This week has been a very busy week;
Last Saturday I donned my high viz jacket and had a walk around some of the new houses on the Whitworth Estates.
This last week the grass verges were adopted on the Yuill/Bellway estates; adding to the roads and footpaths that were adopted in July. This only leaves the large open spaces to be adopted and work is proceeding on that; the Charles Church properties have had the roads and footpaths brought up to standard and now have started the 12 months maintenance period prior to it being adopted.
I carried on onto the Burton Woods Estate to see what progress is being made there, and things are coming along very well on Phase 1.
Spent time on Monday having a drive round looking at roads and drains and reported the pot holes between Byers Green using the new CRM reporting system. This system makes it much easier for the public to report issues on line. doitonline.durham.gov.uk
Tuesday I attended the AAP committee for Employment and Jobs/town Centre Regeneration at Green Lane. A decision was made to allocate £30,000 to tidying up the area out the front of the Leisure Centre. It was confirmed that Regeneration of the Festival Walk was still on line with demolition still planned for the Spring. However the Retailer who is supposed to get the ball rolling has still not officially signed a contract.
I also spent some time preparing for Thursday’s planning meeting in regards to the application to build a house in Tod Hills; which is recommended for refusal by planning officers.
Wednesday started with a 10 am Meeting of the Full County Council that included on the agenda the Treasury Management Outturn for 2015/16, Motions and question from Members. Councilor Owen Temple asked why we, the council, were not prepared to fit a web cam to the council chamber for live broadcast of meetings, at a cost of £54,000 over five years. The answer was that it was too expensive; what price transparency. This will need to be revisited as I personally agree with him.
Early afternoon I attended a meeting with other Independents, and the acting Spennymoor Town Clerk to discuss what was to be done in regards to releasing what has become to be called “The Independent Report”. This is an investigations into the letter circulated in the town by Mr. Brian Purvis.
Late afternoon was the AGM of liven and it was my last meeting as a change in Board Structure meant the number of councilors on the board had to be reduced from four to two, and those two had to be labour councilors.
When the AGM was finished it was straight through to Redhills in Durham, for 7.00 p.m., at the invitation of the Counties Teachers Assistants; who were having a meeting to gather support for their dispute with Durham County Council
Although negations are still on-going it is under duress; the T.A.s have been told if they do not agree with what is on the table they will be dismissed at the start of January, and given new contracts. Many will lose up to 20% of their wage and have different working conditions.
I have never agreed with this approach, I have supported the Teaching Assistants in the Council Chamber, and was at Redhills to try and understand their approach going forward. The T.A.s or the DURHAM LIONS as they are now being called are not for turning; they are really becoming organized, and financed. Look out DCC.
Thursday morning was for finalizing my presentation for the South and West planning committee; due to take place at 2.00 P.M.at the Green Lane Council Chamber. A family, who had asked for my help, had applied for planning permission to build a house in Tod Hills (near Byers Green).Their application was being recommended for refusal, by planners, on the grounds “That the Development would result in the formation of an an Isolated Dwelling in an Unsustainable location”. I am pleased to say that my contribution helped the committee to decide against accepting the officers’ refusal and pass the application. Although I was extremely pleased with the result, and I believed it was the correct decision, if we had a Durham Local Plan in place (our application was turned down two years ago by a government Inspector) it would help everyone concerned; both planning officers and applicants by making things clearer.
Thursday evening was the meeting of the Spennymoor AAP at Kirk Merrington Community Centre. My Neighbourhood Budget Funding was approved by the AAP Board for a project involving 20 mph part time flashing signs outside The Oaks School and down past Middlestone Moor Primary/Nursery. There was also a consultation on the next round of budgets cuts to be used in the 2017/18 DCC budget setting process.
Friday morning was spent discussing problems with people who had contacted me and liaising with County Hall. The afternoon meant THE DENTIST and the removal of a root that was causing an abscess; that finished me for a couple of days.
Cllr. Kevin Thompson