Friday, April 04, 2008

A day of non-stop meetings today, starting at 10 with one at Preston Hall. A group of officers concerned with the work in the park and the hall meets regularly with ward councillors and representatives of the groups with an interest in the park like Butterfly World and the Teesside Small Gauge Railway group. This is an attempt to make sure that things happening in the Park and Hall are co-ordinated and that the impact of events on neighbours is minimised. We saw photo-montages of the huge marquee which will be erected soon for the Hope event. This is an event open to anyone which is being organised by local churches and although it will involve hundreds of people it shouldn't be too disruptive. We'll be watching to make sure the traffic management plans work as promised.
From there I headed North to Newcastle for the second meeting of the Regional Fairtrade Group. Representatives of Fairtrade groups from all over the North East met to finalise plans for the tour of George Alagiah who will be in the region on Friday May 9th. He'll talk to groups around the region to spread the word about Fairtrade. The weekend following that there'll be a Fairtrade market and a huge Fairtrade Angel Cake in Baltic Square in Newcastle as part of the EAT! festival being held in Gateshead and Newcastle. The whole festival sounds wonderful and well worth a visit. I came away with some thoughts of ways we might progress in Stockton and with promises of shared expertise from others in the group.
As that meeting finished I had an hour to get home for a meeting with John and Alan about issues round the ward, including the problem of ball games on grass areas that are too small. At the moment it seems to be insurmountable but we'll keep working on it. We also had to deal with a phone call from a local news reporter about the problems that might arise from the extra traffic generated by the proposed development of a business park at the Airport. All I could say was exactly what I've said before to residents: we'll be watching the detailed planning application to try to ensure that the traffic issues are fully considered.
The afternoon finished with ward surgery at Trinity Church. Very often no-one comes to our ward surgeries - most people ring us or e-mail us rather than wait for a ward surgery. However, tonight we did have a couple who came with a number of issues to raise. One is the perennial problem of dog poo - not a nice subject but definitely not nice when it's on the grass verge outside your house day in, day out. Why people who take dogs out on the streets can't clean up after them is beyond me. It's hardly difficult and most owners do it perfectly well. Sadly, it only takes one to spoil a road for people. We've asked the dog wardens to patrol that area for a while and look forward to them catching the perpetrators. A fine of up to £1000 can be incurred - not a small amount. We also had our area Anti-social behaviour officer at the surgery and it was useful to be able to talk about what can be done to help with the young people playing football until such time as we can find other places for them to go.
So a long day but a varied one, and some good discussions and decisions taken. And I even got home in time to take some phone calls from family. A good day indeed.

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