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.”

Friday, August 11, 2017

Swalwell Fayre

Swalwell Community Group are holding a summer fayre in Swalwell Park on Saturday 12th August from 12pm - 4pm. There will be fairground rides, animals, stalls and much more. All welcome. Funds raised will help pay for the Swalwell Christmas tree.




Thursday, July 27, 2017

Insurance coughs up cost of repairing Blaydon footbridge



Last week at full council in Gateshead, Lib Dem Cllr, Jonathan Wallace, raised the issue of who paid for the repairs to the Blaydon Footbridge. Last August, a lorry driver drove into the bridge causing considerable damage. A section of the bridge had to be removed. The repairs and replacement of the missing section took place earlier this month. Cllr Wallace had previously raised concerns that the costs would fall on local council taxpayers.

"I'm pleased to report that the driver's insurance has paid for the repairs. Well done to the officers of the council who ensured the insurance of the responsible driver paid for the work," said Jonathan.

The start of the video above was shot in December 2016 when the central section was still missing with the 2nd half of the video being shot earlier this month when the missing section was installed.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Welcome for Gateshead Energy Plant



Lib Dem Leader of the Opposition in Gateshead, Jonathan Wallace, has welcomed the news that the Gateshead Energy Centre will be open for business shortly. Cllr Wallace's comments were made following a visit to the plant in central Gateshead recently.

The move by Gateshead Council to create an energy company and generate heat and electricity came about after Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government changed the law that prevented councils from setting up and running their own energy providers.

"The plant will generate electricity and hot water which will be pumped to other buildings in central Gateshead," said Jonathan. "Older power stations don't use the hot water from the electricity generating process. It is simply thrown away. In Gateshead it will be used to heat businesses, public buildings and people's homes.

"The profit will come back to Gateshead Council to support local services. We need to look now at how to set up similar plants elsewhere in Gateshead and to look at how renewable fuels can be used to generate power."

£1bn DUP deal could have paid for 10 extra teachers in Gateshead

Whickham School Mar 15 2


The government's £1bn deal with the DUP could have paid for at least one extra teacher for every secondary school across the UK, including 10 more teachers in Gateshead, research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

Official figures show there are 4,169 state-funded secondary schools in the UK and that the average cost of employing a teacher is £44,500. This means if the additional £1bn had been distributed evenly among the UK's schools, each would receive £240,000, enough to hire one additional teacher in each secondary school over the next five years.  

This would have meant an additional £2.4 million of spending on schools in Gateshead, enough to hire 10 teachers in each secondary school in the borough.

Liberal Democrat Leader of the Opposition on Gateshead Council, Jonathan Wallace, said, "The £1 billion Theresa May has spent on her deal with the DUP could have been spent employing 10 extra secondary school teachers in Gateshead.

"When it comes to the Tories clinging to power, it seems the magic money tree does exist after all. This simply won't wash with parents in Gateshead seeing their schools considering laying off teachers as a result of crippling cuts.

"The Conservatives must start investing more in our schools and not just on keeping Theresa May in Downing Street."

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Blaydon Bridge Section Replaced

Blaydon Bridge replacement Jul 17 (3)

The missing section of the Blaydon Footbridge was successfully replaced on Saturday 1st July. Work on the bridge caused the closure of the eastbound A695.

The damage to the bridge was caused in August 2016 when a lorry hit it. Gateshead Lib Dem Councillors have raised the issue of who pays for the repairs. An answer is awaited.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Road closure to install new Blaydon bridge


The eastbound carriageway of the Blaydon Highway and the adjacent Tyne Street will be closed to traffic on Saturday 1st July from 6am to allow contractors to install a new section to the footbridge over the A695.

The closure is required to allow the new prefabricated bridge span to be delivered on a low loader and also allow for the positioning of a crane to lift the new footbridge section into position.

A signed diversion route will be in place to divert traffic from the A695 Blaydon Roundabout via Shibdon Road onto the B6317 Chainbridge Road. The A695 Westbound highway will remain open to traffic.

The length of time required for installing the new bridge section will depend on weather conditions, but it is hoped that the work can be completed within the day.

Motorists are advised to seek alternative routes if possible and to allow a little more time for their journey.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Dementia tax victory welcomed in Gateshead

David and Jonathan Wallace Oct 16

Liberal Democrat campaigners are celebrating a victory for pensioners and families across the UK as the hated ‘Dementia Tax’ is removed from the Queen’s Speech

The Conservatives have been forced to u-turn on the dreaded ‘Dementia Tax’. With no mention of their horrific policy in the Queen’s Speech, they have been forced to kick their plans into the long grass.

This is a big victory for Liberal Democrats who campaigned hard to scrap the ‘Dementia Tax’ and to save the ‘Lib Dem pension Triple Lock'.

Lib Dem Leader of the Opposition on Gateshead Council, Dr Jonathan Wallace, said, “The Conservatives should be ashamed of their plans. We now demand assurances from the government that the ‘Dementia Tax’ is gone for good!

"As the Conservatives set out their plans for the country in the Queen's Speech, there was no mention of stopping real terms cuts to the NHS, the police or to our schools. In addition, the economy was barely mentioned either.

"What once was the crutch of the Conservative party is now broken - with more debt every day and a large Brexit bill to pay."

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Race night winnings boost Whickham Christmas fund

Lighting Up Whickham Race Night May 17 (3)

The funds for the Whickham Christmas tree and decorations have been boosted significantly following a race night held at the Whickham Glebe Sports Club on 13th May. Nearly 100 residents came to the event to help boost the funds needed to ensure the village has Christmas tree. Gateshead Council stopped providing funds for Christmas trees and decorations throughout Gateshead four years ago.

Cllr Sonya Hawkins, chairman of Lighting Up Whickham, said, "The Race Night was great fun and raised lots of money towards our goal of extending the decorations this coming winter to St Mary's Green. But there's still lots of fundraising to do to reach our target."

If you would like to help Lighting Up Whickham raise more funds, please contact Cllr Sonya Hawkins.

Whickham's Chase Park at risk from housing development



Cllr Jonathan Wallace interviews Cllr Peter Maughan about Gateshead Labour Council's proposals to sell off Whickham's Chase Park for housing. There are fears this could be the thin end of the wedge. The area for sale also includes the main entrance to the park off Rectory Lane. Cllr Maughan is leading the campaign against the sale.

“Thousands of Homes at risk from Tories Dementia Tax in Gateshead and South Tyneside” - Peter Maughan

Liberal Democrats in Gateshead and South Tyneside have warned that thousands of local homes are at risk from Tory plans to force older people with extensive care needs to pay for their own care.

Peter Maughan, candidate for Jarrow constituency, said, “The Tories’ are beginning to show their real colours. Theresa May is trying to take many elderly people for granted and if she can get away with it, she will force the sale of family homes to pay for the cost of social care.

“By failing to put a cap on the overall amount people are expected to pay, the Tories are putting an unreasonable and heavy burden on the families of those who are unfortunate enough to suffer from long term health problems that need long term care packages when living at home.

"My message to those thinking of voting for Theresa May is this: don't bet your house on it.

"Liberal Democrats will lead the fight against the grossly unfair Dementia Tax that could wipe out half the value of the average home.

"On Thursday, you can elect me as you Liberal Democrat MP to be your voice in Westminster and stand up for you on the Dementia Tax and the NHS."

Residents are being encouraged to sign the petition against the Dementia Tax at www.DementiaTax.org.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Call to keep European green laws

 Path Head Quarry Mar 15 3

Jonathan Wallace, Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Blaydon, is calling on the Government to retain EU environmental laws when the UK drops out of the European Union.

“Protecting the environment has been one of the great successes of the EU,” said Jonathan. “As a result of Europe’s green laws, our rivers and seas are cleaner. There are fewer pollutants in the air we breath. Green technologies have been encouraged. The amount of rubbish dumped in landfill has dropped and the amount of recycling has increased. We can thank the EU for this.

“I fear that many Conservatives are itching to dump EU green laws. For example, on 6th December at a meeting of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee, leading Conservative backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg said that, after the UK leaves the EU, our environmental and employment rules could be slashed to a level ‘good enough for India.’

“Throughout Blaydon constituency, we have lots of landfill sites. Liberal Democrat Councillors have taken the lead in pressing for stronger action to control these sites and to prevent the leakage of waste and rubbish from them. European green laws have been a vital tool in helping us to press for action.

“The Liberal Democrats are campaigning against cutting back rules that will make us all worse off after we leave the EU. I am pleased that Lib Dem Leader Tim Farron MP has stated that as a party we are pressing for green laws to remain in place to ensure we pass on a world worth having to future generations.”

Photo above: Jonathan Wallace outside the entrance to the Pathhead landfill site.

300 sign Lib Dem petition to stop executive houses plan

Watergate Park Jan 15 3

Liberal Democrats have collected 300 signatures on their petition opposing Labour’s plans to build up to 582 executive houses on Dunston Hill.

In a long running battle, Gateshead Labour Councillors  agreed to take large swathes of land out of the greenbelt so that executive houses could be built. Land at Ryton, Crawcrook, Streetgate and Dunston Hill, amongst other areas, have been stripped of their greenbelt protection and on some of the sites, the developers’ bulldozers have already moved in.

Now, developers are chomping at the bit to develop land to the south of Whickham Highway at Dunston Hill.

Lib Dem campaigners Kevin McClurey, Jonathan Wallace and Peter Maughan have led the campaign to defeat the plans.

They launched a petition recently when a planning application was submitted for up to 582 houses on the site.

“When Labour agreed the Local Plan for Gateshead, we fought to have brownfield sites used for housing instead of areas of the greenbelt,” said Kevin.

“Labour used their majority on the council to force through the plan which stated the Dunston Hill site should be used for 550 homes.

“The recent application goes beyond this number. We have argued all along that the roads can’t cope with existing traffic, never mind the extra that will be generated by 582 new executive houses. There are no plans for additional public services such as schools and family doctors. These plans will make the area burst at the seems.”

When the application comes before the Council’s planning committee in the near future, Cllr Peter Maughan will be putting the case for the house-building proposals to be rejected.

Photo above: Kevin McClurey, Jonathan Wallace and Peter Maughan: 300 people so far have signed their petition against Labour’s plans to build up to 582 executive houses at Dunston Hill.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Labour's magic money pots

Following the announcement that Labour would spend £300 million on the police service raised from cancelling a cut in Capital Gains Tax, Liberal Democrats in Jarrow constituency have pointed out that Labour have already promised to spend the money elsewhere.

Lib Dem Candidate, Peter Maughan, said, “Capital Gains Tax (CGT) was increased by Lib Dems in the Coalition as we believe it is right that the wealthier members of society should pay a fair share of overall taxes.

“The Conservatives’ decision to cut CGT shows just where their prorities lie. However, Labour have now promised to spend the money raised by not cutting this tax four times over.

“In March last year, they said they would use the money to bail out the British steel industry. In August last year they said they would spend it on art for primary school children. In March they offered the money to the health service. Now it is to be spent on the police.

“Labour seem to think they have a magic pot of money. Every time you empty it to spend the
money, it magically fills with cash again.

“No wonder, no one trusts Labour with the nation’s finances. People still remember the terrible mess the last Labour Government left behind when a quarter of the money spent by Labour ministers was borrowed.

“While no one seriously believes Labour are credible on the economy, thankfully, Labour will not have a chance to put their Magic Money financial policies into action. Everyone knows Labour cannot win the election.

“What we do need however is a strong opposition to the Conservative Government. Labour have failed in that role. If you want a strong opposition, vote Lib Dem on 8th June.”

Monday, May 29, 2017

“We Need a Strong Opposition to the Conservatives”- Wallace

Liberal Democrat candidate for Blaydon, Jonathan Wallace, has accused Labour of being incapable of forming an opposition to the Conservative Government, never mind a Government-in-waiting.

In a message to voters, Dr Wallace said, “Jeremy Corbyn and Labour have failed in their role as the Official Opposition to the Conservatives. They threw in the towel when it came to fighting a Hard Brexit. They have failed to stand up to the Conservative Government.

“Under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour have wasted their time fighting themselves rather than the Hard Brexit Conservatives. Four out of five Labour MPs opposed his Leadership and demanded his resignation last year.

“No one seriously believes that Labour will win the Election or Jeremy Corbyn will be Prime Minister. But Labour voters in Blaydon can vote for a real opposition to the Conservatives by voting for me to be their new MP.

“The more Lib Dem MPs elected, the stronger the opposition to the Conservative Government and Hard Brexit.”

Former Liberal Democrat cabinet minister Alistair Carmichael said, “Jeremy Corbyn is incapable of providing a strong opposition to this Hard Brexit Conservative Government.

“It is only the Liberal Democrats who stood up when it counted. Labour cowered in the corner. Liberal Democrats will provide a strong opposition to the Conservatives.

“The more Liberal Democrats are elected on the 8th June, the better the chance we have of defeating a hard Brexit.”

Concern at barriers to EU skilled workers

One in five small firms in the UK employ workers from the EU and 59% of these are worried about accessing people with the skills they need post-Brexit, according to research by the Federation of Small Businesses.

13% of small businesses with employees from the EU would consider moving their business abroad if there were additional barriers to recruiting EU workers.

Jonathan Wallace, Lib Dem candidate for Blaydon, said, "Small businesses are the backbone of the economy in the North East. Many of them rely on skilled workers from the EU.

“The report of the Federation of Small Businesses shows small firms are set to bear the brunt of Theresa May's divisive hard Brexit.

"The Conservatives’ reckless decision to leave the single market and not to guarantee the rights of EU workers has plunged small businesses into uncertainty, with many now even considering moving abroad.

"Meanwhile skilled EU workers who contribute to our economy, pay their taxes and help fund our public services are being made to feel unwelcome."

Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Susan Kramer said, "The Conservatives have lost any right to call themselves the party of business. This election is a chance to change the direction of our country and protect the economy from a disastrous hard Brexit."

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Sinking Sales Show Brexit Storm Clouds Ahead - Gateshead Lib Dems

Figures showing UK retail sales had their biggest quarterly fall in seven years in March have sparked a warning from Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Blaydon, Dr Jonathan Wallace, that consumer spending is being hit by the fall in the value of the pound.

A fifth of the value was wiped off Sterling following the Brexit vote last year and this is now driving up prices in the shops. Inflation is now running at 2.3% while wages are rising 2.2%. Incomes are therefore starting to be squeezed.

Dr Wallace said, "Our economy has been sustained by consumer spending, based on substantial and unsustainable amounts of consumer debt. That now appears to be coming to an end.

"Consumers are being hit with a Brexit squeeze to living standards caused by rising prices and the falling pound.

"What the country needs is substantial investment to raise productivity, but this is being inhibited by all the uncertainty around a hard Brexit. This election is a chance to the change the direction of our country, prevent a hard Brexit and keep Britain in the single market."

“No Coalition Deals” - Wallace

In a message to voters in Blaydon constituency, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate, Dr Jonathan Wallace, said, “The Liberal Democrats will not enter into any coalition deal with either Theresa May’s Conservatives or Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party.

“On Thursday 8th of June, every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to change the direction of our country and stop a hard Brexit.

“Under no conditions can we sign up to Theresa May's Hard Brexit agenda; a hard Brexit will be a disaster for Britain. It risks crashing our economy and leaving us isolated on the global stage.

“And Jeremy Corbyn would be a disaster for the country - he has no plan for the country and our economy and he offers no leadership – as Labour leader, every time it has mattered he has given Theresa May a blank cheque on Brexit.”

Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said, “In this election, we're going to offer the British people a real alternative and a vision of a Britain that is open, tolerant and united. Together, we are going to elect more Liberal Democrat MPs and change the direction of our country.”

Liberal Democrats commit to maintaining a nuclear deterrent

The Liberal Democrat commitment to maintaining a credible nuclear deterrent has been welcomed by Dr Jonathan Wallace, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Blaydon.

The Liberal Democrat plans would end the current system of continuous-at-sea deterrence by employing a number of new measures, such as gaps in patrols and irregular patrolling patterns.
Such an approach would maintain the ability to surge to more frequent armed patrols, or drop down to a low-readiness posture if the security situation allows.

Dr Wallace’s backing for the policy followed confusing remarks by Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn about Labour’s policy, which differs from his personal position of being opposed to Britain’s independent deterrent. Mr Corbyn has made clear that if he were Prime Minister, he would never press the nuclear button.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said, “Our nuclear deterrent keeps us at the top table in this Post-Brexit world.  All this means that Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to be Prime Minister – he is a rare combination of being both weak and dangerous.

“If you say that you would never press the button, as Jeremy Corbyn seems to have suggested, that makes a mockery of having a deterrent or indeed sound defences.”

Dr Wallace said, “Liberal Democrats are strong internationalists. We are committed to NATO, the European Union and the United Nations. We believe that our safety and security as a country is best achieved through co-operating with the UK’s allies.

“That is why we are committed to maintaining a credible nuclear deterrent, because there is nothing to gain from walking away from the table and turning our back on those who rely on our protection.

"Our long term goal will always be a nuclear-free world, and we must use the UK's position to lead international efforts towards multilateral disarmament.”

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Lowrey's Lane car park

The Council has now decided to rebuild the wall at the bottom of Lowrey's Lane car park. The  wall  was  in  a  state  of  disrepair  for  a number  of  months  before  the  Council removed the collapsed bricks.

Councillor Daniel Duggan said: “This wall was never needed in the first place. Instead of rebuilding it every time it gets knocked down the  Council  should  just  remove  it.  It's disappointing  that  the Council  is  wasting money  rebuilding  this  wall  when  other priorities, like cleaner streets, need attention'”

Kells Lane Park

There have been reports of anti-social behavior happening in Kells Lane park at night. This has included vandalism and residents being verbally abused.

Lib Dem Councillros in Low Fell have raised this with the police who have been visiting the park daily. The Council has also said that they will lock the park each night.

Councillor Susan Craig said, “Kells Lane park is for the community's enjoyment  and  it's  important  we  keep  it  that  way.  We  would encourage everyone to report any anti-social behaviour to the police and the Council's community safety team on 433 2168 or by emailing communitysafety@gateshead.gov.uk”.

Making progress with Low Fell’s ponds?

The ponding between the Gateshead Arms and  Carters  Lodge  is  finally  being addressed. The drains have been unable to cope  with  anything  more  than  showers, making walking difficult and in icy weather, dangerous.

After  normal  rainfall,  dangerous  and unsightly ponds have remained for days. While some problems elsewhere on Durham Road were dealt with last year, engineers identified this area as requiring major work.

Lib Dem campaigner Frank  Hindle said,  “Councillors  and residents have been calling for action on the site for more than two years. It is about time that residents were able to walk on dry land after it rains and we hope that this work resolves the problem.”

Work started in early April, and was due to finish later in April, but has been extended into  May. Lib Dem Low Fel Councillors Daniel  Duggan  said  “We appreciate that this work has meant delays for motorists and bus passengers, but it really has been necessary”

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Gateshead Lib Dems announce candidates for General Election

Frank Hindle Jonathan Wallace Peter Maughan Apr 17


Liberal Democrats in Gateshead have announced their candidates for the snap general election. And they bring with them a combined total of 78 years of representing local people.

Frank Hindle, a former computing lecturer, has been chosen for Gateshead constituency. He was first elected to Gateshead Council in 1991 when he won his seat in Low Fell.  During his time as a Councillor this former Conservative/Labour marginal has become a Lib Dem election stronghold.

Frank served as a spokesperson on Health and Care issues before being Leader of the Opposition in Gateshead from 2011 to 2015. Frank stood down as a Councillor last year and since then has focussed his time on a range of other political and community initiatives.

Peter Maughan, a solicitor, has been selected for Jarrow which includes 2 wards from Gateshead: Pelaw and Heworth (won by the Lib Dems from Labour last year) and Wardley and Leam Lane. Peter was first elected to Gateshead Council in 1994 for Whickham North when he took the seat from Labour.

Jonathan Wallace, who lives the “good life” in Sunniside where he keeps goats, bees and chickens and grows his own food, has been chosen to fight Blaydon for the Liberal Democrats. Jonathan was first elected to Gateshead Council for Whickham South and Sunniside in 1987 when he won the seat from the Conservatives. He became Leader of the Opposition in 2015.

“Labour have taken our area for granted for too long,” said Frank. “We are going to give Labour a run for their money in Gateshead. Everyone knows that only the Lib Dems can mount a serious challenge to Labour’s dominance here.”

“As Lib Dem Councillors in Gateshead, we have shown how we will do the job of being local MPs,” said Jonathan. “We will keep in touch with residents and be accessible. We will keep residents informed and engaged.

“Labour have taken our area for granted for too long and we intend putting them out to grass so our area can have a strong voice in Parliament to oppose the Conservative government.”

“Labour have failed as an opposition to the Conservatives, never mind as an alternative government,” said Peter. “They even threw in their lot with the Conservatives when it came to fighting for Britain to stay in the Single Market, so vital for our manufacturing jobs in the North East.”

Photo above: Frank Hindle, Jonathan Wallace and Peter Maughan attached.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Jonathan off to flying start in Gateshead

Birtley action day Apr 17 2

Liberal Democrats in Blaydon Constituency have chosen Jonathan Wallace as their candidate in the election on 8th June.

And Jonathan is already off to a flying start as he battles to take the seat Labout have taken for granted for decades.

“Everyone knows that only the Lib Dems can beat Labour here,” said Jonathan, who is a councillor in the constituency.

“As MP for Blaydon, I will keep in touch with residents. I will be an active MP who fights hard for the interests of the people living here. Please vote for me on Thursday 8th June.”

  • Jonathan was first elected to Gateshead Council in 1987 at the age of 23, taking one of the last Conservative seats in the borough.
  • He has been Leader of the Opposition for 2 years.
  • He lives the “good life” in Sunniside, growing his own food and keeping bees, chickens and goats.
  • He is also an internet broadcaster and his videos have been viewed on YouTube 4 million times.
Photo above: Jonathan campaigning in Birtley with local Lib Dem campaigner Paul Elliott.

AEI Cables site put up for sale

Paul Elliott Nov 16 3

The former AEI Cables site in Birtley has been put on the market in a bid to find new owners to develop the location on Durham Road.

Earlier this year, the closure of the plant meant an end to 175 years of cable manufacturing by the company which claimed to be the oldest cable maker in the world.

Now, Birtley Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government and Gateshead Council to work together to ensure the site is brought back into use as soon as possible.

“The Government’s Business Department and Gateshead Council must work closely together to ensure a new buyer is found and brought back into use as soon as possible,” said Lib Dem campaigner Paul Elliott.


“The Conservative Government’s decision to leave the Single Market is adding to economic uncertainty so whatever assistance possible must be provided to bring back manufacturing and jobs to the site.”

Photo above: Lib Dem campaigner Paul Elliott outside the AEI Cables site in Birtley.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Lib Dem candidate responds to news of Dave Anderson’s retirement

Birtley Hustings Meeting Apr 15 1

Dr Jonathan Wallace, Liberal Democrat candidate for Blaydon, has sent his good wishes to Dave Anderson on his announcement of his retirement as Labour MP for the constituency.


“Dave has given 12 years of his life to serving the people of Blaydon as MP,” said Jonathan. “Regardless of politics, I know he always tried his best for our area and I would like to thank him for his many years of hard work.”

Photo above: Dave Anderson MP and Jonathan Wallace share a hustings platform during the 2015 general election campaign in Blaydon. On the right, Alison Griffiths, the Conservative candidate.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Increased penalties for flytippers

fly tipping Kindreds Wood Apr 16 1


Flytippers beware! At long last, Gateshead Council is to take action to tackle the scourge of illegal dumping of waste in public places by using new powers to fine offenders.

Anyone caught flytipping now faces a fixed penalty fine of £400. Fines for dropping litter are doubling to £100.

“At last, strong action is being taken by Gateshead Council,” said Lib Dem campaigner in Birtley, Paul Elliott. “Hopefully this will help to put an end to the appalling actions of a small minority of people who think it’s fine to dump their rubbish on the rest of us.”


In 2015-16 there were 10702 incidents of flytipping in Gateshead leaving council tax payers with a £570,216 clean up bill.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Labour starts Whickham Chase Park sell-off

Whickham Chase Park Mar 17


Gateshead Council’s all-Labour Cabinet have agreed to declare the old stable block, depot, former social services office and Rectory Lane entrance to Chase Park as “surplus to requirements.” This is the first step towards selling them off for house-building.

The plans are being fought by local Lib Dems who are concerned that the sale is the thin end of the wedge that could lead to other parts of the park being sold for housing.

Cllr Peter Maughan opposed the plans when they were discussed by the Cabinet. He argued that the original agreement with the former Whickham Council that saw the former Chase House become a public park in 1936 prevented any sale of the site for housing.

“I took the original agreement signed by Whickham Council to the cabinet meeting but it was clear Labour were not prepared to listen,” said Peter.


“I warned Labour councillors that there will be a huge legal battle ahead if they insist on pressing ahead with this terrible plan. Some things are sacrosanct. Clearly to Labour, Chase Park isn’t.”

Photo above: Lib Dem campaigners Sonya Hawkins, Peter Craig, Marilynn Ord, Peter Maughan, John McClurey, Kevin McClurey and Chris Ord outside the stable block in Chase Park which Labour wants to sell off for housing.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Deputy Mayor to visit Community Garden in Sunniside



Gateshead's Deputy Mayor, Cllr Pauline Dillion, will be visiting the Whinnies Community Garden, Gateshead Road, Sunniside, at 11am on Sunday 16th April. The garden is designed to give people with disabilities the opportunity to do some gardening and enjoy the great outdoors. All residents are welcome to call in on 16th. The video above looks at what the garden offers.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Delivered during Whinnies volunteer day: 2 baby goats

goat kids Apr 17 (22)

The Whinnies Community Garden in Sunniside had a surprise delivery during Sunday's volunteer day. While volunteers were busy assembling garden furniture, weeding flower beds and cleaning greenhouses, Georgina, one of the resident goats on the site, gave birth to 2 babies. She had one boy (the white one) and one girl (the black one).

Local Councillor and volunteer helper at the garden, Jonathan Wallace, is the owner of the goats and is delighted with the new arrivals.

"Mother and babies are doing well," said Jonathan. "People will be able to see the babies if they come to the Whinnies Open Day in Easter Sunday, 16th April, 11am to 3pm. Everyone welcome."

For Sale: Old Gateshead Town Hall

Gateshead's old Town Hall is to be sold off in a bid to boost economic development in central Gateshead. Surrounding land and car parks will also be offered for sale.

The move has been supported by Gateshead Lib Dem Leader of the Opposition Councillor Jonathan Wallace who said:

"A building such as the old Gateshead Town Hall needs a new owner to develop it into a positive asset to the local economy. By 2020/21, the Council will receive no money from the government to support the costs of local services. We therefore need to help businesses to become established in Gateshead and to grow, not just for the jobs and wealth they create, but for the business rates they will pay to the council once they are denationalised.

“It’s important we use whatever assets we have got in a positive way to regenerate our area.”

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Winlaton and Ryton GP surgeries proposed for merger

Proposals to amalgamate Hollyhurst Medical Centre, Winlaton with Elvaston Road Surgery, Ryton from 1st July have been put forward. Hollyhurst Medical Centre has a current patient list size of 2458 and Elvaston Road Surgery is currently 2320. The proposed amalgamation will bring the above two GP practices formally under one management structure.

There will be no changes to the level of care patients currently receive. It is anticipated that by merging the two practices they will be able to offer more GP appointments and more specialist care by developing new services such as minor surgery and a year of care service for Elvaston patients.

There are no proposed changes to the structure of the buildings at both sites and opening and closing hours will remain the same, with patients being able to request which site they would like to attend.

Both practices will be holding drop-in meeting for patients about the merger on 10th May.

Volunteer work day at the Whinnies

There will be a volunteer work day at the Whinnies Community Garden ion Gateshead Road, Sunniside, on Sunday 2nd April, 10am to 4pm. If you can spare a couple of hours, please pop in to help created raised beds, weed flower beds and tend the garden. All welcome. If you are there over lunch time, why not bring a picnic as well?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Gateshead awards at North East Disability Sports

The North East Disability Sports Awards were held at Slaley Hall, near Hexham, on Thursday 23rd March 2017. Gateshead Council’s Adult Social Care Provider service achieved double success at the awards night.

‘Angling 4 All’ is an angling club for people with disabilities which began in 2014. The club now has over 40 members who train every week in angling at venues such as Baltic Riverside and Leazes Park, Newcastle. From such training, anglers build up their skills and confidence, to then compete in regional and national competitions. Everyone with a disability is catered for and the committee of the sporting club is entirely made up of people with disabilities. The judges were impressed with the club’s activities and awarded it with the title of ‘Outstanding Sports Club of the year’ award, beating 17 other finalists.

Richard Young, is a young Special Olympics Gateshead Tyne & Wear athlete who made exceptional progress in 2016 winning gold medals in regional and national Special Olympics Cycling and Athletics competitions. He was awarded the ‘Participant of the year’ award at the ceremony.

Permission sought

Derwentside, Swalwell Nov 16 (3)

Gateshead Council is to consider a planning application to convert Derwentside, in Swalwell, the former aged persons' unit into 22 apartments.

Planning permission is being sought for a scaffolding yard on land to the south of Kingsway Interchange, Eleventh Avenue, Team Valley Trading Estate.

Plans have been submitted to convert the former public house and manager's maisonette at Fellows House, Ryton Village, into a single residence, including installation of balcony and balustrade on south elevation.

Hazardous substances consent is being sought to store 18000 tonnes of flammable liquid and 1,500 tonnes of Flammable Aerosols on land at White Rose Way, Follingsby Park, Follingsby Lane, Felling.

Planning permission is being sought convert part of Chaplins, Spa Well Road, Winlaton Mill from restaurant  use to Childrens' Day Nursery and cafe.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Volunteer library meetings

Meetings for volunteers willing to take on the running of the new voluntary libraries at Felling, Whickham and Rowlands Gill will stake place as follows:

·         Felling Library – Wednesday 29th March - 10.30am – 12 noon.
·         Whickham Library – Wednesday 29th March – 5.30pm – 7.00pm
·         Rowlands Gill Library – Friday 31st March – 10.30am – 12 noon.

The meetings will then be held weekly. Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer is welcome to attend.

Whinnies Community Garden open day

Whinnies Community Garden Mar 17

The Whinnies Community Garden on Gateshead Road, Sunniside, will be holding an open day from 11am to 3pm on Easter Sunday, 16th April. All residents are welcome to pop in and have a look around. The garden is designed for use by people with disabilities. More details will be circulated shortly.

Plans approved

Gateshead Council have granted planning permission to Prince Bishop Homes for 13 new home at Beda Hill, Hookergate Lane, Rowlands Gill.

Gateshead has also granted planning permission for 60 homes to be built on land at Portobello Road, Birtley. The applicant was Gleeson Developments Ltd.

A single new dwelling has been given planning permission on land adjacent to 11 Butterfield Close, Ryton.

Permission has been granted to install a 15 metre high phone mast on land adjacent to the Red Kite pub, Spa Well Road, Winlaton Mill.

Tyneside Women's Health wins award

A Gateshead based charity which aims to improve women’s mental health, which has won a prestigious national award.

Tyneside Women’s Health beat more than 400 other organisations from across the UK to be one of the 10 winners of the 2017 Glaxo Smith Kline IMPACT Awards, a national award that recognises excellence in charities improving health and wellbeing in their communities. The charity will receive £30,000 in funding as well as expert support and development from The King’s Fund.

Tyneside Women’s Health was established in 1985 to provide mental health support to women in a women-only environment. It runs a range of services for local women, including counselling, support groups, and creative and therapeutic activities.

The organisation has worked with more than 550 women last year. It runs two centres in Gateshead and Newcastle, and recently opened a café in its Newcastle centre to give women affected by mental health issues a route into paid work.

Grove House "Outstanding"

Grove House Children’s Home in Gateshead was inspected by Ofsted on 29 November 2016 and has maintained its Outstanding judgement.

The Children’s Home provides short breaks for up to five children with physical disabilities and/or learning disabilities. It was found to be outstanding in all categories ie the overall experiences and progress of children and young people living in the home; how well children and young people are helped and protected; and impact and effectiveness of leaders and managers.

Ofsted noted the Home provides highly effective services that consistently exceed the standards of good and that the actions of the home contribute to significantly improved outcomes for children and young people who need help, protection and care.

Sunniside Community Orchard and Woodland extended

Kingsway Community Orchard planting session Mar 17 (82)

The community orchard on Kingsway, Sunniside, has been extended to cover most of the previously unused site. And with another 100 trees planted, the whole project cost only £200. The trees were provided by environmental charity for Groundwork for only £2 each. The planting was carried out on Tuesday 21st March by volunteers from the Princes Trust and by Councillors Marilynn Ord and Jonathan Wallace.

"We discovered that Groundwork had a large number of trees they were keen to sell so we took the opportunity to complete the woodland orchard project which was first started 5 years ago when 40 trees were planted," said Cllr Jonathan Wallace.

"The site is at the top of Kingsway, on the south side of the road. 50 years ago it was scheduled for house building but the homes were never built and the site wasn't given a new role.

"7 years ago a council consultation was carried out in Sunniside to ask people about where possible new play equipment should go. The overwhelming view of residents was that the top of Kingsway should not be used as a play area.

"We've now found a new use as a woodland and community orchard. In years to come it will look great in the spring and help boost the appearance of Sunniside."

Kingsway Community Orchard planting session Mar 17 (89)

Cllrs Marilynn Ord and Jonathan Wallace with the final tree to be planted in the Kingsway woodland.

Big boost for Front Street School

Front Street School Mar 16 (3)

Front Street School in Whickham has recently come out top of the class following an inspection by the official school standards body Ofsted. The school, previously rated “good” has moved into top gear with a new rating of “outstanding”.

“This is great news for the children, teachers and parents,” said Lib Dem Councillor John McClurey, who is also a governor of the school. “Not only has everyone taken the move to the new building in their stride, the school is now regarded as an education showcase.”

Monday, March 27, 2017

Gateshead Council tax rises 5%


Labour Leader of Gateshead Council, Martin Gannon, moves the budget for 2017/18

Council tax in Gateshead is rising by 5% following the decision of the Conservative Government to end all grants to local councils.

With nearly every Council in England facing a complete end to Government money for social care for the elderly, libraries, parks and other services run by local government, Conservative ministers in effect ordered each council to increase council tax by up to 5%.

The grants will come to an end in 2020 and all councils are going through a process of cutting back services, making efficiencies and handing some activites to volunteer groups.

But a double whammy is in store for Gateshead as there is rapidly rising demand for social care for the elderly - and the council is legally required to provide it.

By 2020/21, Gateshead will have to make around £92 million of savings while increasing spending on adult social care by £30 million.

“Many people are living much longer and need more support,” said Lib Dem Leader of the Opposition Councillor Jonathan Wallace. “That means Gateshead Council has to provide more services for our elderly residents.
,
“Yet at the same time as the Conservative Government is taking away from us the money to pay for these services.

“In 2010-15, when the Lib Dems were part of the Coalition Government, we funded councils to freeze council tax for 4 years.

“But the Labour party left the nation’s finances in a terrible state so cuts had to be made to help balance the books.”

“And they have decided to let wealthy areas bringing in large amounts of business rates to keep all this money. At the moment, some of the business rates are transferred to areas with greater needs, such as Gateshead. That is to end in 2020.

“Labour in Parliament are hopeless as an opposition. Under Jeremy Corbyn, they are letting the Conservatives walk all over them.

“It means the Conservatives are getting away with huge cuts to services in areas like Gateshead while letting the richest parts of the country keep the money that was previously being moved to areas such as the North East.

“While it is the Conservatives who are treating our area unfairly, it is Labour and Jeremy Corbyn who are letting them get away with it.”

Lib Dem Leader of the Opposition in Gateshead, Cllr Jonathan Wallace, responds to the budget.

Gateshead to host consumer service call centre

A national call centre for Consumer, Energy and Post is to be set up in Gateshead by the Citizens Advice Service with the service beginning in April. It will be located in Gateshead Civic Centre.

Temporary bus service changes

Due to the closure of Hills Street in Gateshead, bus services 27, 56, 57 and 58 will not serve Gateshead Interchange. Service 27 will serve Jackson Street and services 56,57 and 58 will serve High Street. Hills Street will remain closed for 5 weeks after 20th March.

Awards for Gateshead School Catering

The Council’s School Catering Service collected four awards from the Lead Association for Catering in Education at its annual North East & Scotland Awards which were held at Hardwick Hall in Sedgefield on 17 March 2017. The awards are open to all education catering organisations in both the private and public sector. They aim to acknowledge individuals and teams of people who continue to make a real difference in education catering.

Amanda Rowe (Unit Manager, Bill Quay Primary School) won the ‘Golden Rolling Pin Employee of the Year award’ which recognises an individual with a high level of commitment, enthusiasm and initiative who has made an outstanding contribution to the catering service in their school or catering establishment. Lorraine Parker (Unit Manager, Caedmon Primary School) was awarded ‘Highly Commended Silver Rolling Pin’ in this category.

Marek Blonski was awarded Highly Commended in the category of ‘Management Employee Outstanding Achievement award’ which represents the highest accolade that can be received by an individual within education catering as it is awarded to the person who has, above all others, demonstrated outstanding levels of service and commitment.


And Gateshead’s School Catering Management Team was awarded Highly Commended in the category of ‘Management Team of the Year award’ which aims to recognise a Catering Business Team which has made an outstanding contribution to catering for schools in the local area.

Friday, March 24, 2017

News video: EU supporters fly the flag in Gateshead Quays



Opponents of a hard Brexit and supporters of Britain's role in Europe gathered on the Gateshead Quays on Tuesday 14th March to demonstrate their backing for the EU.

News video: Improvement work at Whickham's Chase Park explained



Councillors Jonathan Wallace Peter Craig explains the renovation work taking place in Chase Park, paid for by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

News video: Commonwealth Day marked at Gateshead Civic Centre



Commonwealth Day was held on Monday 13th March. A flag-raising ceremony was held at Gateshead Civic Centre to mark the day.

Flags at half-mast in Gateshead

flags at half mast Gateshead Mar 17

Flags at Gateshead Civic Centre on Wednesday and Thursday were flying at half-mast as a mark of respect to the four victims of the terror attack in Westminster on 22nd March.

Bishop of Carlisle visits Whickham volunteer gardening group



The Right Reverend James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle, was a visitor to Whickham on Saturday 4th March to visit St Mary's Church and take a look at, and joined in the work of, Planting Up Whickham, a group of volunteers that took on the maintenance of various flower beds in the village after Gateshead Council withdrew the service due to cutbacks.

In this video, the Bishop is interviewed by Gateshead News editor Jonathan Wallace who also took along one of his goats (at the invite of Planting Up Whickham!)

Sales and a standstill: the mixed story so far of house-building in Ryton and Crawcrook

Ryton bypass Mar 17 (3)
Ryton by-pass

Labour’s plans for large housing developments in Ryton and Crawcrook appear to have got off to a mixed start.

Planning applications for the two sites between Ryton and the by-pass had been expected before Christmas. But failure to reach agreement on access roads have left the plans parked (for now) while discussions between the 2 developers and Council planning officers continue.

Crawcrook however saw work start last year on 169 houses at “Fairfields Manor” being built on former greenbelt land between Crawcrook and the by-pass. Planning permission was granted in April after Labour Councillors voted to remove the site from greenbelt.

Developer Story Homes are selling the houses at prices starting at £254,950, well beyond the reach of many young families living in the area but needing a bigger home.

“When Labour pushed through their plans for building on greenbelt in Ryton and Crawcrook, we warned that these houses would be too expensive for local families,” said Lib Dem Councillor Christine McHatton. “Not many local first time buyers can fork out quarter of a million pounds.”

The delay in seeking planning permission in Ryton means nearby road safety measures on the by-pass are on hold. Similar measures on the Crawcrook part of the by-pass will go ahead.

Crawcrook and Pelaw Libraries to remain open - for now

Crawcrook Library Mar 17 (4)
Crawcrook Library

A review of libraries in Gateshead has proposed that Pelaw and Crawcrook libraries should continue to be provided by the Council but Rowlands Gill, Whickham and Felling branches should be transferred to the voluntary sector.

However, the current status of Crawcrook and Pelaw, and indeed any of the libraries currently provided by Gateshead, is not guaranteed as the Council will carry out another review of libraries in the coming year which will look at making further savings of £250,000.

4 years ago, Ryton was at the forefront of moves by the community to take on the running of library services. The volunteer-run library has been a success and is strongly engaged with residents.

“The transfer of libraries from the council to voluntary groups has been driven by the need to save costs,” said Cllr Christine McHatton, Lib Dem Councillor for Ryton, Crookhill and Stella.

“The choice was between the complete loss of the library and the community coming together and investing time and resources to save the branch and making it a success.

“Ryton has shown what can be done. To be fair to Gateshead, the Council will consider positively proposals from community groups to help with or take on the running of community based facilities such as libraries, community centres and parks.”

Ryton Library Mar 17 (5)
Ryton Library