In this edition Whickham School to be rebuilt, opencast not to go ahead at Marley Hill, cuts to Dunston Leisure centre scaled back and much more. Please feel free to forward on to anyone else who may find the information useful.
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Rebuild for Whickham School
Thumbs up for rebuilding Whickham School. Cllr Chris Ord, Cllr Jonathan Wallace and Kevin McClurey have welcomed the announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg that Whickham School is to be rebuilt.
Whickham School is to be rebuilt as part of a programme by the Government to replace decaying school buildings.
The announcement was made by Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem Leader, Nick Clegg MP. Across England, 277 schools are to be rebuilt or to have major refurbishment under the Priority School Building Programme. This is the 2nd wave of schools to be lined up for rebuilding work.
Although there was disappointment that Whickham School was not included in the first wave, announced in 2012, pupils, parents and staff are pleased that Whickham has beaten off intense competition for the limited resources available to go into the 2nd wave.
“This is great news,” said former Whickham School pupil and Lib Dem campaigner Kevin McClurey. “The school has a great educational record but the state of the buildings has been a cause of concern for over a decade.”
Whickham and Swalwell Lib Dem Councillor Chris Ord said, “Some of the buildings are over 50 years old and are showing their age. The school began with 400 pupils and has grown steadily over the last few decades.
“The result is that across the site as a whole, there are many smaller buildings which are difficult and expensive to maintain. Rebuilding the school will solve many of these problems.”
Cllr Jonathan Wallace, Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Blaydon (which includes Whickham) was a pupil at Whickham from 1975 to 1982. “I remember classroom blocks being were built in the late 70s,” said Jonathan.
“Lots of buildings have mushroomed over the years. Now, we need a major rebuild to ensure we have a have a school building fit for the 21st century.”
"Officials from the Department for Education will visit the school in April to assess how extensive a rebuild is required," explained Cllr Peter Maughan, a governor of the school. "Plans will then be submitted for the new buildings which will then need to go through the planning system. Residents will be able to express their views during these stages."
Marley Hill saved from opencast
Cllr Jonathan Wallace, Kevin McClurey, Cllr Marilynn Ord and Dave Fawcett at Gateshead Civic Centre in June 2014 to hand in the petition opposing plans to opencast a site near Marley Hill.
Lib Dem Councillor Jonathan Wallace, who led the battle against opencast mining near Marley Hill, has welcomed news that plans to extract one million tonnes of coal from a site to the south of the village have been abandoned.
Though an appeal had been expected, time has now run out. The application had initially been agreed by Labour Councillors in Gateshead but was then rejected by Durham County Council under whose area part of the site lies.
Jonathan was beginning to draw up plans to tackle the appeal at an inquiry when news came through that Harworth Estates, the successor to UK Coal, had run out of time to appeal.
“Residents will be breathing a sigh of relief that this plan will no longer be going ahead,” said Jonathan, who represents Marley Hill on Gateshead Council.
“There was considerable anger among people living in Marley Hill and along the proposed route the coal lorries would have taken through Sunniside, Streetgate and Lobley Hill when Labour in Gateshead approved the plan.
“Thankfully, Durham County Council took a different decision to Gateshead and without agreement by both councils, the plan was rejected. An appeal had been expected however but Harworth Estates had only 6 months to submit one. The 6 months is now up.”
Jonathan also led the successful campaigns against opencast plans at Birklands, near the Stanley Road, in 2012-14 and at Skons Park, on Fellside Road, in 2005-7.
Labour backs down on Dunston Leisure Centre cuts
Kevin McClurey and Cllr Peter Maughan outside Dunston Leisure Centre. They have welcomed Labour's decision to back down over disproportionate cuts to opening times.
Plans by Labour to balance the Council’s books by slashing opening hours at Dunston Leisure Centre have been significantly scaled back.
Labour had considered ending morning opening altogether and closing 2 hours earlier in the evening on weekdays. This would have meant opening times of 1pm to 8pm instead of the current 7am to 10pm. On weekends, Labour were looking at closing the centre at 2.30pm instead of 4pm.
The revised proposals are now:
  • The main pool on weekdays will open 8am to 8pm (instead of 7am-10pm).
  • The main pool on Saturdays will open 8am to 2pm (instead of 8am-4pm).
  • The main pool on Sundays will open 8am to 12pm (instead of 8am-4pm).
  • The small pool on weekdays will open 10am to 8pm (instead of 7am-10pm).
  • The small pool on Saturdays will open 8am to 2pm (instead of 8am-4pm).
  • The small pool on Sundays will open 8am to 12pm (instead of 8am-4pm).
  • Gym hours will remain unchanged (7am to 10pm weekdays and 8am to 4pm on weekends).
 â€œThis is a significant climb down by Labour,” said Lib Dem campaigner Kevin McClurey. “Whilst no one wants to see hours cut, the reality is that savings have to be made, but they need to be proportionate.
“Labour’s wrecking ball approach to Dunston Leisure Centre has been dropped following opposition from users and from the local Lib Dem Focus Team.”
Much of the savings are made by cutting the early hours the small pool is open. This pool tends to be rarely used before 10am but even though no one may be in the pool, staff cover is still required when it is officially open to the public.
Answers demanded over crossing go ahead
Cllr Chris Ord at the site of the proposed crossing in Whickham. 
Liberal Democrat Councillors have written to Gateshead Council’s chief executive to ask why work has started on putting in a road crossing in Whickham before the Council’s own consultation on the installation is finished.
The Council have applied for money from the government to invest in safe routes to school. As part of the consultation, which is required before any proposals can be put into action, a 20 mph zone has been suggested for the whole of Whickham.
Cllr Chris Ord said, “The Council is currently consulting residents on the plans of which the crossing, outside the Gibside Arms, is an element. Lib Dem councillors are also currently asking people for their views – we have already delivered 6000 survey forms.
“So we were rather surprised to see that, despite the consultation still happening, and without the traffic order normally required to install a crossing, work on it has already started.
“This rather makes a mockery of the Council’s consultation.”
We’ll keep you informed of the chief executive’s reply.
On-line consultation on Chase Park funding bid
Chase Park is in line for £1 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Give your views about what's needed in the park.
Over the last two years the Friends of Chase Park Community Group, with the help of Gateshead Council, have been developing proposals for improving Chase Park. Consultation with community groups and young people from the area has resulted in a set of plans and projects. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) would like to receive a bid at the end of February/beginning of March which would potentially see the ideas become a reality over the next three years.
The bid is potentially worth up to £1million and needs to be submitted at the beginning of March. However HLF have requested that local schools and community groups are consulted regarding the details to the plan. If the bid is successful it would result in new features including:
  • WiFi capability in areas of the park
  • New picnic benches and street furniture
  • Gardens, community planting areas and a community orchard
  • Interpretation Boards
  • New trim trail and green gym equipment
  • A refurbished park space for children
  • A new sports area space and exercise equipment for all to use
  • Art installations
With time scales extremely tight Gateshead Council have created online questionnaires for community groups, primary and secondary school aged children to complete. The questionnaires can be accessed through the following links:
Children (5-11)
Young people (11-18)

Community Groups
Please forward on the links to those who may be interested in taking part in the surveys.
All of these projects would be available for community groups to use and to participate in their creation. The project would also include a development worker for the park who would link with education establishments and community groups.
The deadline for completed surveys is Friday 27th February.
Call to check polling stations after Council letter mistake
Your local Lib Dem Focus Team are urging residents to double check where their polling station is after letters went out from Gateshead Council which told people that they will be voting in the local and general elections in May at the wrong polling station.
Letters to residents were delivered to voters advising them that the elections for local councillors and MPs will be held on 7th May. But some of the letters directed people to vote at the wrong polling station.
The problem first came to the attention of local Lib Dem Councillors after residents contacted them to raise concerns. Kevin McClurey, Lib Dem campaigner in Dunston Hill and Whickham East ward, contacted the Electoral Registrations Office in Gateshead Civic Centre to draw attention to the problem.
“I have been informed that delivery of the letters with the incorrect information about polling stations was stopped,” said Kevin. “New letters were then circulated but I would urge everyone who is unsure about where to vote to call Electoral Registrations on 0191 4332166.”
Bus diversion
Significant roadworks began on The Broadway, Whickham on 18th February and are expected to last for two weeks. During that time, the bus service 98/98A will be diverted along Oakfield Road instead. Go North East had initially planned only to use the bus stops at the western and eastern extremities of Oakfield Road. Cllr Chris Ord has intervened with the result that the 98/98A will stop at all bus stops on Oakfield Road.

The 43 service will also be diverted whilst the roadworks take place. It will stop at the bus stops on Broadway just west of Burnthouse Lane and at the eastern end of Oakfield Road.

Digging for Victory!
Jonathan's goat Pinkie is expecting - and she's due just after the general election!
Cllr Jonathan Wallace, Lib Dem candidate for Blaydon in the general election, is not just battling for victory in May. He’s digging for it as well! Jonathan does the “good life” full time, growing his own food in Sunniside, and is often invited to speak at local groups about how he is getting on.

In the past couple of weeks his ducks have started laying again, the hen egg numbers have gone up, the potatoes are chitting, the goat has been confirmed as pregnant and winter cabbages have been picked.

If you want to follow Jonathan’s “good life” click on this link to go to his allotment blog

If you would like to keep up with Jonathan's role as a councillor and his battle to become Blaydon's MP, click on this link to go to his campaign blog.

The Liberal Democrats are not necessarily responsible for the content of websites on links on this email. 

Printed by Mailchimp, 512 Means Street NW, Suite 404Atlanta, GA 30318 United States. Published and promoted by John McClurey on behalf of Jonathan Wallace, Chris Ord and Kevin McClurey (Liberal Democrats) and Frank Hindle on behalf of Dave Fawcett (Liberal Democrats) all at 5 Burdon Park, Sunniside, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Copyright © 2015 Councillor, All rights reserved.

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