Friday, July 20, 2007

What a Result!

Congratulations to Greg Stone, Liberal Democrat candidate in Sedgefield. He slashed the labour majority and pushed the Tories into 3rd place. The figures can be seen on the Stockton Liberal Democrats website.
Today I go to the 4th consultation this week on the draft Sustainable Community Strategy for Stockton. This will set out the vision of how Stockton should be in 2021 - a bold ambition and one we need to get right if we're to develop in the way people want. Today's event is a joint one with members of the community network and area boards so I'm taking one of our young members along to do her first in depth work as a representative on the Western Area Board.
If you want to read it and comment by the end of the month there's a chance on the website - both the document and the feedback form are linked at the bottom of the page.

Meanwhile, plans for spending our Small Environmental Improvements Budget are speeding up with a request for some extra planting at the Greenfield Drive/Durham Lane junction to improve the appearance at that end of the ward. Any suggestions for the Preston area would be welcomed - no-one from that area has responded to the appeal in Focus. This budget covers not just planting but odd extra streetlights, parking bays, verge repairs and other similar things.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Preston Park Improvements

The work on producing plans for Preston Park and Hall is moving rapidly now. The draft plan went through Cabinet and is approved as the basis for a funding bid to the Lottery. The consultation on detail carries on meanwhile. Anyone wishing to comment (and we urge everyone in the ward and elsewhere who cares about the park to do so) can go to Stockton Council's on-line consultation
There are suggestions about car parking, play facilities, rejuvenating the planting schemes and better access to the river amongst others. One thing missing is any indication of how young people can enjoy their skateboards, bmx and mountain bikes without ruining the Quarry Wood nature reserve or the riverside footpaths, and Eaglescliffe councillors have pushed for that to be included at every possible opportunity.
You have until the end of the month to register your ideas. So if you want a park that you can enjoy - make your voice heard.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Thought for the Day

My daughter, who blogs less regularly but often more interestingly than I do, found this site with some wonderful tips for running a business. I particularly like the instruction not to multitask in a meeting and to have a notebook open in front of you to note down any good suggestions from employees. I think that's something which would apply in many situations outside of business and I'll try to remember it.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Climate Change and other things

Yesterday I had a completely new experience - a visit to Durham county cricket ground, The Riverside. Fabulous building, great facilities, shame about the signage. Tomtom, the faithful GPS, took me to the spot but the gate led to a David Lloyd fitness club. Strange thought I. The signs on the road led to parking further up the road, labelled Delegates. Helpful thought I, I'm a delegate so that's for me. I duly paid the parking fee and tried to find my way into the ground. Five minutes later, in the company of other increasingly frustrated people, we discovered that the gate to David Lloyd was in fact the gate to the ground as well (and to lots of other things). We then had the challenge of finding the Riverside Suite. Spotted Reception so headed there (other end of the building) only to be told "back the way you've come. It's in Tower 3". By the time we'd reached the correct door and correct floor there was a procession of about 20 of us!
Never, mind - once there the meeting was well worth it. The Local Government Association had invited people from all the local authorities in the North East to discuss what could and should be done about climate change - mitigation measures to reduce the change and adaptations to cope with the changes already upon us or inevitable in the next few years. It was stimulating and worthwhile so I hope we can put at least some of the ideas into practice in the very near future.
Once that finished I was on my way back down the motorway to my next meeting - getting towards the final touches on the Play strategy for the Borough and the bid to the Big Lottery fund based on it.
Then a very quick visit to my mother before my next meeting - the regular pre-council group meeting to decide on what needs to be questioned or contested at the council meeting on Wednesday.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Sewers OK??

I had a reply this morning from NWL telling me that the sewers were designed in accordance with Stockton's specifications. I think it's called passing the buck! So next week I need to check with SBC engineers whether they have the design spec from the 1970s. Somehow I think I might know the answer and it won't be affirmative. But the present situation can't continue so I've got to think of another approach.
At least it didn't rain today!
Meanwhile the Sedgefield by-election campaign is under way with 3 local candidates, quite an unusual situation for a parliamentary by-election. Our candidate, Greg Stone, is a very experienced man and would be a great representative for Sedgefield if elected.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The End of a Long Week

Another week draws to a close, not a very productive one. As it followed what was probably the most upsetting week I've had for years on several fronts, none to be written about here, I'm just hoping that July will be better than June.
I was wrong about the rain stopping - it was a temporary abatement. However, we're much better off than some other parts of the country so mustn't grumble too much. The wettest June on record has varied from miserable to catastrophic, depending on which part of the country one lives in.
3 days of this week were spent in Birmingham, city of the visionary mayor Joseph Chamberlain, and home to the first red-brick university in the country. I attended the LGA conference and found it at times stimulating, boring, annoying and fun. I won't say which parts were which in case someone happens to read this and be upset. I was in the company of the Chief Executive of Stockton Council, the Conservative Leader of the Council and the Labour group leader, but actually saw very little of them as we all attended different sessions and networked with different people.
While there I had the strangest e-mail I've had in a long time from one of the councillors in a neighbouring ward, proposing to put some planters bought for his ward on a grass patch in our ward and inviting our comments "out of courtesy"! When I pointed out that we'd have to consult with the parish council, the businesses which front onto the grass and the local residents he rather testily replied that it was too much hassle! It seemed odd the very next day to listen to his party leader telling the conference how they would listen to what people wanted. We haven't had any further suggestions from residents of our ward so we'll go ahead with final consultations on the things that have been suggested and seem practical and then we'll look further into some of the more difficult improvements that residents want.
Today John and I had a meeting with two young men hoping to stage a music festival in Preston Park. If it comes off it'll be very worthwhile - music for all the family, entertainers such as jugglers and face painters and a bar serving only the over 21s as well as food, a climbing wall and other activities for those not too interested in the music. They're working very hard to overcome all the potential problems of parking, traffic, noise and unruly behaviour as well as trying not to restrict access to the park facilities for those who don't want to be at the festival. I wish them well and suggest that people keep 19th August free in their diaries.