Monday, 31 December 2007

Happy New Year

A happy new year to all our readers

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Bid to broadcast Council meetings - update

Posted by Chris:

I see that we have been receiving dozens of links from to the item, posted in August, about the Lib Dem bid to broadcast Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council meetings, proposed by Councillor Margaret Wilson.

In view of the interest here is an update:

The Council referred the matter to the new Democracy Commission, which is currently in the process of being set up. It is one of a list of items that will be investigated, hopefully quickly, though the majority Labour Group do not seem very keen on the idea. Myself and the other Lib Dem members of the Democracy Commission will do our best to ensure that the idea comes to fruition as soon as possible.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

10-man Swans beat Leeds United in five goal thriller

Leeds United started well against the league leaders Swansea City at the new Liberty Stadium. A full house of 19,010, which included 2,800 Leeds fans, was electric with anticipation of a great game.

Good shots at goal from Jonathan Howson and Jermaine Beckford slammed in during the 4th minute.

But a free kick awarded from 25 yards, in the 8th minute, set up the Swans for a free shot at goal and Andy Robinson made it count, 0-1.

United fought back and in the 11th minute, a right foot shot from Beckford hit the back of the net from 6 yards, for his 15th league goal of the season, 1-1.

But Swansea won a corner in the 22nd minute, which the captain, Garry Monk, headed into the top right of goal, from 12 yards, 1-2.

With the Swans beginning to dominate a nasty foul on Howson, in the 39th minute, by Ferrie Bodde, resulted in a red card for the Swansea man and Howson being carried off, to be replaced by David Prutton.

United failed to take advantage of the situation and 10-man Swansea increased their share of possession. In the 45th minute a left-footed shot from Jason Scotland (18 yards), sent the Swans in for the break two goals up, 1-3.

Straight from the kick off Leeds won a free kick and skipper Alan Thomson fired into the net, 2-3.

A second free kick, from the same distance, followed straight from the re-start but Thompson hit the post.

Leeds began to dominate play but chances were few and far between. Tore Andre Flo came on for Ian Westlake in the 67th minute to add a bit more striking power and midfielder Curtis Weston replaced Seb Carole in the 77th minute.

United failed to take advantage of 10-man Swans and Leeds went down to their third league defeat of the season.

Swansea City 3 Leeds United 2

Labour MP, Vera Baird, let the people of Redcar down over Coatham Links

How much longer must Coatham Links remain fenced off waiting for development?

Redcar's Labour MP, Vera Baird, "is being irresponsible and has let the people of Redcar down over the Coatham Links development," a political rival has claimed.

Ian Swales, Liberal Democrats Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Redcar (Pictured above), hit out after the MP blamed the former Coalition for taking a decision to grant Planning Permission for the £88million Coatham Links development close to an election period, which was recently ruled out of order by a High Court Judge.

"The decision taken by the Planning Committee was an all party one and Councillors not only followed the advice of professional officers but also took advice from top QC's every step of the way. Their advice was that it was perfectly appropriate for the Committee to meet when it did. The Council’s decision was supported by the Government shortly afterwards.

"It’s impossible to know at any one time where Vera Baird stands on the Coatham development. Until last May’s elections she seemed to be on the side of protestors against the Lib Dem-led Coalition. Then she seemed to be backing the new Labour Council’s support for the development and was being condemned by protestors. What does she really want?

"Our Member of Parliament should be working with everyone who wants to see this long-awaited development succeed. I am appalled at her lack of leadership. Liberal Democrats remain committed to the completion of Coatham Links in full and will campaign vigorously against any attempt to water down the scheme. The current administration's priorities seem to be elsewhere in the Borough and I fear they will use this decision as an excuse to submit a much reduced development in terms of quality and benefits for local people."

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Draw against Pool puts Leeds United on top of League One - at least for a couple of hours

The weather was breezy, cold and damp for Leeds United's first ever league game against the monkey hangers at Victoria Park, which is just across the river from here, in Hartlepool.

The game started slowly on a slippery pitch and the first chance in the match came in the 21st minute when Michael Nelson headed in, for Pool, from 6 yards, 0-1.

Leeds responded and started to play a bit, forcing their first two corners on 30 minutes but Pool were looking more dangerous and had the most possession.

In the last 10 minutes before half time chances fell to Tresor Kandol, Jermaine Beckford and Jonathan Howson but Pool went in for the break with their 1-0 lead intact.

The second half started with both teams sharing possession. In the 56th minute Seb Carole replaced David Prutton and Alan Thompson came on for Radostin Kishishev. Third skriker, Tore Andre Flo, came on for Ian Westlake in the 76th Minute in a desperate bid to make a difference.

The game dragged on with United just edging it, then in the 89th minute Tresor Kandol headed on to super striker Jermaine Beckford who drilled in a left foot shot from 20 yards, 1-1.

Never say die Leeds left it late again and held on for a draw that puts United top of the League for the first time, at least for a couple of hours. Not bad for a team that started the season on minus 15 points.

Attendance 7,784.

Hartlepool United 1 Leeds United 1

Monday, 24 December 2007

Merry Christmas

A very merry Christmas to all our readers.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

United do the double over the Rovers with another late goal

An all action start at Elland Road today and an early substitution for Bristol Rovers when Joe Jacobson was replaced by Chris Carruthers, following a clash of heads with United's David Prutton.

Prutton required stitches but was back on the pitch after only a few minutes.

Jermaine Beckford headed against the bar from 12 yards in the third minute.

The fast flowing action, mainly due to long balls, continued through to half time with the only real chances going to Beckford, who was Leeds best striker by far. Tresor Kandol had made little impact on the game in the first 45 minutes.

Half time 0-0

The second half started with Bristol stepping up a gear and beginning to make an impact on the game.

But the crowd lifted Leeds, Seb Carole replaced David Prutton, Tore Andre Flo came on for Ian Westlake and more chances for Leeds began to be created.

With 7 minutes left to play Jonathan Howson finally broke the deadlock, with a glancing header, from 12 yards, which was deflected off a Bristol defender, 1-0.

This win means Leeds have done a league double over Bristol Rovers and puts United into third place, only one point behind the leaders.

Attendance 27,863.

Leeds United 1 Bristol Rovers 0

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Nick Clegg names his Shadow Cabinet

The new Shadow Cabinet is as follows:

Deputy Leader Vince Cable
Chief Whip Paul Burstow

The economy and business - VINCE CABLE - Shadow Chancellor
Jeremy Browne - Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Sarah Teather - Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Home Affairs - CHRIS HUHNE - Shadow Secretary of State for the Home Department
David Heath Shadow - Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor
The Rt Hon the Lord Thomas - Shadow Attorney General
David Howarth - Shadow Solicitor General

International affairs - ED DAVEY - Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. Chair of Campaigns and Communications
Nick Harvey - Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
Mike Moore - Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

Public services - DAVID LAWS - Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families
Norman Lamb - Shadow Secretary of State for Health
Julia Goldsworthy - Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Lembit Opik - Housing
Danny Alexander - Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions,
Chair of manifesto group
Stephen Williams - Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills

Environment - STEVE WEBB -Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Energy, Food and Rural Affairs
Norman Baker - Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
Tim Farron - Countryside

Families -SUSAN KRAMER Families spokesperson, Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office; and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

Other Shadow Cabinet members
Simon Hughes - Shadow Leader of the House of Commons and Party President
Don Foster - Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport; and Olympics
Alistair Carmichael - Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland and Northern Ireland
Lynne Featherstone - Youth and equality spokesperson
The Rt Hon Tom McNally - Leader in the Lords
Roger Williams - Shadow Secretary of State for Wales
The Rt Hon the Lord Shutt -Lords Chief Whip
Willie Rennie - Chair of Parliamentary campaigns team

Also attending the Shadow Cabinet
Danny Alexander - Leader’s Chief of Staff
Mark Hunter - Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Leader
Lorely Burt - Chair of the Parliamentary Party

Other apppointments announced today:

Rt Hon Sir Menzies Campbell will join the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and will be conducting a full review of Britain’s future military capability.

Rt Hon Charles Kennedy, as President of the European Movement will be campaigning across the country on European issues, and will contribute to major European debates from the front bench.

Nick Clegg names his Shadow Cabinet

The new Shadow Cabinet is as follows:



Deputy Leader

Vince Cable

Chief Whip

Paul Burstow

The economy and business


Shadow Chancellor

Jeremy Browne

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Sarah Teather

Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Home Affairs


Shadow Secretary of State for the Home Department

David Heath

Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor

The Rt Hon the Lord Thomas

Shadow Attorney General

David Howarth

Shadow Solicitor General

International affairs


Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Chair of Campaigns and Communications

Nick Harvey

Shadow Secretary of State for Defence

Mike Moore

Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

Public services


Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families

Norman Lamb

Shadow Secretary of State for Health

Julia Goldsworthy

Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Lembit Opik


Danny Alexander

Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Chair of manifesto group

Stephen Williams

Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills



Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Energy, Food and Rural Affairs

Norman Baker

Shadow Secretary of State for Transport

Tim Farron




Families spokesperson, Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office; and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

Other Shadow Cabinet members

Simon Hughes

Shadow Leader of the House of Commons and Party President

Don Foster

Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport; and Olympics

Alistair Carmichael

Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland and Northern Ireland

Lynne Featherstone

Youth and equality spokesperson

The Rt Hon Tom McNally

Leader in the Lords

Roger Williams

Shadow Secretary of State for Wales

The Rt Hon the Lord Shutt

Lords Chief Whip

Willie Rennie

Chair of Parliamentary campaigns team

Also attending the Shadow Cabinet

Danny Alexander

Leader’s Chief of Staff

Mark Hunter

Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Leader

Lorely Burt

Chair of the Parliamentary Party

Other apppointments announced today:

Rt Hon Sir Menzies Campbell will join the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and will be conducting a full review of Britain’s future military capability.

Rt Hon Charles Kennedy, as President of the European Movement will be campaigning across the country on European issues, and will contribute to major European debates from the front bench.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Nick Clegg's speech in full

On his election as the new Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg said:

My election as leader of this party marks a new beginning.

Today is about two things: ambition, and change.

Renewed ambition for the Liberal Democrats.

Renewed ambition to reach out to the millions of people who share our values, but have not yet voted for us.

It’s about renewed ambition for Britain.

Because we want to change politics, and change Britain.

I would like to thank Chris for the energetic and committed way he has campaigned in this leadership election.

We have been rivals in this contest. From today, we are colleagues again. I look forward to working closely with him for the good of liberalism in Britain.

I would also like to thank Vince Cable for the magnificent way he has led the party in these past two months.

There are few men who have excelled as an economist, a comedian and a ballroom dancer.

Finally, I would like to give my warmest thanks, on behalf of the whole party, to Ming Campbell. He took over the Liberal Democrats at a difficult time, and provided enormous stability and professionalism to the party. Without his work, building on the extraordinary achievements of Charles Kennedy and Paddy Ashdown before him, the party would not have the bright future which it now does.

I am a Liberal by temperament, by instinct and by upbringing.

My own family was marked, scattered and reunited by the tragic conflicts of the last century.

I was taught from an early age that Britain was a place of tolerance and pluralism, with a history steeped in democracy and the rule of law.

I believe that liberalism is the thread that holds together everything this country stands for. Pull out that thread and the fabric of the nation unravels.

We are a people with a strong sense of fair play and social justice. An instinct to protect the environment for future generations. We are suspicious of arbitrary power, wary of government interference. We want to play an active, enlightened role in the affairs of the world.

And we have always put our faith in the power of ordinary men and women to change things for the better.

So why is Britain still not the liberal nation we want it to be?
Look around us:

Our civil liberties casually cast aside.

Gigantic, faceless and incompetent Government bureaucracies.

Security and opportunity in short supply, particularly in the poorest communities.

Families struggling to meet each month’s bills. Struggling to balance the demands of work, and the time for a real family life.

Above all, our politics is broken.

Out of step with people.

Out of step with the modern world.

That is why I have one sole ambition: to change Britain to make it the liberal country the British people want it to be.

I want a new politics: a people’s politics.

I want to live in a country where rights, freedoms and privacy are not the playthings of politicians, but safeguarded for everyone.

Where political life is not a Westminster village freak show, but open, accessible, and helpful in people’s everyday lives.

Where parents, pupils and patients are in charge of our schools and hospitals.

Where fine words on the environment are translated into real action.

Where social mobility becomes a reality once again, so that no-one is condemned by the circumstances of their birth.

Why have we stopped imagining a better society?

Look at what we’ve got.

The Conservatives and New Labour have governed in the same way. Top-down and centralising. I refuse to believe that the only alternative to a clapped out Labour Government is a Conservative party which has no answers to the big issues - environmentalism without substance, social justice without money, internationalism without Europe.

The challenge for my party is clear and simple: to define a liberal alternative to the discredited politics of Big Government.

I want to open up my party, open up Westminster, and open up politics for good.

To lead well, a leader needs to listen.

That’s why I will hold regular and public Town Hall Meetings.

That’s why I want to open up the Liberal Democrats to give people who support us, but aren’t members, a say on the big issues.

That’s why I will spend at least one day every week listening and campaigning outside Westminster.

That’s why I will set up a network of real families, who have nothing to do with party politics, in every region of this country to advise me on what they think should be my priorities.

If you once voted Lib Dem but think we’ve spent too much time focusing on ourselves.

If you once voted Conservative but don’t know what they stand for any more.

If you once voted Labour but feel let down after ten years of disappointment.

If you’ve given up voting altogether, but still care about the world we live in:

Then a newly united, energetic, optimistic Liberal Democrat party is there for you.

This is an unprecedented time of opportunity for liberalism in Britain.

If we are to grab this opportunity, my party will need to change.

We must start acting like the growing national political movement that we are. More professional. More united. More ambitious.

Liberalism is the creed of our times.

The old left-right politics has broken down. Labour and the Conservatives are mutating into each other, united in defence of a system which has let the people down.

Instead, we must start where people are, not where we think they should be.

In short, I want the Liberal Democrats to be the future of politics.

Because Liberal Democrats have the courage to imagine a better society.

To break the stifling grip of the two-party system for good.

To bring in a new politics.

Of politicians who listen to people, not themselves.

No more business as usual. No more government-knows-best.

I want today to mark the beginning of real change in Britain.

The beginning of Britain’s liberal future.

Cleggy is the new Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Nick Clegg is the new leader of the Liberal Democrats. Nick won a very narrow victory over Chris Huhne who ran an aggressive campaign and was thought to have gained support as the campaign went on.

The result was as follows:

Nick Clegg - 20.988
Chris Huhne - 20.477

Yorkshire MP, Cleggy, pictured above in Newcastle with Chris (left), and Glyn Nightingale, was our favourite for the job because, as Glynis wrote on her endorsement, "Nick has made a big impression on Liberal Democrats in a very short time. He has the ability to quickly establish himself with voters and improve our ratings in the polls."

Nick paid tribute to Chris Huhne, acting leader Vince Cable and his predecessor Ming Campbell. He said the Liberal Democrats will be "more professional, more united and more ambitious." To disillusioned voters he said "a newly united, energetic Liberal Party is the party for you."

Monday, 17 December 2007

Recycling arrangements at Christmas

Redcar and Cleveland Council is reminding residents of the revised Christmas refuse collection times - and urging everyone to remember to recycle real Christmas trees and cards as well as the regular cans, paper, glass, plastic and cardboard, which are plentiful at this time of year.

There will be no collections on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year's Day, but the Council's catch-up arrangements will ensure everything is back to normal on Tuesday, January 8.

Collection dates will change from:

Tuesday, December 25 to Thursday, December 27
Wednesday, December 26 to Friday, December 28
Thursday, December 27 to Saturday, December 29
Friday, December 28 to Monday, December 31
Tuesday, January 1 to Wednesday, January 2
Wednesday, January 2 to Thursday, January 3
Thursday, January 3 to Friday, January 4
Friday, January 4 to Saturday, January 5.

For more information, log on to the recycling section on the Council's website or call the Council's Contact Centre on 08456 126 126 for further assistance

You can place real Christmas trees out for collection on green waste collection days. Residents who do not have a green waste collection can take the trees to Warrenby Household Waste Recycling Centre, Dunsdale Household Waste Recycling Centre, Saltburn Somerfield Car Park Community Recycling Point and Guisborough Forest and Walkway.

The Woodland Trust and Recycle Now's annual Christmas Card Recycling Scheme hope to plant 24,000 trees by collecting 100 million cards.

Put your Christmas cards out with your cardboard and plastic for recycling from Monday, January 2 to Thursday, January 31 or take them to participating primary schools and libraries or Tesco, T-K-Max, WHSmith and M&S.

The Council's new Waste & Recycling 2008/2009 calendar, which details collection dates from February, 2008 to March, 2009, is being delivered in January. If you require the new collections calendar in other languages, Braille, on tape and in Large Print, contact 08456 126 126.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Thompson saves United's blushes with a late equaliser against the Saddlers

End to end play at the Bescot Stadium resulted in stalemate for the first 75 minutes then Tommy Mooney left footed into the net, from the six-yard line, to put Walsall into the lead, 0-1.

This sparked United into life and an injury time, deflected free kick, from substitute Alan Thompson sailed into the net from 30 yards, 1-1.

Jonathan Douglas was carried off in the last minute with what seems to be a serious injury to his left leg.

Leeds had the most possession but Walsall had slightly the better chances. United go home with a draw and that is about what they deserved from a pretty dour game.

The attendance of 10,102 was one of the Saddlers best at the Bescot.

Walsall 1 Leeds United 1

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Free winter car checks

Redcar and Cleveland Council's Road Safety Team is offering free winter car checks next week to ensure your car is both legal and prepared for the winter months.

The free drop-in clinics will check the vehicle's lights, tyre treads, examine windscreen wiper blades and windscreen wash reservoir levels and top up if required.

They will also confirm any child seats are fitted correctly and provide information on many road safety issues to help you keep your licence and keep you and others safe this winter.

Dates, venues and times are:

Monday, December 17: Asda car park, South Bank, 10am-3pm.
Tuesday, December 18: Windy Hill Lane car park, Marske, 10am-3pm.
Wednesday, December 19: Retail Park car park, Cargo Fleet Lane, 10am-3pm.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

United tame the Terriers in first derby for twenty years

The sound of "there's only one Billy Bremner" rang out, at a packed Elland Road, during the one minute applause for the great man who died on 7th December 1997.

It was the first derby against Huddersfield Town for 20 years.

Leeds United started badly in the poor conditions, though they still had slightly the majority of possession. But Town edged it on chances and quality of play. Fortunately for United, the Terriers had 17 years old rookie, Alex Smithies, in goal for only his second game. The lad allowed a 25 yard shot from Jonathan Douglas slip through his fingers, on 23 minutes, letting in his third goal in only 30 odd minutes play for the club, 1-0.

Radostin Kishishev, on one yellow card and warned a second time late in the first half, was replaced by Jonathan Howson at the start of the second half.

Three minutes after the re-start a cross by David Prutton was collected by Jermaine Beckford who drove past the luckless goalie, Smithies, from six yards, 2-0.

The game just got more exciting as spells of pressure from both United and Town resulted in much goal mouth action. Then on 69 minutes a good save, by Smithies off Prutton, fell to goal machine Beckford who made no mistake from six yards, 3-0.

Beckford was replaced by Tore Andre Flo on 82 minutes and five minutes later he right-footed into the net from six yards, 4-0.

Unfortunately there have not been many Leeds/Huddersfield derbies over the past forty years, mainly because United have been playing in a higher league. What is not widely known is the fact that Leeds played in Huddersfield's blue and white stripes for many years from the formation of the club, until they reverted to blue and gold, the colours of predecessor club Leeds City, in the 1930's.

The match attracted a remarkable pre-Christmas sell out attendance of 32,501. The largest crowd for a third tier game since 1979.

Leeds United 4 Huddersfield Town 0

Friday, 7 December 2007

Canoe man and his family are starting to remember what happened

Posted by Chris:

Back from the dead canoe man, John Darwin, who is currently being interviewed a mile or so up the road from here, at Redcar & Cleveland police headquarters, in Kirkleatham Business Park, used the name John Jones and travelled freely in and out of Britain, according to tonight's Evening Gazette report.

It seems he is just starting to remember what happened to him after his disappearance, five years ago, that started a 200sq mile sea search, costing £70,000 and lasting several days.

A boat dealer has come forward to claim that Darwin put down a £1000 deposit on a £45,000 boat, paid for out of his wife's bank account and gave his address as the family home at Seaton Carew.

The most curious thing is that Mrs Darwin, having first denied knowing that her husband was still alive, then admitted she knew when a picture of the couple, taken last year, came to light. Her response was that her sons would never forgive her, followed quickly by a statement from her sons publicly disowning her. They have now reportedly left their homes.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

£1.479m investment for Coatham links

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council is celebrating confirmation of £1.479million grant from One North East, the Regional Development Agency for the North East of England, to support the development of the multi-million pound sports, leisure and housing development at Coatham Enclosure, Redcar.

The confirmation of the funding, which will contribute towards the cost of installing a proposed combined heat and power unit within the new leisure centre building and fund wide-scale quality improvements to the public areas, marks a key milestone in the delivery of this exciting new development set to commence in spring 2008.

Currently, the area for the scheme is being marked out and made ready for this major new development which will provide a leisure centre with a 6-lane, 25-metre swimming pool, a second exciting leisure pool with flume and water features, state-of-the-art gym with 75 'fitness stations', a children's gym, 5-a-side pitches, performance space for dance and music, beauty salon, medical centre, new public rights of way, seafront apartments, alongside new mixed family and affordable housing and ongoing improvements to the boating lake and seafront promenade.

Tory faint-hearts over Fairtrade

Liberal Democrat councillors at County Hall, Northallerton, today expressed disappointment at the ruling Conservatives’ decision not to make North Yorkshire County Council a “Fairtrade County.”

The Fairtrade Foundation aims to improve the lives of food producers in the developing world by ensuring that they are paid a fair price for what they produce. It has the support of many councils, charities and religious organisations.

Following a Lib Dem motion, the Council’s Environment & Heritage Committee set up a Research Group to look into Fairtrade. It reported back by recommending that the Council aim to gain Fairtrade status for the county.

However, the recommendations then went to the Council’s Management Board, which is made up of senior officers. It advised the Council’s Conservative dominated Executive that it should expand availability of Fairtrade products in its general business, but not to seek Fairtrade status for the county.

Richmond Lib Dem Councillor Stuart Parsons said: “I am pleased that the Council has decided to expand use of Fairtrade products at meetings and in the County Hall canteen. Any use of their products will help bring about a fairer and more decent world economy.

“But it is a great pity that the Conservatives have not opted to go for Fairtrade County status. We could have proudly declared our Fairtrade status to visitors on road signs and council vehicles.

“Our neighbours in Cumbria have already become a Fairtrade County, and Lancashire is working towards it. North Yorkshire is in danger of being left behind, and has missed a golden opportunity to support the local economy.”

Do you need community facilities?

Are you involved with a club, society or other community group that has plans or ambitions for new or improved facilities, or do you own such a facility and have aspirations for its future improvement?

If so, then Redcar and Cleveland Council wants to hear from you, so that it has all the information available to draft new planning policies on the provision of community facilities across the Borough.

A new planning document, the Communities DPD, could protect existing facilities and safeguard sites for new community facilities. The Council is also looking at ways of securing contributions towards community facilities as part of new housing developments but needs to know where the greatest needs are.

You can download a community infrastructure questionnaire from the Council's website, pick up a copy in your local library, or ask for one to be posted to you by calling 01287 650553.

The closing date for responses is 4th January 2008.

This consultation is part of the on-going consultation on the Emerging Options for the Communities DPD which was launched on the 13, November and deals with housing, open space, community facilities and environmental matters.

Responses are also invited on all the issues and options raised in the Emerging Options Report by 4 January 2008.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Super Leeds put three past rock bottom Valiants

David Prutton headed home from 6 yards in the 17th minute, after Leeds had dominated play from the start, 1-0.

Hopes of more goals in the first half began to fade as United took their foot off the pedal and the Valiants increased their share of possession.

After the restart Leeds got a grip of the game again and a right foot shot, from 12 yards, in the 54th minute, gave Jermaine Beckford his 11th league goal of the season so far, 2-0.

An injury to Beckford in the 64th minute brought on Tore Andre Flo for what is said to be his first pain free game for 10 months; Jonathan Howson came on for Radistin Kishishev on 73 minutes, Ian Westlake was replaced by Alan Thompson in the 80th minute.

On 82 minutes Flo volleyed a right foot shot, from 20 yards, straight into the back of the net, 3-0.

This was a much improved performance by United, who have clearly benefited from the 10 day break.

Attendance - 20,301

Leeds United 3 Port Vale 0

Monday, 3 December 2007

Are we the "saddest" area in the country?

A News of the World study places Middlesbrough as the "saddest place" in the country with the Borough of Redcar & Cleveland in third place.

Our area receives a lot of negative publicity about the quality of life and the health of our citizens. The response to this is usually denial and threats to boycott the messengers as seen in today's Northern Echo story.

You can't deny the fact that there are real health and sickness problems in our area; high levels of unemployment on many estates and poor housing.

Redcar's Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesman, Ian Swales (pictured second left), said:

"These results certainly make me depressed. Sadly they're not surprising. High levels of people not working or having to work outside the area, the constant bother of low level crime and some parts being very run down are bound to affect people's health. Teesside has been let down by generations of politicians."

"No doubt people will try to say the results of these surveys are somehow not representative. They will probably be people with positions to protect. In fact the very people who have brought the area to it's current state. For example where are the well paid Civil Service jobs that the Government have been promising for ten years?"

Friday, 30 November 2007

Christmas lights switched on in Redcar tomorrow

The Christmas lights will be switched on in the High Street, Redcar tomorrow (Saturday 1st December) at 5.30pm.

The winners of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council's Talent 2007 will be showing off their dancing and singing skills on the stage in front of the Town Clock from 3pm. The Christmas parade, led by Police Horses and the Royal Jazz Band, will set off from the opposite end of the High Street, arriving at the stage at 5pm.

That will be followed by Community Christmas Carols until 6pm.

Santa will be in a horse drawn sleigh, accompanied by various Disney Characters including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, characters from the Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Postman Pat and Bob the Builder.

Santa will then be in his Grotto on the High Street from Monday, December 3 until Sunday, December 23. Monday to Friday from 12.30pm until 2pm, Saturdays from 10.30am until 2.30pm and Sundays from 1pm until 3pm. Admission is £1.50 which includes a gift.

The Redcar Business Association will be running its Christmas Window Dressing Competition which will be judged on Friday, December 7th.

All of the Council's short and long stay car parks - except Morrisons in Regent Walk - will be free after 2pm each day from Monday, December 3rd.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Significant spending pressure will hit Redcar & Cleveland schools next year

Ian Swales, Lib Dem campaigner for the Redcar Constituency (pictured), expressed dismay today at the Government's grant to local schools for next year. He is writing to the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families to plead for a higher allocation.

He said, "While nationally the Government is giving schools 4.1% extra cash, Redcar & Cleveland schools are only getting 2.1% extra next year. Neither of these figures make full allowance for public sector inflation currently running at 7%.

"It is appalling that our local schools are getting such a raw deal compared with other schools across the country. Falling pupil numbers locally are given as the reason. Even with falling school rolls, classes still need teachers, buildings have to be maintained and office overheads covered.

"The impact is alarming for our schools. They will face the prospect of employing less staff, buying fewer books and resources and cutting back on extra activities.

"It seems inconceivable that the Council will be able to bail out schools from their other resources. It already faces the need for massive cuts in spending because of unfunded commitments and the need to make other efficiency savings to meet reductions in Government grants."

Monday, 26 November 2007

Yorkshire "Pride not Prejudice"

Above are both sides of a remarkable leaflet published by the Labour Party in Bradford who use Yorkshire Day as a way of uniting people in an area where the BNP is active and where there are from time to time racial tensions.

It is so very sad that in the Borough of Redcar & Cleveland Labour are using Yorkshire to create divisions, where there should be none.

Our campaign for recognition of our status as part of the North Riding of Yorkshire is a pragmatic attempt to clear up the confusion that exists as a result of regular changes of name for local government administrative areas. We seek to promote the Borough as part of Yorkshire for all cultural, ceremonial, sporting and postal purposes. We recognise that administratively we are part of the North East Region and we work with four other local authorities in a kind of sub-region, which was named Tees Valley for economic development and strategic planning. We don't seek to change any of this. We are proud of our Yorkshire identity that has been part of the lives of people in this area for more than one thousand years; we encourage people use Yorkshire as part of our postal address; campaign for our real county boundary to appear on maps, alongside our local government areas and we seek to erect Yorkshire boundary signs.

Labour in Bradford have taken Yorkshire Day, an event created by the Yorkshire Ridings Society, which I now chair, and have used it as a symbol to campaign against hate and prejudice. They are to be congratulated for it and Labour in our area should take note of this.

Rather than continue suggesting that we are seeking to change local government and somehow undermine the work of the North East region or the Tees Valley organisation (nothing could be further from the truth), we would urge Labour locally and in the Tees Valley area in general to recognise that we CAN retain our respective Yorkshire and Durham county identities without conflict and without affecting local government administration in any way at all.

Being part of Yorkshire means something good. It is a top tourism brand that is instantly recognisable throughout the world. It is a good postal address that Royal Mail approve of and the Council should think again about abandoning it. Above all, as Labour in Bradford have recognised, it has the potential to unite people.

You do not have to be born in Yorkshire to be a Yorkshireman or Yorkshirewoman. You simply have to accept that our real counties are more than just units for local government and that they exist alongside our administrative areas. As Labour says in Bradford "It's friendly". We Yorkshire folk are proud of our roots, our heritage and yes even our accents."

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Chris on the Politics Show

Posted by Chris:

The campaign for recognition of our Yorkshire status in both Redcar and Saddleworth got a huge boost when the BBC Politics Show gave it coverage over it's entire Yorkshire and Lincolnshire edition.

You can watch it by clicking the following link

But why was Labour MP Austin Mitchell talking about recognition of the real county of Yorkshire and then Humberside in the same breath? I don't think Labour understand what we are trying to achieve. In Redcar quango mad Labour say we should be promoting the area as Tees Valley one day and then the next day they say we should be promoting the Borough of Redcar & Cleveland. On other days they claim we are seeking to re-organise local government when we are not doing anything of the kind.

The Robins nick late win as Leeds fail to take their chances

A first ever visit to Whaddon Road for Leeds United who started brightly with three good chances in the first nine minutes against rock bottom Cheltenham Town.

Chances continued to come as United dominated play throughout the first half but they just could not get the ball into the net.

The second half started in the same way with two shots from Jermaine Beckford in the first five minutes. The Robins followed that with two chances but the Whites were still dominating play. A less than effective first half performance by Seb Carole did not improve in the second half and the normally useful player was replaced by Ian Westlake nine minutes after the re-start.

Fifteen good chances by Leeds went astray in the first 70 minutes to Cheltenham's four. David Prutton was replaced by Torre Andre Flo and Mark De Vries came on for Ben Parker as Dennis Wise tried to break the deadlock with four strikers.

Three minutes later Beckford had the ball in the net but was flagged offside.

United could not score and with goalkeeper David Lucas just recovering from and injured shoulder the Robins nipped in front with a well taken goal by Stephen Gillespe from 30 yards.

Leeds simply dominated this match but failed to score. With a 10 day break now without a game they need to use the time working out why we have lost three out of the last four games and find a way of putting it right.

Cheltenham Town 1 Leeds United 0

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Nick and Chris on Newsnight

How the BBC promoted the contest on their website

Posted by Chris:

With the original, slim version of the Bird of Liberty soaring in the background the contenders for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats faced each other as they stood at lecterns waiting to begin another TV debate, this time with the formidable Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight.

The impression given to viewers was that they had to stand there waiting whilst Mr Paxman presented Newsnight's coverage of the Government's disastrous loss of two CD's containing the personal and banking details of 25million UK residents.

Chris Huhne used most of his one minute, "I want to be leader of the Liberal Democrats because," to remind us yet again that he was an "experienced communicator" who had worked as a journalist and had set up a business. Nick Clegg used the time to express his passionate Liberalism and his wish to lead the party with "energy, conviction and passion."

Mr Paxman introduced the "Calamity Clegg" smear and Chris "apologised profusely" blaming it on a "junior researcher." He went on to accept the explanations provided by Nick and expressed the need for "communicating clearly."

However, it was Nick who expressed views in the clearest terms on immigration and taxation. Chris showed his tendency for populism on both these issues. He also ended up with the last word, once again having to defend his campaign's "Calamity Clegg" attack on Nick. I expect both candidates will have to live with this, courtesy of the media and our opponents, for a long time to come.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Leeds tossed out of the cup by the Bulls

Leeds United's habit of making things hard for themselves continued tonight when Hereford went ahead through Lionel Ainsworth within three minutes in the FA Cup first round reply.

Hereford and Leeds had drawn 0-0 in the first game at Edgar Street in front of Sky TV cameras.

Leeds lacklustre style was in evidence again with only a few bright moments in the first half, when chances by Jonny Howson, Seb Carole, Tresor Kandol and Jermaine Beckford went astray. Casper Ankergren was injured in the 38th minute. Fortunately, for once, United had a goalie on the bench and he was replaced by David Lucas.

They went in at half time to the sound of disapproval from the Kop.

Leeds started the second half a little brighter and an effort by Beckford was saved by Brown three minutes after the re-start, with the Leeds crowd, of only 11,315, unusually quite.

Leon Constantine came on, with 24 minutes left, for Ian Westlake as Dennis Wise gambled once again with three strikers when behind. Midfielder Carole made way for yet another striker, Curtis Weston, in the 83rd minute.

Leeds tried harder in the second half but but failed to play the patient passing game that has brought them so much success this season. League 2 side Hereford looked the most likely to get a result and they deserved their win.

It's the League that counts this season isn't it?

Leeds United 0 Hereford United 1

Monday, 19 November 2007

Lib Dems disappointed by Council Home Insulation Scheme

Liberal Democrat Councillors on Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council have reacted with disappointment to the news that the Council’s new home insulation scheme will only be free to people on benefits.

When the Lib Dems ran the council as main partner of the Coalition until May this year, they introduced free insulation for all homes with residents either under five years old or over 60. However, Labour recently scrapped this scheme.

Following pressure from the Liberal Democrats, the Labour-run council has now introduced a similar scheme for cavity wall and loft insulation, but it will only be free to householders in receipt of benefits.

Leader of the Lib Dem Group Councillor Chris Abbott, said:

“This scheme is good as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough. It is great for people on benefits, but what about people who are just above the benefits threshold?”

“The losers here are the less well-off retired people, who used to get the insulation for free but will now have to pay.”

“In the longer term I would like to see the Council go further, and follow the excellent lead of Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council in providing free cavity wall and loft insulation for all households which request it. There the result has been savings on fuel bills of £150 per household per year, the creation of several new jobs, and a significant cut in CO2 emissions.”

Sunday, 18 November 2007

More desperation from the Huhne camp

Posted by Chris:

The release of the document "Calamity Clegg" by the Chris Huhne campaign and the subsequent row on the Politics Show has once again confirmed my view that Chris is well behind and is resorting to desperate tactics.

To say, as Chris did, that he knew nothing about it beggars belief. Chris should concentrate on what he is standing for and stop trying to give us his misinterpretation of what Nick Clegg stands for.

The postal votes go out this week and most will return them straight away. Time is running out to persuade members and I guess the Huhne camp are seeking to hot things up but these tactics were bound to backfire. The way it was put to Chris on the show cannot have done his campaign any good at all. He was put in a position where he had to say nice things about Nick and was then faced with having to explain why his campaign had published the smear document.

Members are angry at the way Charles and Ming were treated by those who anonymously briefed the media. Sending out papers knocking Nick amounts to the same thing.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Town beaten as two goal Beckford wins it for Leeds

A slow start by Leeds with only one chance (a header by Tresor Kandol) in the first 17 minutes before Johnathon Howson hit a right footed volley from 20 yards, which was tipped over the bar by Peter Brezovan in goal for Town.

This seemed to spark a lacklustre Leeds into action and chances were created but they soon died out. Leeds had most of the possession but they were not playing at their best.

Then on 31 minutes David Prutton sent in a cross which was handled by Swindon Captain Hasney Algofree and Jermaine Beckford smashed in the penalty 1-0.

Beckford was booked on 15 minutes for unsporting behaviour, as were Miguel Comminges and Algofree of Swindon.

Leeds went in at half time with their lead intact but within one minute of the re-start Swindon were level with a goal by Lee Peacock 1-1. The whites were simply not working hard enough.

But on 55 minutes Beckford got his second with a 12 yard volley when he worked well with Kandol 2-1.

Another Swindon booking came on 58 minutes when Christian Roberts fouled David Prutton. Radostin Kishishev replaced Seb Carole on the hour. Swindon's Michael Pook was booked in the 68th minute for a foul on Howson and Jerill Ifil was booked on 70 minutes for fouling Kandol.

Mark De Vries came on for Kandol shortly after Swindon had a goal disallowed for offside in the 82nd minute. The last minute saw Leon Constantine replace Beckford and yet another Swindon booking - Billy Paynter for dissent. Leeds held on to collect another valuable three points and move up to 4th.

The crowd was 27,990.

Leeds United 2 Swindon Town 1

Question Time - Desperation and Depression

Posted by Chris:

There seems to be signs of a little bit of desperation creeping into the postings of some of the Lib Dem Bloggers for Chris Huhne following the appearance of both candidates on Question Time.

They are all rushing in to claim that Chris was the winner. How they can justify that is beyond me. What was obvious to me was that we have two outstanding candidates who came across extremely well in spite of the interruptions from David Dimbleby, which both handled satisfactorily. The programme was a rare opportunity to showcase the Liberal Democrats and viewers had a chance to see two stars of the Liberal Democrats future in action.

The only issue where there was a real difference of ideas was on Trident and for me Nick Clegg expressed the most common sense, whilst Chris appeared opportunistic and muddled.

The worst thing about the Question Time experience was the follow up programme on BBC News 24 afterwards. This is always a second rate anti-climax but it was made worse by the choice of guests. The first was Andrew Pierce, Assistant Editor of the Daily Telegraph who went completely over the top in his efforts to dis the Lib Dems. The second was Lib Dem, Olly Grender, who was far too nice to defend the party against the smears of Pierce.

I was thoroughly depressed by the end after reading all the irrelevant nonsense from Labour and Tory supporters that the BBC put out on the ticker.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Two pictures of Nick Clegg in Newcastle

Nick and John Shipley with the Earl Grey
statue in the background

Glyn Nightingale (left) with Nick and Chris

In the Toon with Nick Clegg

Posted by Chris:

Glyn Nightingale and I spent an interesting afternoon in the company of Nick Clegg and a number of north east Lib Dems, including Newcastle Council leader John Shipley and Freddie Fletcher.

We travelled up to the Newcastle/Gateshead Hilton, where Nick was to address the North East Economic Forum. Nick was introduced by Michael White, Assistant Editor of The Guardian, who chaired the session. "You will be aware he is standing for the Leadership of the Liberal Democrats and he is going to win," Mr White told the audience of north east business people, quangocrats, academics and civic worthies.

Nick's speech was delivered with his usual self assurance and he handled the questions extremely well, though there was nothing hostile from the floor. He received a hearty round of applause at the end.

We then joined Nick for ham and pease pudding sandwiches plus freshly baked biscuits. It was a chance to see him in action close up. Glyn and I took the opportunity to brief him about the progress we have made in the Redcar Constituency and we outlined our plans for the future, one of which was to secure a visit from him.

I talked to Nick about the Lib Dem Blogsphere and who was supporting who. He seemed most interested and asked me a number of questions between discussions with others on a whole range of topics. He was certainly impressive in how he interacted with people. It has confirmed to me that he is the best choice for Liberal Democrats.

We then went on a long walk around the centre of Newcastle, led by John Shipley whom I have known for about 3o years, since our days in Whitby. Nick was photographed at the Earl Grey statue and we left him at the station for his journey to Buxton, via Sheffield, for his appearance on Question Time tonight.

The full list of supporters to date should be on his website over the weekend.

I hope to publish some pictures later, if Glyn Nightingale manages to download them from his mobile.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Where is your pride of place?

There is still time to vote for your favourite location in the Borough of Redcar and Cleveland as part of a unique online poll to try and prove it deserves Pride of Place.

Redcar and Cleveland Council has posted ten top attractions in the Borough, with Roseberry Topping topping the votes cast so far ahead of Redcar's Kirkleatham Museum and Saltburn's Victorian Cliff Lift on the Pride of Place website, as part of the Government's Connect to your Council campaign.

Other Borough choices are the beaches at Redcar and Saltburn, Huntcliff at Saltburn and the town's Victorian Pier, Winkies Castle Museum on Marske High Street, the Saltburn Smugglers Heritage Centre, the South Tees Motorsports Park.

The Pride of Place poll can be accessed until Friday, November 30 by logging on to the Council's website, and click on the Pride of Place link on the home page.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Shakers end Leeds Wembley dream

Leeds United entertained League 2 side Bury at Elland Road this evening with a much changed team in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

Leon Constantine and Filipe Da Costa made their full debuts and Simon Madden made his first appearance at right back.

Leeds started well with Leon Constantine scoring his first goal for the club in the 8th minute. Bury gained confidence from a headed goal by Ben Futcher on 24 minutes and another from Andy Bishop in the 29th minute.

Da Costa, with his first chance to shine, showed plenty of skill but spoiled all his good work four minutes before half time when he was shown a red card for lashing out at Shakers defender Paul Scott. Shortly afterwards United midfielder, David Prutton went into the book for his fifth yellow card this season, which means he will miss the FA Cup replay against Hereford.

It was one way traffic throughout the second half as Leeds took control of the game in spite of being a man down. Chance after chance after chance came and went with the crowd, of 18,809, sounding like 40,000, urging them on.

It was probably the most exciting match of the season so far and it ends United's hopes of a day out at Wembley but never mind, it is the league that is important this season.

Glynis adds:

We've got trophies and we don't need the paint!

Leeds United 1 Bury 2

Monday, 12 November 2007

Green Council wins apple

Redcar and Cleveland Council in partnership with its highways partner Alfred McAlpine Government Services have won a bronze green apple environmental award at the House of Commons.

The success came in the Building and Construction category of the national Green Apple Awards, now in their 14th year, which highlight best practices in various industries covering environmental initiatives.

McAlpine met the criteria by the selection of environmentally friendly materials and recycling residual waste from both the office and roadworks on site.

Nick Clegg is storming ahead

Nick Clegg has reported that more than 1500 supporters have now signed up to back his bid to become Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

On Facebook too, Nick is in the lead. 'Nick Clegg for Leader' currently has 729 members, whilst Chris Huhne has 316.

The latest big endorsement came last week when Baroness Shirley Williams announced that she was backing Nick.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Up the Railway!

Posted by Chris:

My dream tie for the second round of the FA Cup Leeds United v Harrogate Railway almost came off. Down to the last four balls in the pot and both teams still in the draw, I was sat on the edge of my seat when Leeds United or Hereford United came out. But alas, it was the monkey hangers instead of the Railway.

Harrogate Railway got a home draw against Mansfield Town. It is a real shame Leeds, who have yet to get past Hereford, just missed out playing them. It would have been a huge boost for the coffers of the Railway and a huge game locally.

The Railway play at Station View, Starbeck, where I grew up watching them play, with my dad in the late 1950's and early 1960's before I was old enough to go and watch the mighty Leeds. They had a corrugated iron shelter at the back of one of the goals, which I notice is still there. We used to bang on that like mad and shout "up the Railway." I bet they still do. They also had two old railway carriages that were used as the changing rooms.

One day one of the linesmen failed to turn up and my dad was asked to run the line. He got to go in at half time for a cup of tea and I had to wait outside.

My brother Stephen is the local historian and he writes a weekly 'Starbeck Nostalgia' column in the Harrogate Advertiser series. My mother sent me his recent piece on the history of the Railway. It ended with the hope for a dream tie in the next round at home to Leeds United. "Then we will see where my loyalties lie," he wrote. I know how he feels.

Fiona Hall tops the list for Euro Elections

Fiona Hall MEP tops the list of three North East candidates selected by the Liberal Democrats to contest the Euro Elections in 2009.
1. Fiona Hall
2. Chris Foote-Wood
3. Neil Bradbury
The full list for England can be viewed here.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Leeds fail to tame the Bulls at windy Edgar Street

A windy Edgar Street was the scene of Leeds United's first ever first round FA Cup tie and their first ever match against Hereford United.

The Bulls started well and probably should have had a penalty early on. Leeds withstood the pressure and seemed to take control of the game towards the end of the first half, with a patient short passing game, marshalled by Seb Carole who showed excellent skills.

In the second half it was Hereford who had the most chances and earn a first ever trip to Elland Road for the replay.

Hereford United 0 Leeds United 0

Thursday, 8 November 2007

More chances to have your say

The Redcar and Cleveland Partnership and Redcar and Cleveland Council are organising the Borough's biggest public consultation exercise to get views on its first Sustainable Community Strategy.

The Strategy will set the vision for what Redcar and Cleveland will look like in the future and shape the work and priorities of all the Borough's public service providers.

The next series of dates, venues and times to have your say are:

Monday, November 12: The Book Bus at Rosedale House, Nunthorpe, 4.45pm-6pm.
Tuesday, November 13: Roseberry Library, 1.30pm-3.30pm, Greater Eston Area Committee at Bankfields Primary School, 6pm-7pm.
Wednesday, November 14: Guisborough Library, 1pm-3pm, Kilton Area Committee at Brotton Methodist Church, 6pm-7pm.
Thursday, November 15: Redcar Library, 10am-11.30am and James Finegan Hall, Eston, 4pm-6pm.
Friday, November 16: Skinningrove One Stop Shop Bus, 9.30am-noon.
Saturday, November 17: Redcar Leisure Centre, 11am-1pm.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

True Yorkshire Calendar 2008

The True Yorkshire Calendar 2008 is on sale now. The calendar can be obtained postage free by sending a cheque for £4.00 (which includes postage), made out to the Yorkshire Ridings Society, to:

Yorkshire Ridings Society
39 Essex Close
TS10 4BY

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Cherries picked as Leeds get back to winning ways

Another season's best crowd for a Leeds United away game saw the whites get back to winning ways and put three past lowly Bournemouth.

Tresor Kandol opened the scoring in the 4th minute as Leeds dominated the early stages but the Cherries got a grip of the game as Leeds faded a bit and they pulled one back through Jern Karacan on 37 minutes.

Dennis Wise must have worked his magic during the break because United came out a much better side and took control of the second half. Goals from Seb Carole on 54 minutes and a second for super striker Kandol (86 minutes) put the game beyond Bournemouth.

Back to seventh in League 1, on 23 points, plus 15 nicked by the Football League.

AFC Bournemouth 1 Leeds United 3

Emma has been hit by a car outside school

Posted by Glynis:

Our 12 years old granddaughter Emma has been hit by a car close to her School, St Peter's, at South Bank this morning. We don't have much detail at present but she has head injuries and a broken kneecap.

UPDATE 2.30pm: Emma has had a catscan and they are awaiting results. Her leg isn't broken but the bones are chipped.

UPDATE 8.55pm: I have seen Emma at James Cook Hospital. She has a huge bruise on her head and a great big scrape down her back. They may keep her in a couple more days when they decide what to do as they now think she may have fractured her leg.

Emma can't really remember what happened but her cousin Victoria, who was with her, said that she was crossing the Trunk Road at the junction with Normanby Road (at the green man crossing). A car kept coming, hit Emma, knocked her up in the air and she landed on her face.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Association of British Counties calls for a new name for Durham Unitary Council

The Association of British Counties (ABC), a body which promotes the importance of the historic counties to the culture and heritage of the UK, is calling on local councillors to choose a new name for the Unitary Council which will shortly replace Durham County Council and the 7 district councils within its area.

ABC says that the name 'Durham County Council' or 'County Durham Council' would be inappropriate since the area of the new Unitary Council only covers about 2/3 of historic County Durham and actually excludes a large majority of the population of the historic County. The area of the new Unitary Council covers about 2/3 of historic County Durham but excludes a large majority of the population of the historic county. The Unitary Council will also serve a large area of Yorkshire.

ABC is proposing that a new name such as ‘Central County Durham & Teesdale Council’ or ‘Mid Durham & Teesdale Council’ would better reflect the communities served by the new Unitary Council.

Durham County Council and the 7 District Councils were created on 1st April 1974. The Government recently announced that these councils will be replaced by a single Unitary Council from April 2009.

The relationship of the new Unitary Council to the historic counties of Yorkshire and County Durham is illustrated below. The historic counties are shown as colour filled areas with black boundary lines. The new Unitary Council area is show by red boundary lines.

ABC’s Chairman, Dr. Peter Boyce said: "From our perspective, the unqualified name ‘Durham County Council’, adopted by the council in 1974, has always been inappropriate. Only 1/3 of County Durham folk are served by Durham County Council. The council’s area covers the middle of historic County Durham, but does not include large parts of the south-east and north-east of the county, including major towns and cities Sunderland, Darlington, Hartlepool, Gateshead, Stockton-on-Tees, South Shields and Washington. The creation of the Unitary Council is an opportunity to choose a name which better reflects the communities served by the Unitary Council."

Councillor Chris Abbott, Chairman of the Yorkshire Ridings Society, a member group of ABC, said: "About 1/5 of the area of the new Unitary Council lies in the historic North Riding of Yorkshire. Teesdale is often known as the most northerly of the Yorkshire Dales. The new Unitary Council should be proud to serve this beautiful part of Yorkshire. It should not adopt a name which denies the Yorkshire identity of this area."

Peter Boyce continued: "The historic counties are a key part of our cultural heritage and an important source of identity and affection to many people. Local authorities should not choose names which undermine historic county identities. The new Unitary Council can avoid this by choosing a name which reflects the fact that this council will serve the central part of historic County Durham and that part of Yorkshire in Teesdale. Possible names include 'Central County Durham & Teesdale Council' or 'Mid Durham & Teesdale Council'."

The Association of British Counties is a society which promotes the continuing importance of the historic counties to the culture, geography and heritage of the UK. ABC believes that the establishment of an identity for local government which is distinct from that of the historic counties would be to the advantage of both local government and the historic counties.

Dr Herbert Kay

Posted by Chris:

I attended the funeral of Dr Herbert Kay this morning at Acklam Crematorium. It was a Humanist service which celebrated the life of a much loved Middlesbrough GP.

Herb's wife Jean was my predecessor as leader of the Lib Dem Group on Redcar & Cleveland Council. I met Herb an many occasions when I did electrical work at their house and always enjoyed his witty comments. In retirement Herb converted part of his garage into a joinery workshop and he made many quality pieces of furniture.

His daughter brought a couple of his more quirky pieces to the service and spoke about them. One which she showed was Herb's special leaflet spatula which has been much used by local Lib Dem campaigners for the past few years. Twelve inches long by one and a half inches wide, with a specially shaped handle to allow you to keep hold of it, if grabbed by a dog, this wonderful instrument is a vital health and safety requirement for leafletters.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Leeds Leadership Hustings No 2

Posted by Chris:

For the second time in less than two years we travelled to Leeds to attend the Liberal Democrats Leadership Hustings.
On the way we passed a church, I think it was on Scott Hall Road, which had a yellow dayglow poster outside, displaying the words "Looking for a new Leader."

We have certainly found one.

Held in the impressive Civic Hall, with its two owls perched proudly on two white Portland stone spires, it was nice to be back in a proper Council Chamber. It was standing room only once again as members came from far and wide. I was surprised to see Julia Goldsworthy MP and Chris Rennard present.

We watched Nick Clegg arrive, with his huge entourage, as we sat on the wall outside the entrance. We followed him up the stairs and just as we were about to enter the Chamber the fire alarm went off and we all had to march outside again.

We stayed for the speeches and the first two questions and that was enough to confirm that our choice of Nick Clegg was the right one. I don't want to rubbish Chris Huhne, he is clearly a most able and attractive candidate but Cleggy was by far the most passionate and animated of the two. Chris was well received but his monotone delivery is not as inspiring as the more punchy Nick Clegg.

Judging by the sound and length of applause, whilst we were in the hall, Nick came out the winner by a mile.

Blues smash Mighty Leeds unbeaten record

It had to come sometime and it has looked like happening over the past few games. Leeds United have been beaten in a League 1 game.

If it was going to happen then Carlilse was going to be the place. They are riding high and in front of their largest crowd since 1976 they hit three past sleepy Leeds in the second half. Had it been a game of just one half then Leeds would have been worthy winners with a 27th minute goal from Jermaine Beckford but we have to play well for 90 minutes not 45.

We managed to get back to the car, having come out of the Leeds Lib Dem Leadership Hustings early, to listen to the second half on Radio Leeds on the way home. It was just like last season in the second half depressing and inept. Leeds committing needless fouls and then defending weakly.

We have got to bounce back quickly and the trip to Dean Court to face lowly Bournemouth, in another sell out fixture on Tuesday, becomes a must win game.

Carlisle United 3 Leeds United 1

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Be Enterprising

The Redcar and Cleveland Partnership is organising drop-in sessions to offer information on how to benefit from the Borough's Local Enterprise Growth Initiative.

The sessions, which also offer free creche and refreshments, will tell you how your group might benefit from LEGI's Social Enterprise support, generate more income and make a difference in your community.

Dates, venues and times are on Monday, November 5 at South Bank Women's Centre, from 10am-1pm, Tuesday, November 6 at the Sure Start Children's Centre, Saltburn, from 1pm-4pm and Wednesday, November 7 at Redcar Library, from 4pm-7pm.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Labour U-turn on school surplus snatch

So the Labour Government have backed down on the plan to snatch back 5% of school reserves. Good for them but they could have released the news five minutes earlier and we could have pulled the latest edition of Focus from the printer. It carries an item on the issue, that we could have updated. We contacted the printer as soon as we heard the news on the radio today but the page had just been printed.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Gus Poyet joins Spurs

So farewell then Gus Poyet who has left the mighty Leeds United to join the management team at Spurs.

We wish you all the best and thank you for what you have done at Leeds.

It has to be pointed out however, that what may seem to be a step upwards now may well prove not to be the case if Leeds are playing Spurs next season in the Championship.

Fireworks on The Stray

Redcar and Cleveland Council is promising another spectacular Fireworks Night display on The Stray at Redcar on Monday, November 5.

The fireworks, promising to be 'the best show Redcar has ever seen' will be set off at 7.30pm to music with a nautical theme, ranging from Blue Peter to Pirates of the Caribbean, from the Stray car park, in the same spot as last year.

Highlight Pyrotechnics will create a safety exclusion zone stretching 250 metres in both directions, firing over 2,500 fireworks, with 23,354 'aerial effects', rising to a minimum of 30metres to a maximum of 200metres.

A stretch of the Coast Road will be closed to traffic from 6pm, reopening at approximately 9pm.

The Council is organising a free park and ride bus service from both the Majuba Road car park and the car park behind the shops in Marske.

There will be three 26-seater minibuses starting a shuttle service at 6pm from Majuba and one 26-seater also starting at 6pm from Marske.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Lions late come back not enough to catch rampant Leeds United

Any thoughts that the expected departure of Gus Poyet to Spurs would have a negative effect on Leeds United were dispelled when David Prutton fired in from outside the box on 37 minutes. The Lions had a goal disallowed after three minutes and had looked the better side early on.

Three more United goals early in the second half had the largest home crowd of the season (30,319) in raptures. Jermaine Beckford got his first goal in October on 53 minutes, then a brace from Jonathan Douglas (57 and 60 minutes) seemed to put the game out of Millwall's reach.

But Millwall got a grip on the game with goals from Will Hoskins 65 minutes and Ahmet Berkovic 76 minutes. It made for a very nervous last 15 minutes. Leeds never make it easy for themselves but ended winners again in what was the most exciting game of the season so far.

It was also United's second four goal tally of the season and the first League game when they have conceded two goals. 11 wins and 2 draws stretches the unbeaten run to a magnificent 13 games.

Leeds United 4 Millwall 2

Friday, 26 October 2007

Government 'smash and grab' plan on local schools is slammed by Lib Dems

Liberal Democrats have warned that a proposal by the government to take away cash reserves that local schools have built up will damage children’s education.

The government have put out for consultation a proposal to take 5% of the cash held in reserve in school budgets. Many schools build up reserves to invest in new equipment and facilities or as cover for a rainy day.

Liberal Democrat Councillor and local school governor, Mary Ovens (pictured), said: “Frankly, I am amazed the government can even think of doing this. We have a scheme in Redcar & Cleveland for planned expenses but taking money from school budgets in this way is little more than a smash and grab on schools that have carefully planned for the future. The effect could be felt by school children all over the Borough. I will be raising a question in the November meeting of the Council to ask them what the impact on local school budgets is likely to be."

Amongst the worst hit schools would be Beech Grove primary South Bank, Pathways special school Grangetown and St. Dominics Catholic primary Redcar.

Lib Dem parliamentary spokesman, Ian Swales said: “What will they think of next? Taxing schools who manage their money well is an outrage. Once again central Government is meddling in local matters and showing that they are desperate to raise money from just about anywhere."

Ice rink returns to Redcar

An ice rink is returning to Redcar High Street to keep both the young and old entertained during half term, Monday October 29 until Friday November 2.

More than 2,000 skaters took to the ice last year when Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council first put on the attraction.

Measuring 15 metres by 14 metres, the all-weather synthetic polished rink by the Town Clock will be big enough to hold 70 skaters at a time.

The rink will be open from 10am until 8pm daily with sessions priced at £3 include skate hire.

There will be a store of 144 pairs of boots with sizes ranging from those suitable for three to four year olds up to adult size 13

Talent 2007 winners

Dozens of youngsters from across the Borough of Redcar & Cleveland took part in the Council's Talent 2007 competition.

The event was organised in partnership with CPN Music Teacher Chris Nixon and was held at Christ Church, Coatham in Redcar.

The competition was in 3 stages, for Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4/College and University Students.

The judging panel consisted of Pat Denney (Chair of Redcar Business Association), Councillor Sheelagh Clarke (Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism), Councillor Josie Crawford and Councillor Irene Curr.

The winners are:

Key Stage 4/College and University students - Topline Group from Topline Community Arts Project, with Sonia Herlingshaw, Oliver Jameson, Ruth and Deanna Foster, Charlotte Hierons, Anna Hatton, Amy Keenan who performed: "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"

Key Stage 3 was won by a group from Redcar Community College, with Karl Miller, Luke Pitt and Alex Puckrin who sang "Do you know?"

Key Stage 2 was won by Luke and Eve Murray from Martingrove School of Dance, who did the Cha Cha Cha!

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

New insulation scheme for Borough residents

A new insulation scheme is available to all residents within the Borough of Redcar & Cleveland which offers -

- Insulation measures FREE to householders in receipt of benefits
- For those not in receipt of benefits, costs are as follows :

Cavity Wall insulation £99
Loft Insulation £99 (if existing insulation is less than 75mm)
Loft Top-ups £199 (if existing insulation is more than 75mm)
Hot water tank Jackets £10

To take advantage of the offer call Warm & Well on 01642 777976. This scheme's funding is limited so ACT NOW !

Sunday, 21 October 2007

There has got to be a Leadership Hustings in the North East this time

Posted by Chris:

I hear that there is to be another Lib Dem Leadership Hustings at Leeds Civic Hall, at 3pm on 3rd November 2007.

This is a nice venue, which was packed to overflowing when the Leadership Hustings were held there last time. We shall enjoy the day out and a chance to visit Leeds market, even though it clashes with Leeds United's game at Carlisle. Leeds is near enough for us to attend without much travelling but I am led to understand that this is the only north of England Hustings so far planned and there is unlikely to be another.

If this is correct then those responsible for organising them need to have a word with themselves. The north east missed out last time and it did not go down very well at all with local members.

A Leadership Hustings was held in Newcastle when Charles Kennedy was elected. To be honest, there was nowhere near the attendance that the one in Leeds attracted last time but nonetheless we are fast replacing the Tories as the real challengers to Labour in this region and we should not be ignored.

In the two previous Leadership elections, since members got the vote, candidates took the time to visit our area. Both Paddy Ashdown and Alan Beith came to Stockton and Guisborough, during their contest. John Pardoe came to Stokesley Town Hall and spoke to a packed meeting during his campaign to replace Jeremy Thorpe, which was won by David Steel.