Tuesday, 31 October 2006

Shopmobility returns to Redcar

Redcar and Cleveland Council has entered into a new partnership with a voluntary organisation run by local disabled people to ensure Redcar Shopmobility is back in business for users in time for Christmas shopping.

The Redcar and Cleveland Real Opportunity Centre (ROC) has secured Council funding for the next 18 months to revive the service, formerly run by the Redcar and Cleveland Disability Access Group (DAG), which was forced to close its doors on the Esplanade in September due to lack of funds.

The current Shopmobility members have all been notified about the good news and recruitment for staff is now underway.

The Council's Cabinet Chairman Councillor Eric Empson said: "Council officers and ROC have pulled out all the stops to get Shopmobility up and running before Christmas.

"As well as financial support, we are also helping with some equipment and building maintenance and repairs. Council departments are pitching in to get things moving on a safe and sound basis."

ROC Manager Jane Reast explained: "This is a busy and challenging time for ROC and our first priority is to get the doors open again.

"The Council has recognised the value of voluntary sector work and the public and economic benefit this partnership can bring. It has listened to local people and responded very positively. DAG has done a great job and given us a platform so we can develop."

ROC's other work will include a day resource newsletter and organising the Disabled People's Partnership Board, which will complement and enhance the Information and Shopmobility service.

Monday, 30 October 2006

Redcar & Cleveland Compact

Guidelines for a new method of working, which can cover local public bodies and the voluntary and community sector in Redcar and Cleveland, will be outlined by a national expert at an awareness-raising day on Wednesday, November 1.

Mark Blake, the project manager for the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, will address the meeting at Belmont House, Guisborough, organised by Redcar and Cleveland Council, which is applying compact principles across the Authority.

The Redcar and Cleveland Compact is an overarching agreement between 28 local public bodies and approximately 450 voluntary and community sector organisations which sets out working arrangements and what they can expect from each other.

The Council's Compact Champion, Councillor Chris Abbott, said: "We are fully committed to embedding the Compact principles into Council policy and procedures."

For more information, contact the Council's Business Planning and Development Officer Tracy Calvert on 01642 444241 or email tracy_calvert@redcar-cleveland.gov.uk

Fireworks Night on the Stray

Redcar's Fireworks Night will switch to The Stray for a sparkling display on Sunday, November 5, starting at 6.30pm.

The 30-minute extravaganza, between Redcar and Marske, will mean the Coast Road will be closed to traffic from the Zetland Park roundabout at Redcar to the roundabout at Marske from around 5pm to at least 30 minutes afterwards.

Organisers will be setting off the fireworks from the grassed area near the car park close to the Redcar Stray toilets, firing over the sea.

Huge new effects are planned, with fireworks rising to 1,800 feet and spraying as wide as 1,200 feet, building to a spectacular finale.

Spectators will be guided to two viewing areas either side of the firing zone, accessed from either Redcar or Marske.

Three 26-seater buses start a free shuttle service from the Majuba Road car park at 5pm until 6.15pm, with one free bus operating during the same times from the car park opposite Marske library. Return journeys will start at 7.15pm until 8pm.

Parking will be available in the usual town centre car parks.

Friday, 27 October 2006

Three new schools are first class

More than 2,000 children in Redcar and Cleveland will mark the start of an educational era next week when three brand new schools simultaneously open their doors.

Pupils at Bydales Specialist Technology School in Marske, Gillbrook College in South Bank and Sacred Heart RC Specialist Science College in Redcar, will return from their half term holiday on Thursday, 2 November to study in new state-of-the-art buildings as part of a £155million project.

The new schools are the latest of five new schools to be built in Redcar and Cleveland in just 18 months thanks to a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract. In April 2006, 600 pupils at South Bank Community Primary and St Benedict’s RC Primary School moved into new buildings as part of the project, co-ordinated by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.

Councillor Steve Kay, Cabinet Member for Education, said: “Next week is a momentous week for Redcar and Cleveland and I am delighted to see three more first rate schools being made available to more than 2,000 pupils. The creation of five new schools in such a short space of time is testament to the commitment of both the council and local schools to continue to improve the education of our children and young people.”

Built by Carillion Regional Building and designed by RyderHKS architects, the three new schools each boast the most up-to-date learning facilities. The new buildings each include auditoriums and drama suites with hi-tech sound and lighting equipment, e-learning rooms to seat up to 60 pupils, music suites complete with recording studios and sports facilities installed to Sport England standards. A viewing platform has also been created at Bydales School to enable pupils to map ships and study birds, gaining educational benefit from the school’s coastal location.

All three schools also use the latest biometric finger scanning technology to support their school meals services. Each mealtime, pupils will use finger scanning technology to enable them to claim a school meal. School meals are pre-paid at the start of a day, week or term, minimising the need for pupils to carry money to school.

Headteacher of Bydales Specialist Technology College Tony Hobbs said: “We are all extremely excited to be moving into such a modern building with first rate resources that will undoubtedly be an excellent learning environment for our students.”

Pupils from all three schools have played a central part in finalising the layout and designs of their new buildings. Earlier this year, students attended a council-run design workshop to give their views on landscape proposals, furniture designs, room layouts and test out some of the information technology (IT) and drama equipment.

Headteacher of Sacred Heart RC Specialist Science College Pat Hibbert said: “Our new situation will enable us to deliver the curriculum more effectively in a building which we can enjoy. We very much look forward to the new half term.”

The opening of the schools will come just two weeks after Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council was given the green light to increase education for 16-19-year-olds with the creation of over 500 places at Eston Park School, Gillbrook College and Nunthorpe from September, 2008.

Headteacher of Gillbrook College John Anthony added: “As we move into a new successful future for Gillbrook College, our fantastic new building represents a resource that will enable us to continue to develop an excellent learning culture in which our students can excel and achieve their personal goals. The recent confirmation of our post-16 status and the imminent construction of the collaborative post-16 centre will offer increased and accessible educational choice to students on their doorstep.”

The students will be spending their first week being inducted into a range of new processes and facilities within the building. Formal openings of the building will take place at a later date.

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Council calls for urgent talks with Racecourse Board of Directors

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, Councillor Dave Fitzpatrick, has put forward a Council motion to call for the Board of Directors of Redcar Racecourse to enter into urgent private discussions with representatives of the Council to ensure that racing in Redcar continues.

The request has been made in response to recent media reports which suggest that the future of Redcar Racecourse may be under threat.

Cllr Dave Fitzpatrick, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, said: “As a Council, we have not received any direct communication from the Racecourse regarding any future plans.

“This Council is concerned at press reports that there may be a threat to the continuation of racing at Redcar. This Councils calls on the Board of Directors of the racecourse to enter into urgent private discussions with representatives of the Council to ensure that racing in Redcar continues.

“Racing is so important to Redcar; the Racecourse has been a leading attraction to Redcar since 1875 - it is part of our town, our history, our identity, and we feel, an essential part of our future - and we will do everything in our power to ensure that this important attraction and the opportunities it represents for the future of Redcar are not threatened.”

The Mayor has called a special Council meeting of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council on Thursday 2 November at 2pm at the Town Hall, Eston, to approve the motion and discuss the future of Redcar Racecourse before the Extraordinary General Meeting of Redcar Racecourse shareholders on 3 November.

New Chairman of the Yorkshire Ridings Society

Chris is the new Chairman of the Yorkshire Ridings Society.

Members of the Society's Executive Committee, met last night in the Black Swan, York, to select a replacement for one of the Society's founder members, Roland (Colin) Holt of Fenwick, near Doncaster, who died in April.

Chris said: "It is a real honour to follow Colin Holt as Chairman of the Ridings Society. It was a sad blow when we lost Colin In April but the Society carries on with the same enthusiasm that has kept it going for more than 30 years.

"I feel proud that members have placed their trust in me as the person to continue the good work that Colin started. Some of these members have travelled to York, from all parts of the County, six or eight times year, in all weathers, to meetings and have kept the Society alive and thriving since 1974."

Roger Sewell, of Goole, who last year completed a charity walk around the boundary of real Yorkshire, is the new Vice Chairman.

The Yorkshire Ridings Society campaigns for recognition of the continuing existence of the Ridings of Yorkshire, never abolished, in spite of numerous local government changes that created new administrative counties and lately new unitary authorities.

Members campaign for Yorkshire to be used as part of the postal address in all parts of the historic County. For the real County to appear on maps alongside local government administrative areas and have been active in restoring and erecting signs on the real boundaries of Yorkshire.

The Society invented Yorkshire Day in 1975 and the event is now celebrated, on August 1st each year, in many towns and villages across the real County.

A former member of Cleveland County Council, Chris took a controversial stand as a member of the County Council, actively campaigning for its abolition and its replacement by four unitary authorities, with boundaries along the River Tees - the traditional boundary between Yorkshire and Durham.

The County Council and the administrative county of Cleveland was formally abolished on 1st April 1996. Chris saw this as the catalyst for regaining recognition for the area south of the Tees to be part of Yorkshire for all cultural, ceremonial and sporting and postal purposes. This ambition was partly achieved in 2003 when Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council agreed to recognise its status as part of Yorkshire and decided to use Yorkshire as part of its postal address.

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Cool fun on Redcar High Street for half term

Cool fun will arrive at Redcar High Street this half term with Borough’s first ice rink thanks to Redcar and Cleveland Council.

Opening tomorrow, (Wednesday, October 25) the all-weather synthetic polished surface will be open to skaters 10am-9pm daily until Sunday, 29 October with a £3.50 fee per session.

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, Councillor Dave Fitzpatrick, said: “The whole town is really excited about the arrival of this ice rink.

“I’m not a very good skater but I will definitely have a go, it’s a fun way to keep fit and spend time with the family”

The rink will hold up to 90 skaters at a time and organisers have a store of 144 pairs of boots with sizes ranging from suitable for those aged three year olds, up to adult size 13.

Construction of the 12 metres by 18 metres rink started on Monday, October 23.

Leaflets with 50p off coupons have distributed across the borough, each coupon is valid for up to four people.

Monday, 23 October 2006

Coatham abuse has to stop

Posted by Glynis:

On Saturday I was helping to deliver a letter to residents of Coatham on behalf of Josie Crawford, our friend and fellow Lib Dem Councillor. Josie, like us, has had a dreadful time putting up with abuse from certain protestors who do not want a superb leisure and housing development at Coatham. Josie has suffered more than most because she lives close to the site and by helping deliver the letter I was showing my support for her.

These protesters have gone way beyond what is considered to be reasonable and have mounted a campaign of abuse, allegations and scare mongering against members and Council officials that has caused great distress and has wasted so much time. It has got to stop.

None of the allegations and the 1001 conspiracy theories have stood up to scrutiny. They have all proved to be exaggerated nonsense.

As soon as I started to deliver the letter in High Street West out came the lead protester who started bellowing at me in the street: "We don't want this through our letterboxes." "She's a liar." "Your husband's a liar." I simply carried on and ignored the man. They can give it out in spades but if anyone dares to answer back they can't take it.

I post Josie's letter below:

A personal message from Councillor Josie Crawford

Ward Councillor for Coatham

20th October 2006

Dear Coatham Resident.

I have lived in Coatham for 37 years and I have been privileged to serve as its Ward Councillor since 2003. Where I live, the people know me. They know how passionate I am about Coatham.

They, also, know I don’t lie and I am always open and honest about what’s on my mind. This is an open letter and personal message from me. It has not been instigated by anyone other than myself.

As your Ward Councillor, I have to represent the views of all local residents. I work very, very hard to get all of these views and concerns listened to in a constructive and influential way.

There are people who are worried about the proposed development at Coatham. They are worried about the housing, about the change and what might be lost.

As the proposal began to take shape, I openly shared my own views and my own concerns. I have, also, worked hard to fulfil my duties as a Councillor and put forward all views to represent all Coatham residents, and still continue to do so.

I could never have stopped the application from happening. The ball was set rolling long before I was elected, but, believe it or not, Coatham residents have actually influenced what has gone into the final application.

With your support, Irene Curr and I have fought for better pool facilities, the height of the flats on the front to be lowered, the retention of a dance floor, more seafront parking, better footpaths to the seafront and better viewpoints for the homes on High Street West. We were successful in achieving these.

I, have also, offered to meet Coatham Ward protesters to hear their views and concerns at a time and place convenient to them when there was still the opportunity to influence the planning process. My offer was ignored and I never received a reply.

Finally, I went to a massive effort to bring together a Council Scrutiny meeting to scrutinise openly the development proposals for Coatham. This was a crucial meeting that could have significantly influenced the final master plan. It came to nothing, because it was wrecked by loud and unrelenting verbal disruption by a protestor. This meant that many members of the public who, also, wanted to ask questions were unable to do so during the meeting.

This meeting was so important. It was wrecked. I was so angry, because it had taken so much time and effort to actually get the meeting together.

It was at this point I decided the spokesman for the protestors was actually sabotaging any real efforts to influence the planning application and I became increasingly concerned by the method of protest. I openly decided I would not stand by the protestor any longer. This decision saddened me, as I had hoped, together, through reasonable debate, we could influence changes to the final plan.

I cannot support those who think that spitting at me in the street, shouting at me in public, making abusive and aggressive telephone calls to my home, and sending me unpleasant e-mails and letters, is, an effective method of protest.

Many residents who are angry and worried about the development have approached me. They have been reassured once I have explained what is really happening, explained what work has been done to influence the planning application and what still can be done to represent their views on Coatham and on other issues.

I’ve been called ‘spineless’ and ‘an absolute disgrace’ as a Councillor. I am not spineless. I am angry and disappointed. I will not associate with those who cannot conduct themselves in a rational manner and enter into proper debate to be heard. To earn respect you have to show respect.

I have been disgusted at the way that certain protestors have used the proposed Coatham development to attack personally, individual Council officers. The officers are simply getting on with their job. They are responsible and professional persons. I write for them as much as myself. They are hard working and committed.

The Protest has now gone far beyond the Coatham Enclosure issue. It is now also an attack on the Council and its Officers. This is another reason why I cannot show my full support for the protest group even though I share a personal common viewpoint.

Unfortunately, the most vocal protestors won’t be able to fulfil any of the promises they make to anyone, because they have ignored the real opportunities offered to them to influence the development through discussion and debate.

Because I have been so unsettled about the direction and manner of the protest and the consequent pressure imposed upon me, I had considered resigning from my post as your Ward Councillor. This is however not a path I now choose to follow.

I am extremely proud to be representing yourselves and working on your behalf and shall endeavour to continue to act as your representative to the very best of my abilities.

Yours sincerely

Josie Crawford

Friday, 20 October 2006

Bright future guaranteed as Council clinches street lighting deal

REDCAR and Cleveland Council is predicting a very bright future for the Borough's residents after agreeing a £46million project to replace, upgrade and add to its street lighting stock.

Over 15,000 columns will be replaced - 85 per cent of the existing stock - and another 3,457 added in a phased programme across the Borough over the next five years, with a £1million a year maintenance budget in place for a further 25 years.

The Council has appointed David Webster Lighting, based in Hertfordshire, as its preferred bidder, through the Government-backed Private Finance Initiative scheme, with £21 million from the Government backed up by a £1 million a year maintenance commitment over the next 25 years from the Council.

The Council's Cabinet Chairman Councillor Eric Empson said: "This is a massive investment that has been waiting to happen for a very long time and will undoubtedly be endorsed by every one of our residents. The new columns will cut out 'light pollution' in many locations, which will mean the sky and the stars can be seen in all their glory.

"We are very pleased to announce that a major national company, David Webster Lighting, will be the preferred bidder for the project and, subject to successfully completing contract negotiations, will be delivering this vital service over the next 25 years."

The company's managing director Bertrand Richard said: "We look forward to working in partnership with the Council on this prestigious and exciting project to deliver a first class lighting service to the people of Redcar and Cleveland, creating safer and better-lit streets."

Councillor Empson, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, Development and Infrastructure, explained: "Our surveys show the importance the public places on street lighting, with its rating as the third most important service, behind waste collection/recycling and street cleaning.

"What the public may not realise, but we have acknowledged for some time, is that the majority of our lighting stock doesn't meet the European standards and thousands have now passed their 25-year life expectancy.

"We've even discovered that the space between them is too much - that's why we're not only embarking on a replacement programme, but also putting in thousands of new columns."

A contract is expected to be signed and sealed in the next few months, with work ready to start next Spring following consultations with residents and the Police to determine priority areas.

Tuesday, 17 October 2006

No pool closures in foreseeable future

A leading Coalition Councillor today insisted that there are no plans to close any of East Cleveland's three swimming pools at Loftus, Saltburn and Guisborough.

Fears that the pools could be under threat have surfaced amid negotiations by the Council to choose one of three companies who tendered for the contract to manage the Borough's leisure centres.

Concerned users and user groups have wrongly linked the suggestion in one of the tendering documents that an Olympic 'super pool' could be built in East Cleveland to imminent closure of existing swimming facilities.

The Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism Councillor Dave Fitzpatrick said: "I can categorically state that this Council has no intention of closing any pools for the foreseeable future.

"We will still continue to subsidise the leisure facillities by around £1 million a year and are looking to increase this investment in the future."

He explained: "I can also confirm that there has been a suggestion from one of the organisations tendering for the contract to manage our leisure facilities that they should build an Olympic 'super pool' in East Cleveland and lose the swimming element at the sports centres in Loftus, Saltburn and Guisborough.

"As this is an official tendering document, we are legally bound to consider all its contents and that is why we are also keen to take on board the views of users and user groups. I'm more than happy to talk to all interested parties."

Councillor Fitzpatrick added: "People are jumping to conclusions, but nothing has been decided. What we need to be doing is finding and analysing as many opinions as possible from all areas of Redcar and Cleveland.

"And we need to broaden people's minds - this isn't about the future of swimming in the Borough, it's about all our leisure provision and there is absolutely no suggestion that that will be reduced."

Monday, 16 October 2006

Council gets Sixth Form go-ahead

Redcar and Cleveland Council is today celebrating the go-ahead for creating a sixth form with two brand new centres to be built at Nunthorpe and Eston.

The Office of the Schools Adjudicator has approved the proposal for post 16 education for Eston Park School, Gillbrook College and Nunthorpe, with a September 1, 2008 implementation date.

The adjudicator, Dr Elizabeth Passmore organised a public meeting at the City Learning Centre last month to debate the issue with parents, school representatives, governors and representatives from further education providers.

Now, in her judgement, Dr Passmore said: "The increased choice in provision, the convenience of location that the additional sixth forms would provide and the development of the 14-19 centre would be of such benefit to pupils that this outweighed any possible disadvantages."

The Council's Cabinet Member for Education Councillor Steve Kay said: "We were quietly confident that we would get a positive result after all the support from staff and parents at the public meeting.

"I would like to thank all the staff at the schools and the Children Services' Department for all the effort they have put in to winning our case. We look forward to becoming an authority providing post 16 education in collaboration with the schools involved, colleges and the Learning and Skills Council."

The proposed collaborative 14-19 centre, split between Nunthorpe and Eston, will provide approximately 550 places. The Council has made a £9.6million bid to the Learning and Skills Council, which has been given approval 'in principle' by the LSC's National Committee, based on a commitment to work in partnership with existing further education providers, Prior Pursglove College and Redcar and Cleveland College as well as work-based trainers.

Councillor Kay added: "Our proposed centre is completely in line with Government thinking. It will not be an elitist institution but will provide vocational as well as academic education."

Ice Rink brings cool fun to the High Street

Redcar and Cleveland Council is bringing cool fun to Redcar High Street this half term with the Borough's first ice skating rink.

The rink, an all-weather synthetic polished surface, opens Wednesday, October 25 till Sunday, October 29, open 10am-9pm daily with a £3.50 fee per session.

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism Councillor Dave Fitzpatrick said: “We are pleased to welcome the ice rink to the Borough.

"This will be a great temporary addition to the High Street which will hopefully draw visitors to the town. If the rink is a success this half term we may look to bring it back on a regular basis.”

The rink, which measures 12 metres by 18 metres, will be sited in front of the Town Clock and be big enough to hold up to 70 skaters at a time. Organisers have a store of 144 pairs of boots with sizes ranging from suitable for three to four year olds and up to adult size 13.

The rink, hired by the Cheshire-based company, Ice Magic, will be lit by existing street lights and halogen lights with a barrier around the perimeter. Work on erecting the rink starts on Monday, October 23.

Scaffolding currently surrounded the clock tower as part of the £260,000 restorations, close to where the rink will be situated, will be removed next week in advance of the rink's construction.

Schools, offices and shops have already been targeted with the distribution of 50,000 leaflets by the Council's Events Team, each with a 50p off coupon, with each coupon valid for up to four people.

Friday, 6 October 2006

Persimmon Homes facilitates new Public Footpaths at Coatham Links

Following the recent submission of detailed plans by Persimmon Homes to create a landmark £80m mixed use development at the Coatham Links site in Redcar, minor excavation work is now set to continue to facilitate the creation of public rights of way around and in across the site.

Currently, a comprehensive planning application from Persimmon Homes is being considered by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council for the development of new residential, leisure and entertainment facilities at Coatham Links. The planning application is subject to extensive information including environmental assessments and a full site investigation report.

As part of the extensive consultation which took place prior to the submission of the planning application, residents raised concerns regarding the public rights of way at the proposed development site. Consequently, minor engineering works are being undertaken on site to facilitate the creation of a new network of footpaths on the existing site. The minor excavation work required to create the footpaths on site does not require planning permission.

Further concerns raised by local residents recently have related to the existing ground conditions at the Coatham Links site, therefore Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council have been instrumental in ensuring that correct procedures are followed to guarantee best working practice is undertaken at all times.

In line with these working practices, as from Monday (9th October), Encia Consulting, experienced specialist surveying consultants have been commission by Persimmon Homes to conduct small scale investigations at each point where excavation works will be taking place for testing purposes. Material removed from the site will be tested for any degree of potential ground contamination.

Any work undertaken by contractors at the Coatham Links site will only be allowed once a full risk assessment has been prepared to the satisfaction of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council. The council will then allow contactors on site under license. Any works will be carried out in accordance with an agreed method statement and all health and safety guidelines.

Persimmon Homes Regional Projects Director, Peter Jordan said, “Persimmon Homes takes seriously all aspects of professional working practices across its regional development sites and always ensures that contractors are provided with up to date information on all aspects of the development process.

“We have listened to the concerns of residents and are currently undertaking work that will provide an extensive network of new and improved rights of way across and around the Coatham Links site.

“As a homebuilder with many years of experience in the development of brownfield and greenfield sites, we are skilled in dealing with any issues regarding ground contamination, which is a common factor in regeneration projects up and down the country and the North East in particular with it’s industrialised past. “

Housing is a vital part of the Coatham Links development

Peter Jordan, Persimmon Homes Regional Projects Director has defended the need for housing as part of the Coatham Links development at Redcar:

“The housing at Coatham Links is fundamental to securing the necessary financial backing and grant funding to bring leisure facilities to this site. The funding and market requirements for all aspects of this development have been meticulously investigated and Persimmon Homes is confident that the current plans represent the best way, and in fact the only way, to create the high quality state of the art leisure and sporting facilities that Redcar deserves.

“Housing is not only vital to the funding of the project but is vital to the future of the town. Research shows young adults leaving is set to become a major issue in Redcar, with a large percentage of the economically active population expected to move away during the course of the next 5 years. Taken as a whole, the Coatham Links project is a vital part of the change needed to regenerate the town and reverse this trend by providing a new range of housing, employment opportunities, leisure and sporting amenities for present and future residents of Redcar.”

Persimmon Homes Refutes Flood Risk Rumours at Coatham Links

The following is a statement from Persimmon Homes, Redcar & Cleveland Council's partners in the Coatham Links Development:

Persimmon Homes is in the process of addressing a recent objection raised by the Environment Agency regarding flooding risks at the proposed Coatham Links development, with a new onsite flood risk assessment designed to address the recently updated Environment Agency guidelines on flood prevention.

Concerns have been raised by the Environment Agency regarding a heightened flood risk posed to housing and leisure facilities at the proposed £80m Coatham Links development. The site is subject to an extensive planning application from Persimmon Homes currently under review by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and subject to extensive environmental assessments and a full site investigation report.

The Environment Agency registered a holding objection to the planning application for Coatham Links due to a perceived flood risk at the seafront development. Following liaison with the Environment Agency, Persimmon Homes are confident they can satisfy any concerns regarding provision against potential flooding on site.

Persimmon Homes carried out initial flood risk assessments at Coatham Links on advice given by the Environment Agency, relating specifically to the area of Redcar. The Environment Agency is currently updating this advice and consequently Persimmon Homes will be modifying the flood risk assessment for the Coatham Links site to meet with all current Environment Agency recommendations.

Persimmon Homes regional projects director, Peter Jordan, said:

“Prior to the planning application being submitted, all guiding principles available on flood risk assessment were taken into account in devising appropriate strategies to deal with any flood threat onsite. Consequently, we agreed to raise the level of the site to an appropriate height to be capable of dealing with any potential flood risk. This is a normal procedure at any development site located close to a large water source.

“Under proposed new guidelines to be issued by the Environment Agency for this area of Redcar, the renewed flood risk assessment may require slight amendments to the raised levels along with other works to cope with any flood potential. In light of this, Persimmon Homes is acting on the potential concerns of the Environment Agency and will be modifying plans accordingly to the satisfaction of all available guidelines.”

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

Eric Empson calls for an end to political bickering over the Coatham Links development

Liberal Democrat Councillor, Eric Empson, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, Development and Infrastructure has sent an open letter to local MP for Redcar, Vera Baird QC, calling for her to display real political leadership in ensuring a fair and open determination of the planning application for the Coatham Links development.

Councillor Empson, who is also Chairman of the Cabinet, said: "I have sent the letter in response to my increasing concerns that party politics are jeopardising the determination of the planning application for the development at Coatham Links.

"It does not help when the Labour Group switch sides only four days after the very same members voted publicly to support the scheme at a recent meeting of the Joint Strategy Committee."

In the letter, Councillor Empson openly challenges Ms Baird's recent support for the protesters against the development of housing and leisure facilities at Redcar and for their call for a Public Inquiry into the current planning application, suggesting the Council should itself call for an Inquiry.

He sets out: "As a lawyer with planning experience you know we cannot do this.

"Firstly, it is a matter for the Planning Committee acting independently and the Cabinet cannot take such a decision.

"Secondly, we cannot predict with any certainty what decision the Planning Committee will take. If they are minded to refuse then there is no point in an inquiry If they are minded to grant permission then it goes to Government Office for a decision on whether to hold an inquiry.

"It would be absurd for the Planning Committee to say we are minded to approve but by the way hold an Inquiry anyway because we need some political public relations.

"I am fully aware of the political motivation of much of the activity surrounding the proposed development at Coatham Links.

"It is in the interests of opposition party members to delay the decision on the proposed development - even when they support it in principle. Much of the public argument and scare-mongering surrounding the proposed development on Coatham Links is generated by these interests.

"I am now publicly asking for VeraBaird MP to put a stop to the party political wrangling and support local councillors in determining the planning application in a right and proper manner.

"The present scheme is the only show in town for the next five years that can bring real regeneration to Redcar. It should not be thrown away just to score party political points. The decision should be made on solid grounds, not on an unfounded assertion that the Council may not have the money it says it has.

"We might not be in this position if Vera Baird had not refused to speak to leading Council members for the past twelve months.

"We all owe this opportunity to bring about a fair and open debate to the residents who elected us to represent them and we owe it to the future regeneration of Redcar".

Monday, 2 October 2006

Busy bulky waste service

Redcar and Cleveland Council is carrying out an average of almost 300 bulky waste collections a week - and expects the busy service to continue in the run-up to Bonfire Night.

The Council is urging residents to get rid of unwanted rubbish using the service, which charges £5 for standard jobs and £10 for an 'express' service, which promises collection within seven days.

Latest statistics show that between October last year to September this week, a total of 13,739 jobs were completed - 9,233 standard and 4,506 express, an average of almost 300 per week.

The Council's Cabinet Member for Environmental Improvement Councillor Bob Stanway said: "All residents have to do is call our Call Centre on 08456 126 126 to arrange a collection. This is just one of the ways we are working with residents to provide a cleaner, safer, greener borough.

"We're also delighted to note that the number of flytips has reduced, compared to the number we had received at this point during 2005/06."

Figures show from April 1 to the end of August, there were 1,750 flytipping reports, down by just over 800 for the same period last year.

"We will be working closely with the Fire Brigade and Coast & Country Housing in the run-up to Bonfire Night to reduce the potential for deliberate fires."

Redcar & Cleveland Primary Care Trust established

Redcar and Cleveland Primary Care Trust (PCT) was established today and its boundary is fully co-terminus with that of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.

This new PCT covers the area previously covered by Langbaurgh PCT - Redcar, Marske, Saltburn, Guisborough, Skelton, Brotton and Loftus - and now includes the council wards of South Bank, Eston, Teesville, Grangetown, Ormesby and Normanby, which were previously covered by Middlesbrough PCT.

The information on this website dated prior to October 1st 2006, relates to work done by the dis-established Langbaurgh PCT.

The day-to-day primary care health services - ie, GPs, dentistry, pharmacy and optometry will remain unaffected by this change, as will all community services, such as district nursing, health visiting, physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

All services in, and based at, the three Primary Care Hospitals in Guisborough, Brotton and Redcar also remain unaffected by the change.

The reason for the change followed a national consultation, Commissioning a Patient-Led NHS, which took place at the end of 2005 and the beginning of this year.

NHS Chief Executive David Nicholson said: "The new PCTs coming into effect today represents the culmination of months of hard work and consultation.

"The extra investment we have seen in the NHS over the last few years has reaped real improvements, but we need to do much more. We need to create an NHS that delivers better services for better value. PCTs are at the very heart of making this vision a reality. Our commissioning needs to be responsive and innovative, using services that patients want, in the place and time that they want them, whilst making the most of every penny spent.

"To do this we will need to engage and listen to the public. We will need to motivate and involve staff at all levels, nurture talent and develop leaders from a broad range of backgrounds.

"The move to fewer, more strategic PCTs - more closely mirroring local government boundaries - means we are better placed to make this happen."