Thursday, June 12, 2008

100s gather to say goodbye to Alan

Hundreds of local residents gathered at Whickham’s St Mary’s Church on Wednesday 11th June for the funeral service of Councillor Alan Ord.

Alan had been admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in mid May for an operation.

Everything seemed to be fine after the operation and he was able to go home at the end of the month. But a couple of days later, with complications setting in, he had to be readmitted to hospital. He passed away on Monday 2nd June.

Alan’s wife, Councillor Marilynn Ord, their two sons Andrew and Arran, and their five grandchildren are devastated by the loss.

Alan was chairman of Marley Hill School Governors and of Marley Hill Community Centre. He was also a governor of Fellside Primary School.

He was first elected to Gateshead Council in 1988 and has since been re-elected by local residents five times, the most recent being last month.

Alan was also deputy leader of the Opposition on Gateshead Council and had previously led the Opposition on Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Authority.

The great number of letters, cards and emails of support sent in response to Alan’s death, and the huge number of people who attended his funeral, are testimony to his popularity and hard work as a councillor.

Councillor Jonathan Wallace said, "Alan was my colleague representing local people on Gateshead Council for 20 years. He was a great friend and I am deeply shocked and saddened that he is no longer with us.

"He was a hard working councillor who had dedicated the last twenty years to serving the people of Whickham, Sunniside, Marley Hill, Byermoor and Streetgate. He will be greatly missed."

Alan had undergone an emergency operation in October 2005 following a serious case of food poisoning. He bounced back to health and was back into his council duties three months later.

Tributes have been paid from across politics. Labour Leader of Gateshead Council Mick Henry said, "I know I speak for everyone on Gateshead Council when saying he will be greatly missed."

Councillor Noel Rippeth, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Gateshead Council, said, "Alan was a larger than life figure who loved making people smile and laugh. Yet at the same time he was a dedicated public servant and worked tirelessly for his constituents."

Whickham house plans rejected

A planning application to demolish a large Edwardian house on Grange Lane, Whickham, and replace it with one detached and four terraced houses has been rejected by Gateshead Council’s planning committee.

The decision to refuse was taken at the meeting held on 11th June. Liberal Democrat Councillor Jonathan Wallace called for the application to be rejected because of concerns about the impact on local roads, the loss of privacy for neighbouring properties and the loss of one of the few historic houses in the area.

Residents also attended the meeting and spoke against the application.

“The five new houses would have been build off Grange Nook, a small cul-de-sac,” said Councillor Wallace. “There were concerns this small street could not cope with a doubling in the number of houses on it.

“Furthermore, all the existing homes around the site are bungalows but the proposed houses were two-storey. There were fears that many residents would lose their privacy.”

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Liberal Democrats in Blaydon back Carers’ Week

A leading Liberal Democrat in Blaydon has given his backing to Carers’ Week to show support for the thousands of local residents who carer for dependent relatives and friends.

Carers Week is a partnership of 10 UK-wide charities (Carers UK, Counsel and Care; Crossroads Caring for Carers, Help the Hospices, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, MS Society, Neurological Alliance, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and WRVS) to promote the unpaid work done by the six million people in the UK who support and care for others.

Carers Week starts on 9th June and runs until 15th June.

“I decided to back Carers’ Week as I have seen how hard many people work to support relatives and friends with illnesses or conditions which make them dependent on others,” said Councillor Peter Maughan, Parliamentary Spokesman for Blaydon.

“One in ten people cares in some way for another person. That is a huge army of people who by their efforts help others to live as normal a life as possible at home, rather than being dependent on health services and other groups for support.

“Many carers work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and too often, the contribution they make is not recognised by society generally. By supporting Carers’ Week, I hope to highlight the work carers do and hopefully raise awareness amongst the general public of their importance.”

Friday, June 06, 2008

Call for North East to be world leader in offshore wind power

A LEADING Liberal Democrat campaigner in Gateshead has called on North East companies ot take a lead in developing offshore wind power.

Councillor Peter Maughan, who is Parliamentary spokesman for Blaydon constituency, made the call after the New and Renewable Energy Centre (NaREC) in Blyth said the region could create thousands of new jobs in the wind energy sector.

NaREC is a respected organisation which has a high level of expertise in renewable energy.

“The North East has the engineering history to be able to build the turbines,” said Peter. “But as a region we have to have the determination to be the best in green energy production.

“Putting turbines off shore in the North Sea would help us cut our carbon emissions. It’s a windy location and the North East is well placed to take advantage of it.

“If businesses seize the initiative now, we will be able to create many new jobs and be a powerhouse for much of the rest of the country.”

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Conference to be held in Gateshead

LIBERAL Democrats will be holding their North East Regional Conference in Gateshead on Saturday 14th June. Members will gather in Gateshead Civic Centre to debate issues and listen to speeches.

Councillor Noel Rippeth, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Gateshead Council, said he was delighted the conference was coming to the town.

“Gateshead is a popular venue for the Regional Conference so I am very pleased it is coming again to the borough.

“After the local election successes which saw big gains for the Liberal Democrats across the North East, the conference will also be a bit of a celebration.”

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Councillor Alan Ord

Many thanks to everyone who has sent messages of condolences to Councillor Marilynn Ord on the death of her husband, Cllr Alan Ord. Many messages have been sent via Cllr Jonathan Wallace in response to the email bulletin that was sent to residents of Whickham South and Sunniside ward on Tuesday 3rd June.

At this point, the date for the funeral has not yet been fixed. We will keep you informed.

Liberal Democrats in Blaydon welcome transport plans

TRAVEL and transport will improve in Blaydon constituency and on Tyneside if new Liberal Democrat transport policies are put into operation, claim local members of the party.

The policies were launched on 3rd June by Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg. The proposals include improving bus services by putting them under the control of local councils where bus companies have failed to provide improvements themselves; improving local rail services; introducing strong environmental criteria for new roads and building a high speed rail network to cut journey times for longer distance travel.

“There are radical policies which will help address some of the transport problems on Tyneside,” said Councillor Peter Maughan, who is Parliamentary Spokesman for Blaydon.

“I am very pleased about the proposals to build a dedicated high speed rail service. Current transport links between the North East and the South East and London are not good enough. It is vital for our regional economy that we have better links to the capital.

“By building a high speed rail link, we will cut journey times to London. With the current East Coast Line virtually fully used, we will need the additional high speed link if more people are to travel to and from the North East.

“If we don’t build the high speed link, the inevitable result is that more people will have to travel by car instead, leading to more congestion and pollution.

“Transport is now high on people’s lists of concerns. Despite lots of talk by Labour, public transport is expensive and plagued by problems of decades of failure to invest in it by both Labour and Conservative governments.

“With the cost of driving shooting up, bus and rail services on Tyneside desperately need a boost. Our proposals will help to create a modern local transport system fit for the decades to come, rather than for decades ago.

“The policy proposals will be debated at our conference in September and before then, members in Blaydon will be discussing them at our regular meetings. We are looking forward to a good debate.”

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Liberal Democrats in Gateshead back National Recycling Week

A UK-wide campaign to encourage people to recycle more of their household waste has been backed by Liberal Democrats in Gateshead.

National Recycling Week is being held on 2nd – 8th June. This is the fifth year it has been held. It is run by Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a national organisation set up to help people produce less waste and advise on how best to deal with rubbish in an environmentally friendly way.

Councillor Peter Maughan said, “In Gateshead each person is on average producing 406kg of waste a year that is not recycled or composted. Three quarters of this ends up in landfill.

“Unfortunately, figures released last week show Gateshead Council is bottom of the league for recycling and composting in the North East. Though recycling has been increasing in the borough, Gateshead Council still has a long way to go.

“Liberal Democrats in Gateshead are delighted to be able to back National Recycling Week. We are encouraging as many residents as possible to make small changes in their lifestyles which will make large strides to ensuring we do not wreck our environment.

“We waste a huge amount of food each year – on average we throw away 112kg of food each, most of which is still usable. People can avoid this waste by doing simple things such as producing a shopping list of what food is needed, rather than wandering around the supermarket buying what takes your fancy!

“Last year in the UK, it was estimated that we spent £8 billion on food that was still fit to be used when it was thrown away. Being green can save money!

“There is a limit to how much rubbish we can throw into holes in the ground. There comes a point when we have to say that we cannot go on getting rid of waste in this way.

“I am therefore delighted that National Recycling Week is underway. I hope it will be a great success and will help residents of Gateshead to cut waste and live greener lifestyles.”