Sunday, March 11, 2007

Mea Culpa

What a long time since I blogged! Honestly hadn't realised how long it was. But I'm not going to offer excuses - just tell you a few of the things that have happened in the meantime.

On a personal level - I had a wonderful Christmas and New Year visiting first one daughter and her family, then the other. Highlights included our granddaughter's first Christmas and visiting a country we'd never seen before.

My fellow councillor, Mike Cherrett, decided to retire at the forthcoming election but fortunately a local resident and Liberal Democrat activist, Alan Lewis, decided that he would like to stand for election. Alan is already part of the Focus editing team, an integral part of the printing team, and hopes very much to become a ward councillor for Eaglescliffe.

The planning application to demolish the Grange on Urlay Nook Road and replace it with flats and houses was rejected by Stockton Council planning committee because the new design was still deemed to be out of proportion with the dwellings on Valley Gardens. The applicant said he would lodge an appeal so we are waiting for the notice of that.

Riverside Lodge motorcross activities have occupied a good deal of time, with Stockton Council deciding to take enforcement action against the owner. A further planning application has now been submitted so residents and councillors are again going through the process of commenting on it.

Stockton Liberal Democrats have completely revamped their website so that it is easy to keep up to date and also contains regular updates of national Lib Dem news. It's good that several of us can now update instead of the previous situation of relying on one person who often was out of the country. We're not perfect but we're better than we were at the job.

The Council budget was set at the end of February - a very disappointing evening when Labour councillors turned out in force to vote for the cabinet's recommended budget and opposition parties couldn't muster enough numbers to vote through our alternative. As a result nearly a quarter of a million pounds is being spent on changing the way the public contact the council, but there was no money for an out-of-hours noise service to deal with the complaints people make about noisy parties, loud music, etc. Money was slashed from the budget for supporting victims of domestic violence and homelessness. There was no funding for dealing with stray dogs, nor with the wild horses which occasionally have to be caught and looked after - not things that happen every day but very important when they do.

And that's enough for today. If you want to know more have a look at our website - all the Focus leaflets are on there and also the news items from the ward and around the borough.

No comments: