Wednesday, 29 November 2006

A dramatic close to Titanic exhibition

One of the most successful exhibitions in the 25-year life of Redcar's Kirkleatham Museum, Titanic: Honour and Glory, completes its six month stay with a dramatic final weekend on Saturday and Sunday, December 9 and 10.

Redcar and Cleveland Council's Museums Service has been delighted at the response to the highly popular and successful national touring exhibition, which has seen over 32,000 visitors come to view the emotional story since its opening on July 1.

The Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism Councillor Dave Fitzpatrick said: "It has been a fantastic success and I'm delighted we can provide a fitting finale for its final weekend."

The true love story of Henry Samuel Morley and Kate Louise Philips, that inspired the blockbuster movie, will be told in a unique illustrated talk, entitled Love of the Sea, throughout the weekend, from 10.30am-5.30pm.

Visitors can also "Be Kate For The Day", with a rare opportunity to have their photograph taken wearing the 'Heart Of The Ocean Necklace', worn by actress Kate Winslet in the movie. There is a £3 fee for the photo.

There will also be a prize raffle, offering a replica of the necklace, with the lucky winner drawn before the close of the exhibition on Sunday. Tickets are £1.

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Council's anger over Labour's Race Course stance

Redcar and Cleveland Council's leader Councillor Eric Empson has today condemned the Authority's Labour opposition for its "irresponsible" stance against Lord Zetland's vision for the future of Redcar Racecourse.

And Councillor Empson is calling on the Council to expel Labour from the membership of its multi-party Redcar Racecourse monitoring group.

Councillor Empson expressed his concerns as a question and a motion were delivered for debate at a meeting of the Council at Eston Town Hall on Thursday, November 30 which clearly breaks the Group's mandate to be an information-gathering forum first before making any decisions.

Councillor Empson said: "We have not decided to support a move to Dunsdale because we don't know the facts - and neither does the Labour Group leader Councillor George Dunning.

"We are behaving as all responsible politicians should behave, doing our best for the town, and until all the facts are known and we have a proper opportunity to talk to Lord Zetland, no-one knows the negotiating issues.

"However, we are being constantly bombarded by Councillor Dunning's irresponsible behaviour, which is blatant electioneering. In my view, it can have only one outcome - Redcar will be left with nothing and there will be no new course, either, because Lord Zetland will become completely disenchanted with our Council.

"So I believe it is time to act and say, We did believe the Labour group could act as a responsible opposition, listen to the facts, start a sensible debate and move forward. But they are absolutely incapable of doing that so the sooner we eject them from the monitoring group the better. And I can assure everyone that Councillor Dunning's motion will not succeed on Thursday."

Councillor Dunning's motion says: "This Council is concerned at statements made following the emergency general meeting of the Redcar Racecourse board on November 3, in particular that new board chair, Lord Zetland, is committed to future closure of the current Redcar racecourse, development of this whole greenfield site and proposed relocation of racing to a mega-course on green belt land at Dunsdale, near Guisborough."

A question from Councillor Mark Hannon to Councillor Chris Abbott, Cabinet Member for Housing and Neighbourhood Renewal, asks: "Can he explain why he is supporting the relocation of Redcar racecourse to Dunsdale when it is a successful community facility, which is improving in its racing programme, improving its financial performance and improving its diverse range of activities for the surrounding community and neighbourhoods of Redcar."

Councillor Abbott retorted: "The antics of the Labour councillors could lose us racing in Redcar forever. We lost the opportunity of top-class motor racing at South Bank some years ago because of their dogmatic, head-in-the-sand attitude.

"21st Century spectators demand first class sporting facilities. The present arrangements will not sustain racing in Redcar much longer. We must keep our nerve and remain open-minded. We have to be more ambitious for Redcar and welcome the opportunity to discuss ways to keep racing local."

Enchanted wood destroyed by vandals

An enchanted wood which was created in Kirkleatham Woods in Redcar, by Cleveland Fire Brigade’s Prince’s Trust team has been wrecked by vandals just hours after it was opened.

The Brigade’s Princes Trust team has been working hard for 5 weeks with local schools, colleges and a local sculptor to create an enchanted wood in Kirkleatham Woods, which is managed by Redcar and Cleveland Council's countryside section, for the public to enjoy. The grand opening took place on Friday 24 November only to be vandalised later that evening.

The team had raised money through various fundraising activities including a talent contest and raffle and they were also given a grant from the National Lottery. The total cost to create the area was over £4000.

Metal posts which guided you through the specially created area have been ripped out from the concrete, which kept them in place, some of which have been stolen. Animals which were specially made have also been ripped away and stolen as well as graffiti on the benches which were custom made.

Karen Duncan, Prince’s Trust Team Leader said: “The team and I are devastated that vandals have come along and destroyed all the hard work we have put in over the past few weeks. This was meant to be a place for people to enjoy and I am disgusted that anyone would want to come along and wreck it.

“The animals that were specially created by youths at a local engagement programme called Fairbridge been stolen, we have found some of the metal posts that guide you through the area so we will be able to put them back in place. There was also empty beer cans and cider bottles all over as well as other litter and graffiti.

“We have reported this act of vandalism to Cleveland Police and are now looking at the cost of restoring the enchanted wood.”

A police spokeswoman confirmed they had received a report of vandalism in Kirkleatham Woods, she said: “We are keen for anyone with information to come forward and tell us who was responsible for the damage caused. This new community facility had been created after a lot of hard work by local children and young people and it’s devastating to see it ruined so soon after opening. Anyone with information should contact Cleveland police on 01642 326326 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111”

Redcar and Cleveland Council's Cabinet Member for Rural Affairs Councillor Graham Jeffery said: "I'm absolutely disgusted - this is a crime against the people who use the wood and the people who have worked hard to create it. The Police take this type of crime very seriously and have a number of ongoing operations to tackle this problem throughout the Borough."

Thursday, 23 November 2006

Redcar Police District set for major change

Cleveland Police Officers and staff have begun operations from a brand new building in the Borough of Redcar and Cleveland designed for 21st Century policing.

Old stations at Redcar and South Bank will eventually close with the switch to the new district headquarters - a purpose-built complex on Kirkleatham Business Park.

The move is part of a £38million project that will also include a major police headquarters at Middlesbrough. Work there is in the final stages.

The Business Park development will replace Redcar’s 24-hour front desk service but the new HQ has much improved facilities for the public. A privacy screen will ensure that people wanting to discuss matters in private at the front desk will not be overheard.

Other facilities on the site include six cells, monitored by CCTV for safety and security reasons; a lecture theatre for training and even a dedicated major incident suite.

District Commander Supt Ian Richards said: “We have facilities here that in the past we could only dream about. This building allows us to bring virtually everybody under one roof.

“The latest technology has been incorporated in the design which gives us among many other things a video link room and electronic pads in the custody suite which can be signed by prisoners doing away with a lot of paper.”

He added: “The buildings in South Bank and Redcar that are to close have served us well in the past, but this is the face of the future and new Town Police Offices will ensure we retain a police presence in our communities.””

From Monday December 11th a new South Bank Office, on Normanby Road at the junction with Hampden Street, will open to the public and from December 18 the new Redcar Town Office, next to the old police station will also open.

Both these buildings will continue to provide a front desk service to the public. The opening times for these buildings will be published in due course.

The postal addresses for the new buildings are as follows:-

1. Redcar & Cleveland HQ
Troisdorf Way
Kirkleatham Business Park
TS10 5AP

2. Redcar Town Office
Lord Street
TS10 3JP

3. South Bank Town Office
2 Hampden Street
South Bank

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Coalition ensures safe journeys to school

Redcar and Cleveland Council has reassessed the walk to school for some children attending Freebrough Specialist Engineering College and they will now have transport provided when their new school opens in the New Year.

The decision means that children from Carlin How and Skinningrove will benefit from home to school transport to Freebrough Specialist Engineering College when the doors of its new building open to students at Brotton on the first day of the new term in January.

The Council's Cabinet Member for Education Councillor Steve Kay said: "We are now in a position to inform parents that we can offer free home to school transport for more children going to Freebrough in January."

The decision follows a review of the walking route to school after the Council had ruled children living in Carlin How and Skinningrove could not claim free school travel.

Councillor Kay explained: "I have had representations from Brotton ward councillors Val Miller and Kay Walker and Loftus ward councillor Dave Fitzpatrick, who all asked for the walking route to be reviewed on safety grounds.

"Following our reassessment we can make home to school transport available to the children concerned. We are now in the process of writing to parents to explain the decision and hope that pupils can all look forward to the excitement of attending the new school in a few weeks."

Friday, 17 November 2006

Grangetown wins the Big Lottery

Grangetown Primary School has issued heartfelt thanks to thousands of local residents who helped it win a £50,000 Big Lottery Fund prize to build a new playground.

Headteacher Carl Faulkner said: "We could not have won without the support of so many people. We're so grateful for their backing. It's great to have won the Lottery!

"We're hoping to start building work just after Christmas and hopefully the whole project will be ready for the summer term, with a formal opening on our Family Learning Day, Friday, June 29.

"To win so soon after receiving our excellent Ofsted report is a double celebration for the school. The money is the perfect reward for the efforts of our staff, pupils and the local community in making the school the success it is today."

The school went head-to-head with a Tyneside environmental project in a day-long public text vote on Wednesday, before an anxious wait until the announcement on Tyne Tees TV's North East Tonight news programme last night (Thursday, November 16).

Now the school plans to give its 70-year-old playground a facelift with the introduction of new sports facilities, shelters, displays and an innovative learning environment. Plans are in place to make some of the facilities open to the local community.

Redcar and Cleveland Council's Cabinet Member for Education Councillor Steve Kay said: “I'm delighted that the school has won. The planned playground improvements will deliver a range of new facilities for dozens of schoolchildren and local community groups.”

South Bank Drop In

People living in South Bank can find out more about the Renewal Plan and how it affects them at a drop in session.

It has been organised by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council in partnership with South Bank Tomorrow and will take place on Monday November 20, at Golden Boy Green on Normanby Road in South Bank from 1pm until 8pm.

The community has been and still is involved in the consultation process and visitors will be able to view a series of display panels explaining what the Renewal Plan is, the area affected by the plan, what the current state of play is regarding house acquisition and relocation assistance available to residents, as well as future plans for the area.

The event will be held in the main hall and a meeting room is available for any residents who want to hold private discussions.

The Cabinet Member for Housing and Neighbourhood Renewal, Councillor Chris Abbott, said: "This event reinforces the Council's commitment to the local community. It shows that we are working with residents to give them a better quality of life in a better environment."

The Chairman of the South Bank Housing Strategy Steering Group, South Bank ward Councillor Ian Jeffrey, said: "This is a really good opportunity for people to find out more about the renewal plan and how it affects them."

Interpreters will be at the event, which will also be attended by representatives from the Council's waste and recycling department.

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Libraries hosting help and advice on keeping warm this winter

Libraries across Redcar and Cleveland are hosting information sessions to offer help and advice for keeping warm this winter.

The Borough's Warm and Well initiative can undertake benefit checks and home energy efficiency surveys, with the chance of accessing grants for energy efficiency measures and discount insulation schemes.

We want to ensure that people who might struggle with their heating bills this winter get all the help and advice available to help them cope.

Library dates and times are:

Wednesday, November 22 - Marske, 12.30pm-2pm.
Thursday, November 23 - Loftus, 2pm-5pm.
Friday, November 24 - Saltburn, 2pm–4pm.
Thursday, December 7 - Brotton, 1.30pm–4pm.
Tuesday, December 12 - Grangetown, 10am–1pm.
Friday, December 15 - Guisborough, 10am–1pm.
Monday, December 18 - South Bank, 10am–1pm.
Wednesday, December 20 - Redcar Central, 10am–1pm.

For more information about the Warm and Well scheme, call 01642 777976 or e-mail,

Grangetown Primary School wants your support today

Grangetown Primary School wants your support today (wed) in a text vote to win a £50,000 Big Lottery Fund prize to give its 70-year-old playground a facelift with the introduction of new sports facilities, shelters, displays and an innovative learning environment.

The school is one of two organisations shortlisted for the cash prize as part of the Big Lottery Fund?s People?s Millions contest to be shown as part of Wednesday's Tyne Tees news bulletin from 6pm.

Voting opens at 9am and closes at midnight.

How to vote: Text TTTV 2 to 63330 or phone 0870 243 4702.

Monday, 13 November 2006

Redcar Town Clock restoration is complete

The time is right for Redcar's Town Clock to come under the spotlight when a £230,000 refurbishment of the 93-year-old building is officially unveiled on Thursday, November 16.

Children from the town's primary and secondary schools will tell the story of the King Edward VII Memorial Clock in a performance of music and dance in the High Street, starting at 4pm.

Then Redcar and Cleveland Council's Mayor Councillor Mary Ovens and the chairman of the Friends of Redcar Town Clock Vera Robinson MBE will switch on the lights at around 5pm to illuminate the clock from dusk to dawn.

The town's most famous landmark now has a fully-restored clock tower and clock mechanism as well as the return of its chimes with the fitting of a bell, discovered in store at Redcar's Kirkleatham Museum.

Panels, created by children from four primary schools - Coatham, Ings Farm, Zetland and Wheatlands - have told the history of the clock tower, erected by public subscription in 1913 as weeks of specialist work has been carried out. The panels will now form a mobile exhibition, touring libraries.

A leaflet, telling the clock's history and the project's story, is now being produced, along with interpretative panels to be erected in two of the tower's four arches.

The involvement of children in the work was a key element of levering the majority of funding, £148,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, while the Northern Rock Foundation supplied £20,000 with the Council providing a total of £40,000 after matching the Friends' £10,000 starter from its public appeal three years ago.

The Mayor said: "‘It is wonderful we have been able to restore this lovely building which has stood at the heart of the town for so many years.

"The clock is Redcar’s most famous landmark and I know the town’s residents will be delighted it has been enhanced and conserved for many years to come."

The Friends' chairman Vera Robinson said: "When the Friends of Redcar Town Clock undertook to save this listed building I had no idea of the tremendous support we would get from the townspeople.

"Now, four years after the public appeal was launched, the restoration is complete, signalling that Redcar people do indeed care about their heritage and the clock’s future is now secure."

Monday, 6 November 2006

Winning the fight against flytipping

Residents of Redcar and Cleveland have given their enthusiastic backing to a Borough-wide initiative aimed at winning the war against flytipping.

The Council’s Clean and Green team launched its BOYD – Bring Out Your Dross - scheme in April, covering the Borough’s 22 wards on a rolling programme.

With one ward to go - Coatham, starting on Monday, November 13 - staff has visited 10,444 homes, collecting a total of 247.95 tonnes of rubbish and unwanted items, including 60 gas bottles, 83 batteries, 190 tyres, 253 fridges and 399 television sets.

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Improvement Councillor Bob Stanway said: “The success of the BOYD scheme and our two civic amenities has helped to bring down the reports of flytipping.

“Unfortunately those who persist in flytipping are costing the Council Tax payers of the Borough huge expense.

“But, under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, we have the power to investigate flytipping and, where identities can be proved, we will prosecute."

In the 12 months between April 2005 and March this year, the Council received 4,929 reports of flytipping. In the following six months, from April to September, 2,223 incidents of flytipping were reported – leading to a predicted reduction in flytipping by up to 500 less incidents this year.

The Council faces the dilemma of sorting dumped rubbish from flytipping – a dumped black bag at the side of the road is flytipping, a dumped black bag in an alley is classed as waste collection.

Councillor Stanway said: “I would encourage residents of the Borough to take pride in the Clean and Green aspects of the environment and make more use of the facilities we already provide.

"Contrary to many reports flytipping is down in this Borough because of the pro-active approach we now take."

Who's got the Redcar X-Factor?

Young people across the Borough of Redcar and Cleveland are being urged to bring their own cheerleaders to auditions that offer them the chance to show off their talents when Redcar's Christmas lights are switched on next month.

Redcar and Cleveland Council's Mayor Councillor Mary Ovens will be chairman of the judging panel in the church hall at Christ Church, Coatham on Friday, November 10 and Saturday, November 11, in X-Factor style auditions, when entries are invited to bring along family and friends for support.

Councillor Ovens said: "It's going to be a busy couple of days and I'm really looking forward to it, maybe I'll turn into the new Sharon Osbourne!"

There will be rehearsals for Key Stage 4 pupils and college and university students on Friday from 5pm-7pm, then a talent show, starting at 7.30pm.

On Saturday, the day starts with rehearsals for Key Stage 2 students, from noon-2pm, then their talent show from 2pm-4pm, before rehearsals start for Key Stage 3 students, from 5pm-7pm, then their talent show, from 7.30pm-9.30pm.

The winners from each age group will be part of the lights switch-on on Sunday, December 3, when they perform on the High Street stage, starting at 2pm.