Monday, October 26, 2009

Fellside Road improvements

Fellside Road works Oct 09

Changes to the Fellside Road/Front Street junction in Whickham and resurfacing of Fellside Road should make life easier for the travelling public, say your local Councillors.

Work is being carried out at Focus goes to print. Pressure censors are bing placed in the road to better detect traffic and improve flows of vehicles at the junction.
Though some disruption is unavoidable, the road will be closed only during off peak periods and on Sundays.

The work should be completed by early November.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Petition launched to keep Brown Ale brewing in Dunston

Brown Ale Fed Brewery Oct 09

LIBERAL Democrats in Blaydon constituency have launched a petition to Scottish and Newcastle in a bid to get the company to keep Brown Ale production on Tyneside.

Members agreed to launch the petition when they discussed the brewery’s plans at their meeting held in Ryton on Saturday 24th October.

“Newcastle Brown Ale is as much an emblem of Tyneside as the Eiffel Tower is of Paris,” said Neil Bradbury, Parliamentary Spokesman for Blaydon. “We cannot stand by and see the production of it moved from Dunston to Tadcaster.

“I feel that the move will damage the local economy, cost jobs and damage the public perception of Brown Ale. Had Scottish and Newcastle still been an independent company, I believe they would have had a much greater commitment to Tyneside.

“But the purchase of the company last year by Heineken and Carlsberg has, I believe turned S&N from a business with a commitment to our area into something that is just a subsidiary of a gigantic international consortium.

“We are therefore launching the petition so that local residents can press S&N to show their commitment to our area and keep brewing Brown Ale here.”

The petition is in the Liberal Democrats’ local newsletter, Focus, which is being delivered to thousands of houses in the Dunston area.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Vince Cable speaks at Gateshead Conference

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Vince Cable MP was the guest speaker the the party's North East regional conference held in Gateshead Civic Centre on Saturday 17th October.

You can see his full speech on this link.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Basketball victory for Front St

The Year Six Basketball Team from Front Street Community Primary School in Whickham, Gateshead has scooped the ‘National Champions’ title in the Hoops for Health basketball competition at the NIA in Birmingham.

Front Street’s eight strong team won both their local and area finals which involved hundreds of North East schools.

In the national final they won by 12 points to 8 against Hoole Primary School in Cheshire.

Hoops for Health is a healthy living initiative pioneered in the North East of England, which uses professional basketball stars as role models to communicate positive health messages to youngsters.

Head teacher at Front Street School, Paul Sergison, said: “This is one of the finest achievements in Front Street Primary’s 100 year sporting history. We are incredibly proud of the team, who put in a superb effort to win the title.”

Parking Progress in Whickham

Many residents of Whickham have signed petitions or completed our surveys from Lib Dem councillors about parking in the St Mary’s Green car park.

The surveys were used to compile a 49 page report which was sent to Nick Clennet, Head of Transport and Highways at Gateshead Council.

This was followed up with a meeting attended by Nick Clennet and Councillors Peter Craig and Chris Ord who were there to represent residents’ views. Discussions went very well; highways officers were impressed by the quality of the comments made by residents.

Councillors are hoping to receive a copy of the Cabinet Report very soon and will keep residents up to date with progress.

Primary School review proposes 3 school closures in Whickham area

Washingwell School Oct 09

The long awaited review of primary schools in the Whickham area is now underway. The review has come about because of a fall in the number of children living in the area. As a result, there are many more places in local schools in total across Whickham and surrounding villages than there are children to fill them.

Whilst some schools are full, others have places available which continue to cost money to maintain. The Council’s initial proposals to get rid of surplus places include:

1)considering closing Washingwell, Marley Hill and Sacred Heart (Byermoor) schools;

2)building a new Front Street School but changing it from a 2 to one form entry.

Gateshead Council has put these proposals out to consultation and no decision on actual closures and reorganisation will take place until next year.

“We do need to ensure that surplus places are reduced,” said Councillor Allison Chatto, “but I believe that Washingwell has a good case for being kept open.

“It has just had a very good review by government education inspectors and is in a safe location away from main roads.”

Washingwell governor, Councillor Peter Maughan, said, “Washingwell is one of the newest schools in the area and is providing a great education for local children.

“Though there is a need to reduce surplus places, I think the arguments for keeping Washingwell School going are overwhelming.”

Pictured above, Washingwell School Governor Cllr Peter Maughan and Lib Dem campaigner Neil Bradbury outside Washingwell School which is being considered by Gateshead Council for closure.

Whickham wall repaired

The wall next to the grassed area at the top of Coniston Avenue on the Lakes Estate, Whickham, has been repaired.

Local councillors asked Gateshead Council to carry out the repairs even though the ownership of the site was not clear.

Pictured above - the wall before the repairs

Move to set up Friends of Chase Park

Plans to set up a “Friends of Chase Park” group are taking shape. Interested members of the public met at Whickham Community Centre on Thursday 8th October to discuss setting up the group which it is hoped will help win more investment for the historic park.

Councillor Peter Maughan, who chaired the meeting, said, “Chase Park is a great community asset for Whickham but it needs greater investment.
“With public purse strings likely to tighten over the coming years, we believe a Friends group will help to get in investment from the National Lottery and other funding bodies.”

If you are interested in taking part in the Friends group, please contact Peter Craig on

Below: local Lib Dem campaigners hope a “Friends” group will lead to more investment in Chase Park, front Cllr John McClurey, Cllr Peter Craig, back, Cllr Peter Maughan, Neil Bradbury.

Chase Park Oct 09

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lib Dem Shadow Chancellor to visit Gateshead

VINCE Cable, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, is to visit Gateshead on Saturday 16th October. He will be speaking at the party’s regional conference which is being held at Gateshead Civic Centre.

Mr Cable, who is credited with predicting the recession, will be speaking at 2.30pm at the conference.

Neil Bradbury, Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Blaydon, is delighted Mr Cable is coming to Gateshead.

“Vince is one of the few people who predicted that the policies of the government earlier this decade would lead to serious problems in the money markets and the economy generally,” said Neil.

“He is seen by many as a leading figure in the calls to put right the economy and the financial system.

“He was also the first to call for the nationalisation of Northern Rock. Therefore, what he has to say is listened to with interest by the North East.

“I am very pleased that Vince will be speaking at our conference this weekend.”

Sunniside History Society Book and DVD Launch

The successful Sunniside History Society has launched a book and DVD about the historic Tanfield Railway and mining in the Whickham/Sunniside area. The book/DVD, which costs £9.99, was launched by the History Society at two different events recently and is already a best seller!

Sunniside History Soc book launch Sept 09

The authors, pictured above, left to right, are Colin Douglas, Nick Neave, Francis Newman and Noel Adamson.

For more information on the Sunniside History Society and how to purchase the book and dvd, visit

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Councillors hold street surgery

LIBERAL Democrat Councillors in Whickham, Gateshead, will be holding a street surgery on Oakfield Road, in the Grange Estate, at 10am on Saturday 10th October.

The decision to hold the surgery comes hot on the heals of a proposal to extend opening hours of a shop at 94 Oakfield Road.

If granted by Gateshead Council, the shop will be able to open 6am - 9pm Monday-Sunday and bank and public holidays. Opening hours are currently restricted to 8am - 6pm Monday to Saturday and 9am - 4pm Sunday and bank and public holidays.

Attending the surgery will be Councillors Peter Craig, Marilynn Ord and Jonathan Wallace and prospective MP for Blaydon, Neil Bradbury.

“The application is attracting a great deal of attention,” said Cllr Craig. “As representatives of the area we are concerned to ensure that the views of residents are heard when the decision is made.

“All local residents are welcome to meet us outside the shops on Oakfield Road from 10am-11am on Saturday 10th October.”

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Meeting to set up “Friends” of historic park

Residents of the Whickham area of Gateshead are being invited to help set up a “Friends” group for the village’s historic Chase Park.

The initiative comes from Whickham’s local Liberal Democrat Councillors who believe that a Friends of Chase Park group could help to win improvements and investment for the much loved facility.

The meeting to set up the group will be held at 7pm on Thursday 8th October at Whickham Community Centre.

Councillor Peter Craig said, “Chase Park is a well used facility but it needs some improvements. We believe that a community based group will be a strong voice for the investment that the park needs.”

Councillor Peter Maughan said, “We want to encourage as many residents of Whickham and the surrounding villages as possible to become members of the group. Anyone interested is taking part is welcome to come to the meeting.”

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Tanfield Railway Steam Gala Weekend September 2009

Tanfield Railway hosted a steam gala weekend on 12-13th September. Amongst the exhibits were Alfred and Judy, two unusually small steam engines built for use in Cornwall and in low tunnels.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Northern Liberal Democrats at Bournemouth Conference, Sept 09

Gateshead Councillor Jonathan Wallace interviews a number of Lib Dems at Bournemouth about what they have been saying and doing at Conference