolition of the car park and the redevelopment of Gateshead town centre, said, “We thought it would be useful to let people give their own views by voting on our on-line poll.”

Liberal Democrats petition on Watergate “scandal”

LIBERAL Democrats in Lobley Hill, Dunston Hill and Whickham in Gateshead have launched a petition calling for more dog waste bins to be installed in Watergate Park.

Residents have raised with the party’s councillors and campaigners their concerns about the lack of waste bins in the park which is popular with dog walkers.

Leading the petition is Susan Craig, Focus Team Leader for Lobley Hill.

“Residents have told us it’s a scandal that the only bin is at the car park,” said Susan. “The overwhelming majority of dog owners are responsible and take a bag to scoop up their pet’s poo.

“But apart from a bin in a place that for many is out of the way, there is nowhere to put the waste.

“We hope our petition will be supported by Gateshead Council.”

Liberal Democrats press MP on Post Office closures

LIBERAL Democrats in Gateshead have written to Labour MP for Tyne Bridge, David Clelland, asking him if he will fight Post Office closures in his constituency.

The Government has called for the closure of 2500 branches throughout the UK and lists of those to close are currently being drawn up. If the Government’s plans go through, it will mean the axing of one in five Post Offices.

Leader of the Dunston and Teams Liberal Democrat Focus Team, Michael Ruddy, has written to Mr Clelland to raise the concerns of local residents about Labour’s decision to close a fifth of all Post Offices.

In his letter, Mr Ruddy wrote, “As you will be aware, the proposals to close a further 2,500 post offices are of concern to many people. Also the limited period of consultation that takes place when a closure is proposed means that people have to respond very quickly when to fight closure of any particular post office when it is proposed.

“With this in mind, could you please advise me if you will be opposing any further post office closures if any are proposed within the Gateshead part of your constituency?”

After sending the letter, Mr Ruddy said, “Post Offices are vital to communities and it is very worrying that Labour are planning to close so many.

“Labour shut down 5 branches in their last round of closures three years ago. Now they are back again with the axe.

“Though it is Labour policy to close so many Post Offices, we are at least hoping that Mr Clelland will oppose his party’s plans and back local branches to keep them open.”