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Labour pushes ahead with greenbelt grab
Labour's plans to build 550 executive houses on Whickham Highway have taken another step forward when Gateshead Council voted on Thursday 19th December to take the proposals to the next stage - a public enquiry.

Councillor Peter Maughan led the battle to have the plans rejected. Members of the Save Dunston Hill campaign group were in the public gallery to watch as Labour pressed on with their greenbelt plans.

Local Lib Dem campaigner Kevin McClurey said, "Though many residents will be disappointed about this decision, this is not the end of the story. Liberal Democrats will be arguing for the public enquiry to reject the greenbelt building plans."

Lighting Up Whickham raises £415 for decoration
A Christmas market in St Mary's Green, Whickham, on Saturday 14th December, raised £415 for the Village's Christmas decorations. Lighting Up Whickham, formed to raise money for improvements in the Village, organised the market which was visited by the Mayor of Gateshead Cllr Jack Graham.

"The market was a success and we will be looking to hold more in the future," said Cllr Peter Craig, who chairs the Lighting Up group.

"For us it was a bit of an experiment but just like the Community Festival we held in the summer, we were pleased with the number of people who came along.

"Lots of people were involved with running the market and the Rotary Club donated use of their marquee for free."

Peter is keen to hear from any residents with ideas for other events in Whickham that will bring people into the Village and help boost the area as a place to visit and shop. You can contact Peter by email.

Pictured above, Mayor Jack Graham speaks to Cllr Peter Craig at the tombola stall in the Whickham Christmas market. Below, members of the Rotary Club set up the marquee. Bottom, event organisers George Craig, Lorena Dayson, Cllr Peter Craig and Cllr Jonathan Wallace in suitable festival hats.
Christmas switch on in Marley Hill
Councillors Marilynn Ord and John McClurey put the lights on the tree outside Marley Hill Community Centre.
Another successful local event recently was the Christmas lights switch on at Marley Hill Community Centre on Sunday 8th December. The switch on ceremony was performed by Gateshead Mayor Cllr Jack Graham.

"Thank you to everyone who came to the event," said Cllr Marilynn Ord, chairman of the Community Association. "And thanks also to Whickham Wind who provided the musical entertainment.

"Our fundraising meant we were able to plant a permanent tree in the garden at the front of the Community Centre so we can now hold a lights switch-on every year from now on."
Cllr Jonathan Wallace, Mayor and Mayoress of Gateshead and Cllr Marilynn Ord at the switch on at Marley Hill on 8th December.
Further upgrade to A1 on the cards
The Coalition Government has already announced plans to upgrade the A1 between Lobley Hill and Dunston. There is now a possibility that the upgrade will be extended to include the building of a third lane on the south bound side of the road from the Metrocentre to Dunston. The aim is to address the heavy congestion on the road. A final decision will be taken in spring 2014.

The Government have also announced an upgrade of the A1 from Lobley Hill to Dunston and much of the design work for this has been carried out. The latest plans will be available for residents to view as follows:
  • Friday 10 January (noon to 8pm) - Dunston Activity Centre
  • Saturday 11 January (10am to 4pm) - Lobley Hill Primary School.
Swalwell Emmaus sale falls through
Residents may remember that earlier in the year, Gateshead Council’s Cabinet agreed the sale of the old salt heap site, next to the River Derwent and the Swalwell Roundabout, to the charity Emmaus, subject to certain conditions being met.
One of these conditions was that the site would be used for housing low risk individuals. Since the meeting of community representatives with the Council at Blaydon Youth Club in July, Council Officers have written to Emmaus with a definition of what is meant by “low risk” based on statements that Emmaus had made to those representatives.
However, Emmaus responded saying that they could not accept this definition and furthermore they believed that the Emmaus International Federation, of which Emmaus Gateshead are members, would not accept a low risk restriction.
So, the current position is that Gateshead Council cannot agree a definition of low risk with Emmaus. Council officers have therefore told us they cannot continue with the sale of the site to them.
In addition to this:
  • the grant Emmaus were hoping to use to develop the site is no longer available to them;
  • Gateshead Council are talking to Four Housing Group about spending this grant elsewhere in Gateshead;
  • Emmaus do not intend with a planning application or carry out further consultation;
  • Emmaus are considering alternatives including possibilities outside of the borough.
We have been told by senior council officers therefore that the Emmaus plans for the site are not going ahead.
Police are reporting a significant increase in burglaries throughout the area. Residents are being warned to be on their guard.

Some of these burglaries have taken place through the day. Advice is to ensure that you leave nothing in your garden that can be used as a tool to break open windows and doors. Make sure garden sheds containing tools are securely locked as well.

If someone calls at your house and you have suspicions about their true motives, call 101 and report it. And always ask people calling at your house for ID.
What's happening at the Team Valley?
You may have noticed that work has been taking place at the north end of the Team Valley on the roundabout on Lobley Hill Road.. Indeed, you may even have got caught in the roadworks that were there until earlier this week.

The work is the first stage of a plan to address congestion at the entrance to the Team Valley. The Coalition set up the "Pinch Point Fund" last year and Gateshead Council successfully bid for funding towards the £3.4 million cost of improving the access to the Team Valley where there is the biggest concentration of jobs in the borough.

The removal of the trees is the first step in preparing the site for the work that is needed. Further work will take place in 2014.
Byermoor speed limit
Cllr Marilynn Ord and Cllr John McClurey at the new 30mph sign at Byermoor.
The campaign by local Lib Dem Councillors to reduce the speed limit on the A692 past Byermoor has been a success. The limit has been reduced from 40mph to 30mph. The new signs are now in place.

Cllr John McClurey said, “Residents of the village were finding it difficult to drive out of Byermoor onto the main road when the limit was 40mph.

“Passing cars ending up in people’s front gardens was not an uncommon occurrence and there were also concerns about the dangers to children going to and from Sacred Heart School.

“We pressed for the speed limit to be reduced and I am now pleased that our campaign was a success.”
There will be temporary traffic lights on the Mountside/Knightside Gardens junction on 7th - 10th January whilst road maintenance was carried out.

There will be four way temporary traffic lights on the Lobley Hill Road / Victoria Road junction from 8th - 17th January whilst a broadband cabinet and associated works are installed.
Copyright © 2013 Councillor, All rights reserved.

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