Welcome to the latest edition of eFocus. We've now got a date for the decision on the Marley Hill opencast, Whickham's May Fayre will be held in June, volunteers are sought to help plant up Church Green, Marley Hill Community Centre will be open this weekend, and Beamish Museum needs your help to win a top award. If you think others will find eFocus useful, please feel free to forward it to them.
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Date set for opencast decision
A date for a decision on the proposals for opencast mining near Marley Hill has been set for Wednesday 25th June.

Though a month later than initially expected, Gateshead Council will take a decision on that part of the application which falls within the area of Gateshead Council. The application also has to be considered by Durham as the area covered by it is partly within the County Council.

Cllr Jonathan Wallace, who led the campaign against plans for opencast mining near Whickham 9 years ago, has written to nearly 2000 people who signed the petition back in 2005, encouraging them to back the petition opposing the Marley Hill plans.

If approved, the heavy lorries will travel through Sunniside, Watergate Bank and Lobley Hill to reach the A1 (just as the work on improving the A1 is being carried out).

Kevin McClurey, who is helping to run the petition in Lobley Hill and Dunston Hill, said, "Many more people have signed in recent weeks but we need more people to back the petition.

"Labour have refused to back the campaign and are telling everyone they are sitting on the fence. They have even been making claims that the opencast proposals would be beneficial to the area.

"The more people who sign the petition, the more chance we have of showing their decision to sit on the fence is misguided."

You can sign the petition on-line on this link.
Whickham May Fayre - in June!
Whickham's May Fayre in Chase Park is happening in June this year! - Saturday 7th June to be precise. The event opens at midday and goes on until 4pm.

There will be entertainment, refreshments and a range of sports and arts events in which schools will be able to participate. There will also be a large number of local organisations with stalls.

As ever, this will be a great day out, so come along and support your community.
Please contact Cllr Peter Craig for further details.

Can you help us Plant Up Whickham?
Planting Up Whickham will shortly be doing some work on Church Green to remove any weeds and plant the summer flower displays. And the group is looking for more volunteers to help.

"You don't have to be an expert gardener," said Cllr Peter Craig, chair of Planting Up Whickham. "You just need to be someone who is keen that Whickham should continue to look great."

Weeding and planting sessions will be carried out on Monday 2nd June (6pm) and Wednesday 4th June (5pm).

If you would like to be involved, please email Peter.

Meanwhile, progress on restoring the butterfly beds opposite the Gibside Arms in Whickham Village is going well. The beds are currently being cut and are due for planting at the end of May.

"There's lots of talk in the Village about the butterfly beds and people are genuinely pleased that we are restoring them after Gateshead Council's decision three years ago to grass them over," said Peter. 'We're delighted that Toyota Hodgson have sponsored the beds this year."

"It shows what can be done when residents themselves take over the running of local community issues."
Marley Hill Community Cafe and Craft Market
The next Communty Cafe and craft market at Marley Hill Community Centre will be held on Sunday 25th March.
  • Cafe open for breakfast/lunch/cake/coffee 9am - 3pm
  • Sunday papers 9am - 3pm
  • local produce shop (eggs, jams, Blaydon Burn beef, Bill Quay pork) 9am - 3pm)
  • children’s play equipment 9am - 3pm
  • 2nd hand book sale 9am - 3pm
  • craft market 11am - 3pm
Swap you produce

If you have surplus garden or allotment produce, bring it along and swap it for our preserves and eggs. We are happy to take vegetables, fruit, freshly caught fish and game. Some of this will be used in the cafe.

And if you have lots of spare plants, swap them as well. Bring your bedding plants, trays of cabbage seedlings and so on.

Back Beamish for top award
Beamish Museum has been shortlisted as one of England’s 12 most inspirational National Lottery-funded projects. The 12 shortlisted projects are competing for the title of ‘National Treasure’ in an online public vote.
Voting is open now –please take a few moments to click on this the link and show your support.
The voting is open until Tuesday, 27th May, and there is a prize draw - with five iPad Airs up for grabs.

The political bit
Polling day is Thursday 22nd May. In Gateshead, people will receive 2 ballot papers, one for the local elections, one for the European Parliament elections. If you are a Co Durham resident (we know many people in Burnopfield for example receive eFocus) you are only electing your Euro MP. Your local elections take place in a different year.

Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm. If you have a postal vote, you can take your completed vote (including the verification paper) to any polling station in Gateshead (for Gateshead residents). Durham residents will need to take their completed papers to any polling station in Co Durham.

In the area covered by eFocus, the Lib Dems are defending Whickham South and Sunniside and Whickham North and Swalwell. Labour are defending Dunston Hill and Whickham East and Lobley Hill and Bensham.

In the European elections, there is one constituency for the North East which is currently represented by one Labour, one Lib Dem and one Conservative.

Counting of the votes for the local elections will take place on Friday 23rd. The European count will be on Sunday evening.

Whilst wishing all our opponents well, we do, of course, encourage everyone to vote Lib Dem! One factor above all others that makes the Lib Dems stand out from the other parties locally is that we keep in touch all year round, not just at election time. Our eFocus newsletter is an example of this.

Remember, polls close at 10pm.
Printed by MailChimp, 512 Means St, Suite 404, Atlanta, GA 30318 USA. Published and promoted by John McClurey and the Liberal Democrats on behalf of Kevin McClurey, Marilynn Ord and Peter Craig and the Liberal Democrats, all at 5 Burdon Park Sunniside NE16 5HA and by Frank Hindle on behalf of David Fawcett and David Lumsden and the Liberal Democrats, all at 17 Cedar Crescent, Low Fell, NE9 6ER
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