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.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Kandol nicks a late winner against the Seagulls

Tresor Kandol celebrated his new contract with a 79th minute winner at Brighton. In a match that lacked passion and atmosphere United ground out their first victory at the Withdean Stadium.

The team, who seem to have been low in confidence during recent games, were not playing well with many passes going astray. However, they pulled off another late result and that is what counts. If you can snatch winning goals when you are not playing well it makes all the difference.

10 wins and two draws now puts us within three points of the playoffs and we have nearly caught up all the other clubs in League One after giving them a 15-point start. That is remarkable progress.

Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Leeds United 1

Friday, 19 October 2007

Ian Swales to back Nick Clegg for Lib Dem Leader

Liberal Democrats Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Redcar, Ian Swales, is backing Yorkshire MP, Nick Clegg, to become the new Leader of the Liberal Democrats:

"I am delighted that Nick Clegg is standing for the Lib Dem Leadership. He would make an outstanding Leader of the Party and he will get my support," said Mr Swales.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Chris and Glynis come out for Cleggy

We have decided that we will be backing Nick Clegg to be the new Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Nick has impressed us during his short period as a Lib Dem MP. He has made is mark right from the start and is the obvious choice for us. We have become impressed with Chris Huhne, since the last leadership election, but as Glynis pointed out at that time, we knew little about him up until then.

Apart from anything else it will be a massive boost for Yorkshire and the north as a whole to have a Lib Dem leader who represents these parts.
Nick has the right image and is clearly light years ahead of Cameron in terms of intellectual ability. We predict he will also put bumbling Brown in the shade at PMQs. Nick needs to make sure he gets the backing of our MPs and if elected they need to be quick to defend him. No more sitting quitely with embarrassed looks on their faces. We need a united team clearly focussed on winning and we are sure that, with Nick at the helm, this can be achieved.
Go for it Cleggy!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Labour tampering with the system again

Posted by Glynis:

This morning our hessian sack, that we have used for the three years that Redcar & Cleveland Council has been seriously into recycling, was taken away and a pack 10 clear plastic sacks was stuck on the door handle.

A letter explained that we had requested this change (we most certainly did not). We are now expected to tie this bag up and fasten it to the weelie bin on collection days. That is okay in theory, but more often than not, my bin is emptied hours before the plastics and cardboard are collected.

Once the wheelie bins are brought in the bags will be left out. I have this vision of bags full of plastic bottles blowing up and down roads. Either that or we will have two bin wagons on our streets at the same time.

The change is because some people did not bother to use the velcro fastening on the hessian sack and plastic bottles often spilled out. Why do they think people will be more inclined to find something to tie up the new bags and then fasten them to the wheelie bin when they could not be bothered to fasten the velcro strap?

The problem round here is not so much people not fastening up the bags, it is the speed with which the collection operatives feel they have to work. When they transfer them into another container some spill out and they don't bother to pick them up.

Why they need to tamper with the system is because when we introduced it, the Lib Dem led Coalition followed the guidance set down by the Labour Government to the letter. We became a Beacon Council and were rated as the best in the north east.

The Labour opposition were seething with rage over this and did nothing but whinge and moan about the system. 80% of residents got fully behind us and participated in recycling but it was the 20% that could not be bothered that Labour encouraged. Constantly knocking the two-weekly collection cycle and promising to return to weekly collection of refuse.

Now they find that we were right all along and have abandoned their promise to return to weekly refuse collection because it will put at least 4% on the Council Tax. Instead they have come up with a barmy plan to just put it up by one half percent and collect refuse weekly for eight weeks of the year, either Christmas or the summer, they have not decided yet.

What they should be doing is continuing with our programme of visiting residents who don't recycle and advising them how to do it. This was working well and they could use the extra money that will be spent on the pointless eight weeks of weekly collection to employ extra people to carry out the advisory visits.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Ming Campbell resigns - our view

Once again we have allowed the two-party obsessed media to call the shots and the panicky minority in the party have got their own way again.

We did not vote for Ming but we accepted that he had won the leadership fair and square and by a large majority. We have given him our 100% support. He was up against it from the start but it was not just him who needed to raise his game. We all did. We can do well in elections against all the odds but we cannot sustain the interest of the media in between. We have failed to find a way of drawing the attention of the media away from two-party game and we have failed to get our message across to the public.

Electing yet another new leader will not make the slightest difference unless we can select someone who can handle the media and get the message across. Charles Kennedy had that skill. Being young, bright and handsome gives you an advantage, it now seems, but this is not enough. The new leader needs something else. He or she needs the total backing of our MP's, Councillors and members. Like Charles, Ming did not get this support, certainly not enough of it anyway.

Once we elect the new leader we all need to get behind whoever it is and give them the support they deserve. We should be quicker to defend and smarter in the way we react to situations.

Our MP's have been excellent in debates in the house, seen by few people, but hopeless at PM questions, when the eyes of the country are on them. They need to get this right. It is never going to be an easy ride for anyone but we all have to get behind a new leader and back them through thick and thin.

Finally we send our best wishes to Ming and thank him for what he has done for us. He is a man of real integrity and great dignity. It is a real shame that he did not get the backing he deserved.

Ming Campbell resigns


President of the Liberal Democrats, Simon Hughes MP said today:

“Ming Campbell has this evening submitted his resignation as the Leader of the Liberal Democrats with immediate effect.

“Over the past two years, Ming has given stability and purpose to our Party. He has hugely professionalised the working of our Party and led its very successful preparations for the next general election.

“Ming has made this decision - as all his political decisions - in the interest of his Party and Liberal Democracy throughout Britain. Every Liberal Democrat owes Ming a huge debt of gratitude.

“Vince Cable, our Deputy Leader will take over as Party leader until a new leader is elected according to our rules. The detailed election timetable will be announced tomorrow.”
Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable MP said:

“During his time as Leader, Ming has earned the respect, affection and gratitude of the Party. This was reflected in the warmth with which his speech was received by the Party conference three weeks ago. The key message of that speech was that the Liberal Democrats are the only Party with the distinctive, positive vision of a fairer and greener Britain.

“Throughout his political life Ming has campaigned for liberal values and social justice and we will ensure that we build on that legacy.”

Opportunity for Young Authors

Budding young authors are being given the chance to spend four days of their half term holiday working with professional writers at the inaugural Redcar Young Writers' Festival.

A total of 15 free places are available for the festival, organised by Redcar and Cleveland Council's Libraries and Arts Development, with the Tees Valley Writers & Publishers Project.

There will be three authors working with the group - poet Bob Beagrie, experienced script and screenwriter Fiona Birkbeck and poet and playwright Andy Willougby.

Anyone aged 11-14 interested in writing scripts, stories and poems of any sort is encouraged can join the four festival workshop days at Kirkleatham Museum, Redcar on Tuesday, October 30 and Wednesday, October 31 and Roseberry Library, Redcar on Thursday, November 1 and Friday, November 2, each day from 10am-4pm.

To find out more pick up a leaflet in your local library or contact Janet Richardson on 01642 444319. Booking forms are available at libraries or by contacting Sandra Reddie, director of New Writing North.

Your chance to have your say

A series of consultation events starting next week will give the public a chance to have their say in helping to develop the Borough's first Sustainable Community Strategy.

Members of the Redcar and Cleveland Partnership and Redcar and Cleveland Council are drawing up the strategy which will set the vision for what the Borough will look like in the future and shape the work and priorities of all the Borough's public service providers.

Partnership Chair Professor Brian Footitt explained: "As well as consultation with stakeholders in the voluntary, community and private sector, there will also be opportunities to find out what matters to local people. We want to know what you think. What are your priorities for making the Borough and your neighbourhood a good place to live."

The 17 consultation events start on Monday, October 22, through to Friday, November 30. You can also have your say on-line, by going to the Partnership website, or the Council website.

Venues and times to have your say:

Tuesday, October 23: aboard the One Stop shop bus behind the Voyager pub, off The Avenue, Guisborough, 1pm-4pm.
Wednesday, October 24: aboard the One Stop shop bus at Station Hotel car park, Boosbeck, 9.30am-noon.
Friday, October 26: Laburnum Road library, Redcar, 12.30pm-2.30pm.
Tuesday, October 30: Skelton library, 10am-noon.
Wednesday, October 31: aboard the One Stop shop bus at Kilbridge Close shops, New Marske, 1pm-4pm and Rye Hills School, 6pm-8pm.
Thursday, November 1: aboard the One Stop shop bus near Lingdale Village Hall, 9.30am-noon.
Wednesday, November 7: North Skelton Village Hall, 6pm-7pm.
Thursday, November 8: aboard the One Stop shop bus near the Village Hall, Moorsholm, 1pm-3pm.
Friday, November 9: Brotton library, 10.30am-noon.
Tuesday, November 13: Roseberry library, Redcar, 1.30pm-3.30pm and Bankfields Primary School, Eston, 6pm-7pm.
Wednesday, November 14: Guisborough library, 1pm-3pm.
Thursday, November 15: Redcar library, 10am-11.30am.
Friday, November 16: Timms Coffee House, Skinningrove, 9.30am-noon.
Tuesday, November 20: Chaloner Primary School, Wilton Lane, Guisborough, 6pm-7pm.
Friday, November 23: Dormanstown library, 9.30am-11.30am.
Monday, November 26: Redcar library, 10am-noon.
Friday, November 30: Sainsburys, Guisborough, 11.30am-1.30pm.

For more details, log on to or telephone Tracy Calvert at the Partnership on 01642 444241.

Donating to the Tories - you must be bonkers

Posted by Glynis:

I heard on the news this morning that a Judge has ruled that an £8million donation to the Conservative Party must be paid back because the man who left it to them, in his will, was not of sound mind. Hmm I should say so!

Chance for youngsters to be creative

Young people get the chance to have starring roles in an innovative year-long arts and drama project that starts at Freebrough Community College at Brotton on Tuesday, October 16.

Independent film director Ronak Singh will co-ordinate regular Tuesday after school sessions, entitled Act On It!, to create short films based on issues and topics chosen by the students.

It will be the first project in a packed Creative Links programme, devised by Redcar and Cleveland Council's Arts Development and Extended Schools units for young people who have a creative dream but don't know where to make it a reality.

Students at Laurence Jackson School, Guisborough will enjoy taster sessions on Thursday and Friday, October 25 and 26 for another of the exciting schemes, Boom Dang. This gives 11-18 year olds the chance to learn the skills of Boom Dang drumming and street and contemporary dance.

To find out more, contact project officer Lisa Bean on 01642 496424 or e-mail.

Regional praise for Council's Traffic Management

The Department of Transport rates Redcar and Cleveland Council's arrangements for the management of road traffic as the best in the North East.

An assessment of network management duties by the Department has given the Council the highest score, 73%, of any of the eight local highway authorities in the region.

The Council has a duty to manage planned roadworks and prepare for any unplanned incidents in order to limit the impact of congestion on traffic flow across 90 miles of main roads and 330 miles of minor roads.

The Council was praised for the level of liaison undertaken with other organisations such as the emergency services and the bus operators and for the coordination of roadworks with utility companies.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Is this the most selfish bit of parking ever?

A local resident brought us this picture today of a vehicle that is occasionally left parked, in this position, at the bus stop in Troutbeck Road, close to the junction with Windermere Avenue, Redcar.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Wilko kicks England into Rugby World Cup Final

Jonny Wilkinson got his kicking right when it counted and England are through to the Rugby World Cup final. A superb effort by a team that was written off. "Swing low sweet chariot."

England 14 France 9

Rhinos are the CHAMPIONS

Well done Leeds Rhinos 33 points to 6 victors over St Helens in the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford. What an exciting match and what a brilliant second half performance!!! "Marching on together"

Leeds United fail to take their chances against the 'O's

When the Football League docks you 15 points you have to grind out results any way you can and today Leeds United were lucky to scrape home with a draw at Elland Road.

Leyton Orient deservedly took the lead in the 9th minute with a goal by Sean Thornton, from a free kick but the lad found himself sent off for an elbowing offence in the 32nd minute.

Leeds put the pressure on and Seb Carole scored his second goal of the season on 55 minutes. 10 man Leyton Orient survived a penalty, 10 minutes from time, when Tresor Kandol sidefooted it yards over the net. This inspired the 'O's who deserved more than they got out of this game. Orient will feel aggrieved that a shot from Adam Boyd crossed the goal line but was disallowed.

United had plenty of chances and the referee was kind to them with the disallowed goal, the penalty and the sending off, but they failed to make the most of it.

To have a crowd of 29,177 for a League 1 match, when there is a major England international on live at Wembley, England are in the Rugby Union world cup semi-final later and the Rhinos are playing in the Super League grand final at 6pm, is amazing.

Leeds United 1 Leyton Orient 1

Friday, 12 October 2007

Council takes action against flytippers

Redcar and Cleveland Council successfully prosecuted 68 flytippers last year, as it tackled a total of 4,305 incidents, which cost £352,972 to clear up.

Tyres, chemicals, building materials, furniture and household rubbish are just some of the items that crews have to deal with in places as diverse as laybys on the A171 and Skippers Lane Industrial Estate to open space in Dormanstown and Kilton Lane.

The Council has joined forces with the Environment Agency in a region-wide crackdown targetting criminals posing as waste collection businesses.

By law, all businesses must be registered with the Agency if they carry, collect or dispose of household, commercial or industrial waste.

Under some laws anyone who employs a private company to take away their waste must make sure the firm is registered to do so or they could face a £5,000 fine.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Labour claim that Yorkshire is bad for business

Posted by Chris:

An article (read it here) in tonight's Evening Gazette once again quotes the Labour leader of Redcar & Cleveland Council, George Dunning, claiming that business people had advised him that using Yorkshire as part of the postal address was "sending out the wrong messages."

In other words Labour are claiming that Yorkshire is bad for business. This bizarre excuse for dropping Yorkshire from the postal address just does not stand up to scrutiny.

The article was in response to my call for them to reconsider this and I point out that it does no harm at all. We can work with the Government created north east and Tees Valley in just the same way as ever but it does no harm at all to also get the best from our geographic position in Yorkshire, particularly for tourism purposes. Yorkshire actually means something.

None of these business people, who George Dunning claims have advised him have come forward and explained their reasoning. George refuses to say who they are.

Could it be that is not the real reason for doing this. Is it rather something more petty than that. My first reaction was that it was a spiteful decision and a number of people have agreed with that.

There is another reason doing the rounds at the town hall that backs up the view that it was done for spite. It is being said that the decision to propose the motion was taken in a fit of pique when a Labour Councillor ordered business cards from the Council and they came back with Yorkshire as part of the address.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Sportsability sessions earn a grand boost

Young people across the Borough of Redcar & Cleveland are cashing in thanks to two pots of funding that reward bright ideas.

The Council-run Youth Opportunity Fund and the Youth Capital Fund have allocated over £250,000 to 79 successful applications since the funds were launched at the start of the year - and there's still over £180,000 left to allocate.

The highest award in the latest round of grants went to the Saturday morning Sportsability Club, which attracts over 60 young people with physical and learning disabilities to Redcar Leisure Centre.

Co-ordinator Neil Young, a Council Sports Development Officer, has received £7,360 to improve equipment for the two groups, eight-16 year olds and 16 and over, who enjoy the two-hour sessions, from 10am-noon.

The California Youth Centre's plan to create an exciting new garden area at Eston has received £6,000 towards the project, which will be developed by Groundwork South Tees, while the Whale Hill Community Association's Youth Club has received £3,600 towards installing a dividing wall in the main hall and new sports kit.

The young carers project, The Junction at Redcar, has been granted £5,000 towards its activities and Connexions, Redcar has received over £2,300 to enrol eight young people as Middlesbrough Angling Club members, provide them with fishing equipment and coarse angling licences.

Guisborough Town Football Club's expansion plans, running teams for under 10s to under 18s, has received a £2,000 grant and the "Overbeck" youth inclusion project, who are creating a public artwork at the Allendale shopping parade at Overfields, was given £2,000.

A panel of young people is meeting every month until the end of next March to examine applications for 13-19 year olds, assessing under four categories - sport, culture, recreation or volunteering, according to the five principles of Every Child Matters - staying safe, being healthy, enjoying and achieving, economic wellbeing and making a positive contribution.

The Youth Opportunity Fund wants to involve young people, especially hard-to-reach young people, in identifying positive activities, places to go and things to do. The Youth Capital Fund aims to enhance existing provision or establish new youth provision for young people, with individual grants, up to £400 or group grants.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

So solid Leeds keep Darlo out

A much changed Leeds United took on a decent Darlington side in the "do dah" cup and held on to win.

A crowd of 7,891 attended, which is about double Darlo's normal gate.

It was a chance for United's new signings, Paul Huntington and David Lucas to impress and that they did. It was also a good opportunity for a look at some of the younger players. The defence looked solid and centre back Huntington headed the only goal of the game, from a corner, early in the second half.

With just over half an hour to go Portugese winger Filipe Da Costa came on for his first run out and impressed with his jinking runs.

The future is looking good for the men in white.

Darlington 0 Leeds United 1

Lots to do at half term

Playschemes have been arranged in the Borough of Redcar and Cleveland during the October half-term break for children aged five-12.

There are two sessions each day - 10am-noon, 1pm-3pm - with a 50p charge to cover refreshments. A parental consent form needs to be completed on the first visit. Call Redcar and Cleveland Council's Children's Information Service for further details on 01642 771173.

Dates and venues are:

Monday, October 29, Tuesday, October 30: California Youth Centre, Eston and St Hilda's Church Hall, Mersey Road, Redcar.

Wednesday, October 31: Locke Park tennis pavilion, Redcar and Lingdale Village Hall.

Thursday, November 1: Lingdale Village Hall and Normanby Methodist Church Hall.

Friday, November 2: Normanby Methodist Church Hall and Carlin How Community Centre.

There will be spooky goings-on in Kirkleatham Museum, Redcar at half term.

On Tuesday, October 30, you can make a spooky skeleton hand that moves, ready for Hallowe'en and on Thursday, November 1, you can create a scarey ghost to decorate the garden. Craft sessions are at 10am-noon, 1pm-4pm.

Are you brave enough to come along to Guisborough Forest and Walkway for a night-time fright time on Wednesday, October 31.

From fire eating demons to wicked goings-on, a night of fun is guaranteed for all, brought to you by the Friends of' Guisborough Forest and Walkway. Tickets, priced £2, can be bought in advance from the Visitor Centre.

A free park and ride service will operate from Belmont House, Guisborough to the Walkway, starting at 5.30pm.

The annual Pageant of Light, a procession of music and light with this year's theme, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, is at Saltburn Valley on Sunday, October 28, starting at 5.30pm.

Organised by Redcar and Cleveland Council's countryside wardens, in conjunction with the Friends of the Valley to mark the end of British Summer Time, it will also include performances by Earthbeat, the theatre company made up of adults with learning disabilities.

There are two half term workshops at the Visitor Centre - on Tuesday, October 23, from noon-3pm to make a lantern and on Thursday, October 25, from 1pm-3pm to make a Lion, Witch and Wardrobe mask. Workshop entry is 50p.

On the night, meet at the Cat Nab car park and don't forget to bring a torch.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Time Travelling around Kirkleatham Village

School children are being given the chance to become time travellers and explore Kirkleatham Village to find evidence that links the area to the Second World War, the 18th century and as far back as medieval times.

The educational journey begins with a week of archaeological, environmental and historic activities, starting on Monday, October 15, and is expected to stretch several years.

The Kirkleatham Village Archaeology Project is a partnership between Redcar and Cleveland Council's countryside and museums services, Tees Archaeology and the local community.

The work makes a perfect link to the National Big Draw Week, as Kirkleatham Museum hosts The Big Archaeology Draw for all the family on Sunday, October 14, from 10am-3pm.

Throughout the following week, schools are being encouraged to spend a morning or afternoon with the project, helping with the series of excavations and investigations around the village, looking for evidence from three main periods.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Labour MP confirms Council advice on Coatham Links covenants

Vera Baird QC MP has published the outcome of her investigation into the covenants on the land at Coatham Links on her web site.

She has concluded (though she states it is the advice of the Land Registry) that what the Lib Dem led Coalition Council said about them is right, although she starts off by spinning the line that we had promised to make the legal advice public but didn't.

Vera Baird knows perfectly well that the Scrutiny Committee that asked for the advice wanted it made public, as did every member of the Council at the time. What she doesn't say is none of those Councillors are lawyers and were unaware at the time that such advice is meant for those acting for the Council, who in turn are acting for the public. The QC advised the Council that it was not in the public interest to publish this advice.

As a top QC Vera Baird knows this and should accept that Councillors were acting honourably in following the legal advice received. They had no choice and could have faced punishment by the Standards Board had they gone against this advice. It contains advice that may be used in court on behalf of the public. Does Vera Baird advise her clients, whom she acts for in court, to make public the advice she gives them before it is played out in court?

Anyone can argue anything in court, if they are prepared to pay for it. The group fighting the proposals are not speaking on behalf of the public as a whole and have delayed the scheme long enough with a whole series of failed legal challenges. They have cost Council taxpayers an absolute fortune and all their candidates in the recent elections were defeated heavily.

The ironic thing about all this is that one of the covenants was placed to protect the view of a convalescent home that was demolished in the 1950's. Since then a swimming pool was built in front of where the home stood (since demolished) and the Mungle Jungle buildings have also been constructed.

Gordon Brown - the Video

Watch the new Lib Dem video it is amazing.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Gordon Brown chickens out

Posted by Chris:

Well there we are then Gordon Brown has chickened out of calling an election.

As Maureen Rigg, Lib Dem group leader on Stockton Council points out, Council staff have been taken off other jobs to prepare for a possible election. How much has this cost?

What a waste of time and money!

He has ruled out an election for this year and next but he has not taken my advice, as if I expected he would, to avoid much of the criticism, he is getting and will continue to get, and agree to a fixed term Parliament.

The fact that he has been able to set all this speculation going and then duck out when the polls don't look as good as they did is more than enough reason to take the decision out of the hands of the Prime Minister.

Well at least all the hard work Redcar Lib Dems have put in, just in case he did call an election, will not go to waste. Unlike the work done by local councils, we have saved time doing the type of things that will help us to do even more when the election does come.

Glovers almost halt Leeds United's perfect run of home wins

For the 5th time this season Leeds United left it late to keep up their unbeaten run and climb to within 6 points of the league leaders.

But their perfect run of home wins this season was nearly brought to an end by Paddy Ashdown's men, who for much of the game looked like the best team. Yeovil certainly deserved a draw after their first ever appearance at Elland Road.

Once again though, the crowd of 27,808 was lifting the rafters with noise and this clearly kept, what must have been United's tallest ever team, going right to the bitter end.

Fifteen minutes from time Dennis Wise threw on giant sized strikers Tore Andre Flo and new loan signing Mark De Vries to play alongside tall front men Jermaine Beckford and Tresor Kandol who had both been having a less than good game.

Whilst the mighty Viking, Casper Ankergren, played a blinder in goal, keeping yet another clean sheet, Dennis ordered route one football and that is what he got. Yeovil must have thought they had got a well deserved draw but high balls were going in from the left and from the right then bang! In the 89th minute a Jonathan Douglas free kick from the left, winged over and De Vries headed home on his Elland Road debut for Leeds.

Leeds United 1 Yeovil Town 0

Friday, 5 October 2007

Welcome back Michael Meadowcroft

Posted by Chris:

Nigel Ashton brings the best news of this month so far. Former Liberal MP for Leeds West, Michael Meadowcroft, has joined the Liberal Democrats.

What an inspiration Michael was when he won Leeds West. He was everywhere at Liberal events in Yorkshire and the Liberal Assembly. I remember he was a tough questioner, along with David Shutt (now Lord Shutt of Greetland), on the panel when I first went for approval as a Liberal Parliamentary Candidate in 1978.

I was very disappointed that Michael did not join the party after the merger but better late than never. Welcome back Michael.

Was David Cameron's "ad-lib" speech scripted?

Paul Walter has questioned the impression given by many in the media that David Cameron's speech was unscripted. He points to a Daily Mirror piece, written by Kevin McGuire which suggests that the speech writer was seen receiving congratulations from fellow Tories outside Euston station.

Throughout the speech David Cameron was certainly moving his head from side to side, continuously, in the same way that speakers do when reading from an autocue.

Recycling Surgeries

Redcar and Cleveland Council's Recycling Team hosts a series of advice surgeries at libraries this month. Dates, venues and times are:

Thursday, October 11: Loftus, 11am-noon, Roseberry Shopping Centre, Redcar, 2pm-3pm.
Friday, October 12: Skelton, 11am-noon, Guisborough, 2pm-4pm.
Tuesday, October 16: Marske, 11am-noon, Laburnum Road, Redcar, 2pm-3pm.
Wednesday, October 17: Redcar, noon-2pm.
Friday, October 19: Ormesby, 2pm-4pm.

New bus services have been given the green light

Plans introduced by the Liberal Democrat led Coalition before the Council elections in May are finally in place.

Redcar and Cleveland Council hopes a new bus service to be launched next month is just the ticket for dozens of would-be bus passengers who have been left standing for over a year.

The Council has been given the green light by the Traffic Commissioners to run the service, which will link the communities of Easington and Lazenby, as well as the villages of Liverton Mines and Skinningrove, into Redcar from Monday, November 12.

The service will be operated by a 25-seater, with wheelchair access, and become the first fare-paying service operated by the Council's Integrated Transport Unit.

The 784 will operate a return, limited stop service from Easington to Redcar on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while the 760 will run a return service from Lazenby to Redcar on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

A fixed term Parliment is Gordon's way out of this embarrassment

Posted by Chris:

There is a way that Gordon Brown could save face if he does decide not to call a snap General Election, and risk becoming the shortest serving PM, by agreeing that there should be a fixed term Parliament.

He saw the merit in handing over responsibility for setting interest rates to the Bank of England. This move, long advocated by the Liberal Democrats, distanced the Government from a lot of the flak associated raising interest rates.

Having a fixed term for Parliament will work in a similar way. It would put a stop to the endless speculation about the date of the election, by agreeing a date now for May or June 2009. It also would save him from the flak he will undoubtedly get which ever way he decides to go now.

If he calls a General Election now he will be accused of cynically using the system to suit his own party political interests. If he doesn't he will be accused of being a coward.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Free Burma

We are making only one blog posting today in support of the Free Burma campaign.

Free Burma!

We send our best wishes and support to the people of Burma who are involved in a peaceful revolution.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Anger has spread to Wales at the Labour decision to delete Yorkshire from the Council's postal address

They are even angry in Wales about the Labour decision to remove Yorkshire from Redcar and Cleveland Council's postal address. We were handed a copy of the following letter (also pictured) at a meeting in York tonight. It appeared in the Yorkshire Post on Monday 24th September:

Crime against Yorkshire

From: John Coduri
Liantrisant Road
Pontypridd, Mid Glamorgan
South Wales

"I am angry at the remark made by Councillors in Redcar and Cleveland who voted to delete "Yorkshire" from the Council's address. Hung, drawn and quartered would not assuage me or comfort me at this crime.

And their weak excuse about development and strategic planning says it all and shows up their complete ignorance as to the value of "Yorkshire".

Let us hope that they will be chucked out at the next election, headfirst."

No harm was done by the Council using Yorkshire as part of its postal address but a great deal of harm is being done by the decision to delete it and there is no sign of the anger subsiding.

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 £3.50, made out to the Yorkshire Ridings Society, to:

Yorkshire Ridings Society
39 Essex Close
TS10 4BY

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Super sub Westlake stuns the Latics

Leeds United's never say die attitude paid off once again with another winning goal in the dying seconds. Super sub Ian Westlake came on for Alan Thompson in the 90th minute and scored with a superb volley in the 4th minute of extra time.

Eight wins out of nine and one draw puts United just four points short of the play offs, having given the others a 15 point start.

Oldham Athletic 0 Leeds United 1

Monday, 1 October 2007

Sporting chances at half term

Redcar and Cleveland Council's Sports Development Team is offering plenty of sporting chances for the schools' October half term holiday.

There will be multi sports camps at Rye Hills School, Redcar on Monday and Tuesday, October 29 and 30, St Peter's College of Maths and Computing at South Bank on Wednesday and Thursday, October 31 and November 1, both running from 10am-3pm, priced £3 a day. All sessions will involve coaching by qualified coaches followed by games.

Laurence Jackson School, Guisborough will host an athletics camp on Thursday, November 1 and Friday, November 2, also from 10am-3pm, priced at £3 a day.

The camp, organised in partnership with New Marske Harriers, is a unique opportunity for young people to learn the skills in running, throwing and jumping events.

Are the Police taking the Mickey?

Posted by Chris:

People who claim that the Police fail to respond when they report minor crimes will be interested to learn about this bizarre Police initiative.

Cleveland Police and Redcar & Cleveland Council work together to help reduce crime and there are Government induced Public Service Agreements in place that set targets for crime reduction.

On criminal damage the annual target for reduction in Redcar & Cleveland is, I think, 17.5% and I understand that we are missing the target by about 50%.

A report to today's meeting of Main Scrutiny from R & C's Safer, Stronger Communities Partnership stated:

"Findings from the strategic problem profile on criminal damage has resulted in changes to the approach taken on recording by Cleveland Police."

What has actually happened is that the Police are seeking to eliminate some of the incidents so that the figures can be reduced. They now send a police officer to "challenge and visit every reported incident of criminal damage in order. Findings suggest that approximately 10% of reported incidents should not be categorised a criminal damage."

One of the problems they have found is that Registered Social Landlord, Coast & Country Housing, that has a significant number of properties in the Borough, have been insisting that tenants report damage to their properties and obtain a crime number before the landlord will repair the damage. The Police, who clearly do not investigate these crimes, have simply handed out crime numbers on request, regardless of whether the damage was done by the tenant themselves, or it was only accidental damage done by a youngster playing football, for example. In other cases people seek crime numbers to claim on insurance.

In order to deal with this problem the police have started to investigate each and every one of these incidents, about 480 last month, not to catch the culprit but simply to delete from the list those that are not categorised as criminal damage. Obviously I do not condone false reports of criminal damage to the police to avoid paying for it or to claim on the insurance, they are , in fact crimes in themselves, but surely they should be concentrating on other things?

We posted recently about a garden fence, fronting on to West Dyke Road car park, that was damaged by a car, whose driver, failed to stop. When Glynis visited the householder she advised her to report it to the Police. I had the lady to my surgery last week and she told me that the Police had simply said that she should take it up with the Council as it was "the Council's car park." The Council, of course, says it is "not responsible for criminal damage caused by an individual."

The lady is not happy and is faced with paying for the damage herself. Reports in this blog, or in our newsletter Focus, have prompted one resident to telephone to say that he witnessed the incident. It was caused, he said, by a female driver, in her fifties, driving a red car but that was all the information he could provide.