Thursday, 27 July 2006

Spoof letters - the plot thickens

Posted by Chris.

Whoever it is that is behind the spoof letters in the local Evening Gazette and Northern Echo that I referred to in my posting "beware of wolves in sheeps clothing," on 17th July, has sent in a comment to this blog pretending to be from one the names used.

The comment was as follows: "If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen Chris."

That seems like an admission to me that something is wrong. I strongly suspect that someone is indulging in a campaign to mislead the public for political gain. They may think it is OK to fill the letters pages of local papers with spoof letters to mislead the public. I think it is dishonest and corrupt.

If this person/persons would like to contact me, other than anonymously, and proves that he/she actually exists, I will be delighted to meet with them and discuss the issues they raise.

However, it is beyond belief that there are such a high number of correspondents, to these newspapers, that are clearly interested in local politics but are not on the electoral register. The other odd thing is that no one in their areas has heard of them either. Do they pay Council Tax?

Most of these letters refer to the Council Tax as if they did pay it so they should also be registered electors.

Yorkshire festival of fun on Redcar High Street

Redcar and Cleveland Council is organising a busy day of events to celebrate Yorkshire Day in Redcar High Street and the seafront on Saturday, July 29.

The High Street events, from 10am-4pm, include free children's face painting, an inflatable assault course, stilt walkers, magicians, Punch and Judy, jugglers, street theatre, a circus skills workshop and a flat cap throwing competition, from 11am-noon.

There's also a fairground near the boating lake, a model boat display on the boating lake from 2pm and a five-a-side football tournament at the Redcar Leisure Centre from 10am-4pm.

Yorkshire Rose posters are hidden in town centre shop windows for a treasure trail competition and there's Fire Range Music, a lively mix of English and European traditional tunes, from 11.30am-3pm.

At Saltburn, the library hosts a fossil workshop, from 10am-noon, looking at fossils of the Yorkshire Coast and there are plans for a surfing competition, weather permitting, from 4pm-5pm.

The Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism Councillor Dave Fitzpatrick said: "We hope everybody comes down and enjoys a great day out. There's lots of family entertainment and it's all about encouraging tourism."

On Yorkshire Day, Tuesday, August 1, there will be reading of the Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity at Eston Square 10.30am, Redcar Town Clock 11.31am, The Wynd, Marske noon, Loftus Town Centre 1.15pm, Lingdale Tavern 2.15pm, Saltburn Pier 3pm and Guisborough Market Cross 4pm.

You can buy Yorkshire white roses (£1,00) over the weekend and on Yorkshire Day (Tuesday 1st August) with all proceeds donated to Redcar Lifeboat Station.

Monday, 24 July 2006

Our real Counties can exist alongside local government

There is no reason why local government should not be organised in units that best suit an area. The problem is that people seem to think that every time local government is reorganised we change the name of the area we live in to suit whatever name was dreamt up to call the Council.

We suddenly become the people of Three Rivers or the side of a river or, its valley. It is getting ridiculous. England has 39 real Counties, everyone knows them and most were created more than 1000 years before local government as we know it.

The 1888 LG Act created County Councils more or less on existing County Boundaries but made a clear distinction between the historic, geographic Counties and Administrative counties. The 1972 LG Act abolished certain County Councils like the North Riding of Yorkshire but it did not abolish the North Riding. "These changes are for local government purposes only for all other purposes Yorkshire is still Yorkshire," was the statement issued at the time and much repeated since.

There is a simple solution and the Liberal Democrats agreed this at the Manchester Spring Conference.

Englands 39 real Counties do not require an administrative purpose (Yorkshire itself has never had one) but if you use them for all cultural, ceremonial, sporting and postal purposes we can retain a stable geography that people are comfortable with and is shown on maps alongside LG areas. Then there is none of the heartache and sentiment that comes with the perceived abolition of historic Counties.

Local government can be changed as often as you like and cross as many County boundaries as necessary if you accept that these are for local government purposes only.

Royal Mail have already accepted the distinction between administrative areas and real counties by allowing people to use their real County as part of their postal address. Redcar and Cleveland Unitary Council - for twenty one years part of Cleveland County - now uses Yorkshire as part of its postal address.

Unitaries are the way forward but they must be there for administrative purposes and the name of the area should not have to change, destroying our heritage, every time they are reorganised. Our real Counties should be the focus of where we live and be our link with history. Administrative areas are for providing services and their boundaries should be set out to suit the best way of delivering them.

Where would cricket be without our real Counties?

Yorkshire Day 1st August 2006

Members of the Yorkshire Ridings Society have planned a full day of activities to celebrate the 1131st birthday of the Ridings of Yorkshire.

This year has been a sad one for the Society following the death of our Chairman, R. Colin Holt, who passed away in April. Colin did so much for the society and the Yorkshire cause, right from the start and he is sadly missed. The Executive Committee is determined to carry on the good work that Colin did and we will keep in regular touch with our members.

Much has been achieved so far and we are as keen as ever to continue to campaign for recognition of the continuing existence of the Ridings, to have them shown on maps, used as part of the postal address and displayed on boundary signs.

In the Borough of Redcar & Cleveland the proceedings will be led by Radio Cleveland personality Stewart MacFarlane MBE, who will read the modern English version. British Legion stalwart, Eric Howden will read the Latin version and Loftus Councillor, Dave Fitzpatrick will read the Old Norse version. We are seeking a volunteer to read the complicated Old English version. A copy of the scripts are attached.

A new event this year is the Flat Cap Fling. This takes place at Redcar Town Clock between 11am and 12 noon, as part of Redcar & Cleveland's Yorkshire Festival of fun for all the family, on Saturday 28th July. Entry is FREE and the winner will receive the DJ Tucker Ltd Cup.

The Annual North Riding Duck Race also takes place on Saturday 28th July - 2.30pm at Saltburn Beck. £1 per entry. The winner will receive the Colin Holt Cup. Proceeds from this will go to the Ridings Society's fund to pay for "Part of the Historic North Riding of Yorkshire" boundary signs on the eight roads leading into the Borough of Redcar & Cleveland.

Please show your pride in Yorkshire by wearing a white rose on Yorkshire Day. All proceeds from the sales of white roses by the Society's North Riding Group will go to Redcar Lifeboat. More than £5000 has been raised for local charities from the sales of white roses since 1997.

Sunday, 23 July 2006

Redcar Prom is taking shape as a film set

Left is a bombed out building, under construction on Redcar Esplanade, in preparation for the Dunkirk scenes for the new blockbuster film Atonement which starts in early August.

A bandstand shelter is also being built, just to the right, out of shot, painted in nice French style, pastel, blues and greens, with a hole in the roof, clearly where a shell went through. The fitness centre, positioned where the photograph was taken from, next to the Regency Mansions, has had an extra storey built on, that makes it look like a blown up building with peeling wallpaper.

Some of the four storey houses, along the front, are getting bright new coats of paint. Even though it is all made from timber and plywood and most of it has yet to be painted up, it certainly is very realistic and everyone in town is very excited about the whole thing. We hope they leave the bandstand shelter as it is, even though it is made of wood. The campaign starts here for a permanent structure.

North Riding Duck Race next Saturday

Pictured, left to right, on the weir at Saltburn Beck, waiting to scoop up the winning duck from a previous North Riding Duck Race, are

Councillor Josie Crawford, Councillor Val Miller and our daughter Kelly.

This year's duck race, in aid of the Yorkshire Ridings Society's campaign for boundary signs takes place at 2.30pm, next Saturday in the Valley Gardens, Saltburn.

There is still time to enter.

North Riding Duck Race Entry Form £1.00 per entry
Your Name..........................................Address.................
Name of Duck...................................Entry Fee...............
Name of Duck...................................Entry Fee...............
Name of Duck...................................Entry Fee...............
Name of Duck...................................Entry Fee...............

Return to Cllr Chris Abbott 39 Essex Close, Redcar,
Yorkshire, TS10 4BY.

Proceeds to the YRS North Riding Group Campaign Fund

It's business as usual at Roseberry Square Library

The library in the middle of a multi-million pound redevelopment on a Redcar estate is stressing to borrowers that it is still open for business - and looking forward to a new home.

Redcar and Cleveland Council's staff in the Roseberry Square branch, which usually caters for over 1,100 borrowers, calculates that dozens have stopped visiting the library, sited in the middle of the massive rebuilding.

The redevelopment of The Courts and Roseberry Square shopping centre is being created through the Council's Development Agreement with a private consortium of developers - Bellway Homes, Persimmon Homes and Sterling Capitol - and the Tees Valley Housing Group.

It will provide a new library as well as 100 units of social housing, 300 private homes, a new shopping centre, a new youth and community centre and new open space areas.

The Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism Councillor Dave Fitzpatrick said: "The staff has done a great job trying to maintain the normal services while watching the demolition going on around them. However, we're all looking forward to work on the new library starting very soon and it will be an exciting time watching it take shape.

"We believe that the libraries service is an integral part of the community so the old library will remain open until the new building is ready."

Community librarian Janis Bonner, who has worked at Roseberry Square for 17 years, said: "When I've been out and about, I'm always being asked: 'When are you open again?' I must admit if you look across the Square it does look as if we're closed, but it's business as usual.

"There won't be a break in service, either. We'll be here until the new library is completed around Christmas - and we're all really looking forward to that."

Wednesday, 19 July 2006

Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing

Posted by Chris

Over the past two or three years the local Evening Gazette and Northern Echo has printed a series of similar letters repeating over and over again the same misleading one sentence "soundbites" that Labour Councillors spout on Redcar & Cleveland Council.

The strange thing is that these letters are alleged to be written by residents of Redcar, Brotton and Skelton that nobody seems to know. They also do not appear on the electoral register.

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Redcar ready for a blockbuster summer

Amazing plans to transform Redcar seafront into 1940s Dunkirk next month have been agreed by Redcar and Cleveland Council after a formal contract was officially signed following detailed talks with a major film company.

Working Title Films believe the town provides the perfect backdrop for the highly anticipated film version of Ian McEwan's bestselling novel, Atonement, which will feature Keira Knightley and James McAvoy in the lead roles.

The stretch of promenade, from the town's Regent Cinema to the boating lake, will become a film set as preparations take shape this month through to late August when filming will commence.

The Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism Councillor Dave Fitzpatrick said: "This is really going to be a special summer for Redcar and the Borough. We're talking about a multi-million pound production and some of that investment will come to Redcar and Cleveland.

"The profile we'll get during filming will be fantastic - it's got to be good for the tourism trade, hotels, bars, restaurants, taxis and painters and decorators, for example, and the potential of the profile from a blockbuster movie is probably immeasurable."

It promises to be an extraordinary few weeks for the town as plans include the building a bombed out house, a building being transformed into a seaside hotel, tons of rubble and sand being brought in to cover the roads and pavements, the digging of bomb craters and assorted vehicles and boats on the beach.

The site for filming will be a 'no go' area for the public. An e-mail address - - is being set up to help recruit 1,000 extras.

The Council's highways partner, Alfred McAlpine is also playing their part in ensuring the town is taken back 60 years, removing railings, flag poles and street and parking signs, then putting it all back into place after the movie makers leave at the end of August.

The location manager for Atonement, Adam Richards said: "We want to say a huge thankyou for making us so welcome and for being able to facilitate this large scale filming project.

"When myself and the production designer first came across Redcar at the end of last year, we both knew this was the location we had been looking for - there really was no point looking anywhere else."

Tom Harvey, Chief Executive of Northern Film & Media, the regional screen agency for the North East, said: "Productions taking place in the region last year spent £8.5m on local crew, facilities and services. A film like this one will have huge benefits in terms of both investment into the region and future tourism.

"It is particularly important that this production has been brought to the North East thanks to regional agencies and people co-operating and pooling their collective resources and energies. It shows what can be done by working together.

"This level of interaction is something we are increasingly focussing on in the future as we aim to ensure a sustainable moving image industry across the North East".

Monday, 10 July 2006

Chance to discuss coastline future

Residents in Redcar and Cleveland are being given two chances to hear about and discuss the future of the 45 miles of coastline from the River Tyne to Flamborough Head at a public meeting in Redcar's Coatham Memorial Hall on Tuesday, July 18.

The meeting starts at 4pm with a half-hour public presentation on the review of the existing Shoreline Management Plan followed by 90 minutes to look at an exhibition and discussion. Then at 6pm, the two-hour process will be repeated.

Sunday, 9 July 2006

Saddleworth, West Riding

Saddleworth, West Riding
Yorkshire Day Country Fair
Sunday 30th July 2006
At the Ammon Wrigley statue, Saddleworth Museum,

Reading the Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity"
Brass Band leading a Grand Parade to the Back Meadow
Where there will be...
County Crafts
Dry Stone Walling, fencing, potting, wood turning,
sheep shearing.
Country Fayre
Home made ice cream, cheeses, oat bread,
Yorkshire pudding,
Saddleworth local beer.
Country Skills
Quilting, sewing, knitting, patchwork.
Farm Animals
Sheep, lamas,
calves, donkeys.
National Trust,
Quality Plant Stall,
Bouncy Castle,
Face Painting,
Grand Raffle,
Lots of fun for the children.

North Riding fun for all the family in Redcar

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council’s Yorkshire Day celebrations this year take place in Redcar High Street on Saturday 29th July, between 10am and 4pm, with something for everyone...

Music concert, high pole juggling, free face painting, inflatable assault course, balloon modelling, local theatre group team players, Old Glory Band, circus skills workshop, magicians, fairground (at Coatham Enclosure), street entertainment, and much, much more!


Saturday 29th July 2006
Flat Cap Fling
Winner will receive the DJ Tucker Ltd Cup
Plus prizes for the first three
11.00am to 12.00 noon
Redcar High Street
(near the Town Clock)

* * *
North Riding of Yorkshire
Saturday 29th July 2006
Saltburn Beck, Saltburn
Winner will receive the Colin Holt Cup
Plus prizes for the first three
Prize for most original name

NORTH RIDING Readings of the Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity
Yorkshire Day (Tue. 1st August)
10.30am - Eston - Square
11.31am - Redcar - Town Clock
12 noon - Marske - The Wynd
1.15pm - Loftus - Town Centre
2.15pm - Lingdale - Tavern
3.00pm - Saltburn - Pier Entrance
4.00pm - Guisborough - Market Cross
Why not hold your own Yorkshire Day party with friends and family?
Have Yorkshire food and drink and read the declaration.

Celebrating Yorkshire in the East Riding

East Riding of Yorkshire Council are holding an event in the gardens of Burnby Hall, Pocklington. Admission to the gardens will be free after 11.00am.

There will be music and readings of the Declaration of Integrity, including one by the Chairman of the Council.

On 5th August the East Riding Dialect Society will be presenting an afternoon of East Riding Prose and Poems at Burnby Hall, Pocklington from 2.00pm to 5.00pm. There will be a charge of £2 which will include refreshments in the interval.

In Goole, the City and County Pub, in Boothferry Road, will be hosting a celebration which will include a specially brewed ale, the name being decided in a competition and possibly some traditional Yorkshire fayre. The Declaration of Integrity will be read at the pub at about 7.00pm.

30th annual reading of the Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity around the walls of York

Yorkshire Day, August 1st 2006, will see members of the Ridings Society reading the Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity around the walls of York for the 30th time, since the tradition was started by Colin Holt in 1976.

Sadly, this will be the first year that Colin, pictured right, who sadly, died in April, will not be present leading the proceedings.

The Declaration of Integrity is read in the four languages used in Yorkshire since the earliest known reference to the Ridings, in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles of 876. old English, old Norse. Latin and modern English

The readings start at Micklegate Bar, at 11.31am (one thousand one hundred and thirty one years since the year 876).

Micklegate Bar is where the West Riding meets the City of York. The readers will then walk the walls to Bootham Bar for the North Riding, then inside Monk Bar for the City and finally to Walmgate Bar for the East Riding.
This way the continuance of the Ridings and Yorkshire is proclaimed in all parts of the county on its own particularly special day.

Tuesday, 4 July 2006

Council and Arriva enroute to agreement

Redcar and Cleveland Council has held 'constructive' talks with bus operator Arriva North East to help secure improved services on a series of key routes across the Borough.

The Council's Main Overview and Scrutiny Committee will meet the company at a special meeting in Eston Town Hall on Thursday, July 6 to debate Arriva's new arrangements and the changes made since following detailed discussions between Council officers and the company's senior management.

Arriva has confirmed that, in response to customer comments, three service amendments have already been agreed - a commitment to run the 64A along the full length of Normanby Road, South Bank, a diversion via Skinningrove for the X56 journeys that end at Loftus and an additional school day only journey for the X56 to help students at Laurence Jackson School, Guisborough, to be introduced in September.

The Council's Cabinet Chairman Councillor Eric Empson said: "I am pleased to report that we have made meaningful progress in addressing our concerns with Arriva and these changes will certainly help.

"We are now looking forward to more open and constructive discussion with the company at our scrutiny session which, I am sure, will benefit everyone involved to have a clearer picture of the situation."

Arriva's commercial director Liz Esnouf, who will address the meeting, said: "We received a number of suggestions from customers and we're pleased that we've been able to make some changes which take these into account. It's really important people take advantage of these amended services as we can only run our buses where people will use them."

She added: "We find the continued dialogue with Redcar and Cleveland Council very helpful in further refining our commercial services. Working together to create the most effective network will benefit all.

"I hope we will reach a better understanding at the scrutiny meeting of what Arriva is working to achieve with our recent changes and welcome the opportunity to outline the pressures faced by bus operators with increasing costs and meeting passenger needs, while delivering value for money bus services."

Monday, 3 July 2006

Warm and well, here to help

A new way of helping at least 6,000 households in Redcar and Cleveland who cannot afford to heat their homes adequately has been launched in the Borough.

Redcar and Cleveland Council, through Warm Zones, has a proven track record of removing people from this difficult situation, providing energy efficiency measures to their homes and helping to increase their income through benefit entitlement checks.

With the closure of Warm Zone, the Council's strategic partner, Jarvis Accommodation Services, has been working to establish a new way of helping these vulnerable households, many of them elderly, sick or disabled or low income families.

Now, the new programme, Warm and Well, has been created, with Jarvis and the Council bringing in partners, including Langbaurgh Primary Care Trust, Age Concern, Warm Front, Carers Together and the Pension Service.

The Council's Cabinet Member for Housing and Neighbourhood Renewal Councillor Chris Abbott said: "We are very pleased to be launching this new initiative.

"The scheme offers benefit checks to householders to try to increase their income and find an afforable route for installing measures by making use of available grant or discount schemes."

For more information on 'Warm & Well in Redcar & Cleveland', contact 01642 777976.

Saturday, 1 July 2006

Action call over delay in repairing estate's street lighting

Posted by Chris:

Electricity supplier, Northern Electric Distribution Ltd (NEDL), need to get on with repairs to street lighting on the Old Lakes Estate.

Over half the estate's street lighting, between Troutbeck Road and Rydal Avenue has been out for more than two weeks after a cable was damaged by Northumbrian Water, carrying out improvement work to drains in the area.

I understand that a five core cable (three phases, neutral and a separate core for the street lighting) needs to be repaired to put the lights back on.

NEDL never seem to give street lighting any sort of priority but with half the street lights out it is unacceptable to leave it so long. They need to get on with the work ASAP.

I have been in regular touch with the Council's street lighting team who have kept me up to date with their efforts to persuade NEDL to get on with the work.