Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Question time at Area Committees

Redcar and Cleveland Council's five Area Committees give a chance for the public to ask questions in an hour-long open forum.

Written questions can be posted to the Council's Community Development Co-ordinator Julian Feakes at Fairway House, Limerick Road, Dormanstown, TS10 5JU or by email

Dates and venues for the next cycle of meetings is:

Redcar: Wednesday, June 4 at Sacred Heart RC School, Mersey Road.

East Cleveland: Wednesday, June 11 at Gleneagles Community Centre, New Marske.

Greater Eston: Tuesday, June 17 at Ravensworth Junior School, Normanby.

Kilton: Wednesday, June 18 at Moordale Court Community Centre, Lingdale.

Guisborough: Tuesday, June 24 at Belmont Primary School, Lauderdale Drive.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Disaster as the Mighty Whites fall at the last hurdle

With Leeds United selling all their allocation of 36,000 tickets for the League 1 Play-Off final ticketless United fans had to nip down to Donny for one. Many of them were seen in the sparsely populated Donny end, proudly wearing Leeds colours. It was a bit like the scene on any day in Doncaster where there are always lots of fans wearing Leeds shirts in the streets.

The Mighty Whites nearly lifted the Wembley roof with boos when the League Chairman, Lord Mawhinny, walked onto the pitch to shake hands with the Leeds players, who looked at his lordship with stony faces.

But the rest of the match belonged to Donny. They outplayed United with pure passing football; they were quicker in the tackle and got into the game much faster than the Mighty Whites.

The first ten minutes were all Doncaster and the mighty Viking, Casper Ankergran, twice in one minute had to snatch the ball from the feet of Donny players who were through on goal. United rode out the storm but never looked like scoring. The chances they had never troubled the Donny goalie, ex-Leeds man Neil Sullivan.

Donny came out for the second half and immediately went on the attack. Disaster struck United when Donny forced a corner and James Hayter headed in, only two minutes into the second half, 1-0.

United tried but were simply not good enough on the day and Sully was clearly the master of the Donny goal area. He grabbed every ball that found its way in.

After a long and courageous season, when the Mighty Whites clawed back the 15-point deficit in the shortest possible time, it was the spell of lost matches at the end of last year, following the departures of first Gus Poyet and then Dennis Wise, that spoilt it for Leeds.

In terms of points earned United did enough to earn promotion and it is a bitter pill to swallow that it was not enough to take us up. They did well to turn around the deficit too, in the play-off semi-final against Carlisle but it was always going to be a lottery at Wembley and United could not pull a winner out of the hat.

At least next season we start with the same number of points as the rest of the teams in lowly League 1. Let us hope that we can sustain the stability that Gary McAllister brings to the club. Marching on together.

Oh dear! This means Donny Rovers are playing in a higher league than the Mighty Leeds. Well done to them, it is nice to see another West Riding team doing well and playing in a super new stadium.

Attendance 75,132

Doncaster Rovers 1 Leeds United 0

Friday, 23 May 2008

Get ready for recycle now week

Redcar and Cleveland Council is ready to encourage residents to recycle more household waste during Recycle Now Week from Monday, June 2.

The Council's Community Waste Liaison Officer Barbara Webster will be at Asda, South Bank on Tuesday, June 3, from 10.30am-1pm promoting bags for life.

She will be at Morrisons, Redcar on Thursday, June 5, from 10am-12.30pm and at Station Square, Saltburn on Friday, June 6, from 10am-2pm, promoting waste minimisation and the benefits of recycling

Monti, the Council's recycling mascot, visits three primary schools, Skelton, Ormesby and John Batty, Redcar on Wednesday, June 4, encouraging children to reduce, re-use and recycle.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Newcomen Primary School building for the future

A Redcar primary school, excited at the prospect of a planned £5million rebuilding programme due to start later this summer, has been given another boost by Government inspectors.

Newcomen Primary School, says the Ofsted report, is "a good school with some outstanding features. Children make good progress in all aspects of their education, particularly in their personal development which is outstanding."

The report adds: "The pupils are polite, friendly and helpful. Their behaviour is exemplary. They are justly proud of their school and enjoy their education. They view the school as an oasis of peace in a challenging world."

Parents, too, are pleased with Newcomen. One parent told inspectors: "I have nothing but praise for this school and its dedicated staff."

The leadership of headteacher Barbara Linthwaite and her management team is "good" and the report says: "In the last four years, the headteacher has moved the school forward significantly.

"She has a vision of a school that challenges individual pupils to develop their learning skills and understanding of the wider world. This is shared by the highly committed staff team. Teaching and learning is good and in some lessons outstanding. This enables the majority of pupils to achieve well."

Mrs Linthwaite is delighted with the Ofsted verdict. "The report is a wonderful testament to the hard work of everyone connected with the school, pupils, parents, all staff and governors.

"It was also very rewarding to see Ofsted congratulating the school for continuing to provide quality for the pupils during the disruption caused by the building works.

"We are all delighted and the report has strengthened our feelings of empowerment and excitement as we take the school forward to our new build."

Redcar and Cleveland Council's Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Education Councillor Ian Jeffrey said: "Life is never easy for a school that is on the brink of such a major rebuild, but I'm delighted at how well Newcomen has done and that all their good work has been rightly recognised by the inspection team."

Council choose Guisborough to host Yorkshire Day parade

Redcar and Cleveland Council has announced details of its plans to celebrate Yorkshire Day on Friday, August 1 - with Mayors from all over the White Rose county.

The Council has accepted an invitation from the Yorkshire Society to host the annual event, which brings 250 civic dignitaries to a civic celebration and church service.

The Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism Councillor Sheelagh Clarke said: "We're hoping it will be a lovely day for all of us - and we're keeping our fingers cross that the sun shines."

The day will begin with the Council's newly-elected Mayor, Councillor Mike Findley, welcoming the visitors to Guisborough and lead a parade along the town's Westgate to a church service at St Nicholas Parish Church.

The invited guests will then be given a tour of Gisborough Priory, which will be the backdrop for a series of official photographs to mark the occasion before a special lunch is served at Laurence Jackson School, Guisborough.

The Yorkshire Ridings Society, a separate organisation, will be holding its readings of the Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity in Redcar as normal and selling artificial white roses in aid of Redcar Lifeboat. Full details will be provided soon.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

We're on our way Wembley - two-goal Jonny Howson wins it for Leeds

Nineteen years old Jonny Howson was the toast of Leeds when he turned around Monday's one-goal deficit from the first leg of the League 1 play-off semi-final at Elland Road and then banged in the winner in injury time at Brunton Park.

Leeds United looked like a different team as they started the second-leg, with the same line-up. They were compose, patient and disciplined. They won the headers, controlled midfield and played a slick passing game.

Dougie Freedman, who had a hand in both goals, shone out with his clever touches and unselfish play. He really is the new Bobby Collins or Gordon Strachan.

In the 9th minute Freedman's well placed pass, from outside the penalty box found Howson who fired in from five yards to level the aggregate score, o-1.

A 12th minute cross from Bradley Johnson reached the head of Jermaine Beckford but his response was weak. A 19th minute volley from Neil Kilkenny was caught by Blues keeper Keiran Westwood.

Carlisle came close with a couple of chances that tested Casper Ankegran and the Viking did well to stop a goal-bound shot from Marc Bridge-Wilkinson on the stroke of half-time.

Leeds began strongly in the second-half and within a minute Freedman fired in a screamer, from 30 yards that was caught by Westwood. Prutton tried one a minute later, which sailed over the bar. It was Beckford's turn to fire over the bar shortly afterwards.

A header from Carlisle's Danny Graham in the 50th minute was caught by the Viking.

A 51st minute shot by Kilkenny, from just outside the penalty area, went well wide. A minute later he fired in from 30 yards but this time it sailed over the bar. Beckford had a shot from 25 yards in the 57th minute that also went over the bar.

Carlisle began to put the pressure on around the hour mark but their efforts were well defended by Leeds.

On 75 minutes a one-two with Beckford nearly came off when Freedman fired in from 25 yards but it was deflected for a corner. A series of three corners ended with a smart header by Johnson that went wide.

On 80 minutes a Carlisle free-kick was easily dealt with by Leeds and an 82nd minute shot by Leeds skipper, Jonathan Douglas, was deflected for a corner.

Then just as everyone was expecting the whistle to blow for a period of extra-time and the possibility of a nerve-wracking penalty shoot-out, Freedman combined once again with Howson who fired in the winner and sent us all leaping in the air with delight, 0-2.

United are on their way to Wembley, after giving all the other teams in League 1 a 15 point start on them. Only 90 minutes and either Southend or Donny stand between mighty Leeds and a quick return to the Championship.

Attendance 12,873 (1600 Leeds)

Carlisle United 0 Leeds United 2 (aggregate 2-3 to Leeds)

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Post Office consultation branded a sham

The news that all 37 post offices scheduled for closure in Teesside and surrounding areas will in fact close has been greeted with disbelief by local Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Ian Swales.

He said "there has been a tremendous campaign to keep a number of these post offices open particularly the four in the Borough of Redcar and Cleveland.

The fact that the Post Office management have refused to listen to any protests proves that all the decisions were already made. The consultation process was a sham.

It would have helped if MP's had voted to delay the process in March when they had the chance. However, not one of our local MP's backed the call.

I welcome the news that Redcar and Cleveland Council is aiming to support the communities involved. We still have to see the details but whatever they do will hardly compensate for the loss of a Post Office.

I am also disappointed that they have not mentioned Roseberry Square, Redcar where the loss of the post office through the renewal of the shopping centre is affecting far more people than the other closures in the Borough."

One million still losing out despite Chancellor's by-election budget

Commenting on the Chancellor's plans to compensate low paid workers who lost out when the 10p income tax rate was abolished, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Ian Swales said:

"This Government's tax policy has descended into a complete farce.

"The abolition of the 10p rate was designed to help Labour win the election that never was. Now this by-election budget is designed to help them cling on to Crewe in next week's vote.

"The Chancellor is desperately trying to backtrack from the disastrous decisions of the Prime Minister but has still hasn't managed to get it right. This u-turn leaves 1.1 million of the lowest paid workers losing up to £100 each.

"We can have no confidence in either a Prime Minister or a Chancellor who continue to make tax policy on the hoof, while still leaving the poorest out in the cold."

Monday, 12 May 2008

Dougie Freedman's last gasp goal gives Leeds hope as Blues win first-leg

Blogged Live.

Elland Road is packed, the crowd is in good voice and the first leg of the play-offs is about to start. Leeds United kick-off with super striker Jermaine Beckford back in the side after being sidelined for four matches with an ankle injury.

Carlisle's Marc Bridge-Wilkinson hit the bar in the seventh minute, from 18 yards, when he picked up a cross from Danny Graham.

Dougie Freedman came close in the 11th minute when he collected a cross, 20 yards out, turned and fired in one move, which was tipped round the post by Carlisle keeper, Keiren Westwood. In the 13th minute he chested down a long pass and fired in a superb volley that was caught by the keeper.

Carlisle's Scott Dobie is booked for a foul on Lubomir Michalik in the 22nd minute. Carlisle on top in terms of possession and attempts on goal.

29th minute Freedman picks up the ball just inside the Carlisle half, passes to Beckford, who shoots from 25 yards, tipped round the post by Westwood.

Shot from Carlisle's Simon Hackney in the 31st minute is deflected in, 0-1.

39th minute, shot by Jonathan Douglas after great work by Kilkenny, saved by Westwood.

42nd Minute Kilkenny puts Beckford through, saved by Westwood.

Half-time 0-1.

Grumble - we have just seen on Sky that the goal came from a corner. It should never have been given. The ball was put out of play by a Carlisle player being challenged by Michalik, who never touched the ball.

Four minutes into the second half and United are scrambling about their own penalty area like they don't know what they are doing. It all ends in disaster with Bridge-Wilkinson stabbing the ball in from six yards, 0-2.

57th minute Beckford is replaced by Tresor Kandol. Becks is furious.

United are pressing but Carlisle are defending well. Crosses are going in but the Blues are holding firm.

67 minutes - Westwood saves Carlisle again when a misplaced back header from a Carlisle defender was on its way in.

19 minutes to go and a penalty claim is denied as David Prutton attempts a shot from just inside the penalty area, it bounces off a Carlisle defender. Two minutes later and the crowd call again for a penalty as Freedman is bundled over in the same spot.

77th minute, Prutton is replaced by Seb Carole.

78th minute, a long range shot by Bradley Johnson is deflected away.

82nd minute, a long range shot by Kilkenny, over the bar.

85 minutes - United get a free-kick just outside the penalty box. Kilkenny sends it goal bound but it is headed away for a corner. Two corners taken, Westwood saves them both. He has played a blinder.

89th minute - Andy Hughes replaces Jonathan Howson.

Goooooal! In the last seconds of the game a scramble in the Carlisle penalty box ended when Dougie Freedman manages to push the ball into the back of the net with his right foot, 1-2.

Huge relief!!! Leeds have lost and deserved to but we are still in here with a chance after yet another last gasp goal by the Super Whites. We now only have to claw back one goal, instead of two, when we face the Blues again on Thursday at their place. Unfortunately, they have the best home record in League One. It is going to be tough but we can do it.

This was Carlisle's first ever win at Elland Road.

Attendance 36,297.

Leeds United 1 Carlisle United 2

Work on the Wesmorland Road Allotment's fence put back another month

The painting of the rusty iron rail perimeter fencing, around the Allotments in Westmorland Road, was due to start 1st week in May but due to workload of the contractor these works have now been put back to the second week in June.

The Allotment holders are being informed that the fencing will be removed and a temporary fence will be erected whilst the fence is being painted. This may compromise security for a short period. The tenants have also been asked to remove anything they have attached to the fence ahead of the works progressing.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Super Leeds sink the Gills

Leeds United supporters surrounded the statue of Billy Bremner to let Gillingham fans know exactly what they felt about the 15-point deduction and their Chairman, Paul Scully's gloating comments when the Football League's penalty was endorsed by the vested interests of rival clubs.

Billy's statue is situated right outside the entrance/exit to the away fans corner. It was all light hearted stuff and the fans where hamming it up for a film crew who were there to record it. It could have turned nasty when half a dozen bobbies got in behind to move them, unnecessarily, off the pedestal but no-one was bothered:

15 points who gives a stuff?
We're Super Leeds and we're going up!

United had overcome the penalty by amassing 91 points, which should have seen them automatically promoted. The prize of a trip to Wembley now awaits the Super Whites if they can carry on this winning run for the two games against Carlisle. Then we can really show the world what we think about the Football League "family."

38,256 packed into Elland Road, the Football League's biggest crowd of the season, to watch United play Gillingham.

The first half was a scrappy affair with the teams packed into an area about the size of the centre circle for much of the time. United found the Gills hard to break down and paid the price on 20 minutes when nippy striker, Simeon Jackson, took advantage of an error by Paul Huntingdon, then skipped across the front of goal and blasted the ball past the helpless Viking, 0-1.

Backed by the noisy crowd (whose rendition of 'Marching on Together' made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up), United got on top in the second half. The introduction of Seb Carole for Peter Sweeney, in the 69th minute, made a difference and it was Carole's cross to Bradley Johnson the equalled things up. Johnson hit a superb volley from just outside the penalty box, 1-1.

United boss, Gary McAllister, rested a number of players and brought in youngster Scott Gardner for his first game since August and Tresor Kandol came back into the starting line-up. Gardner made a nervy start but by the second half was making some exciting runs down the flank that had the Gills on their toes.

Rookie, Fabian Delph, came on for Jonathan Douglas in the 76th minute and looked good.

Kandol looked low in confidence and took a bit of stick from the crowd at times. He looked hesitant in making passes, when he helped out in midfield, but all that went out of the window, with two minutes to go, when he collected a pass from Andy Hughes, slipped the Gills defence and walloped the ball into the back of the net, 2-1.

Gillingham had to win this game to stay up. In the end it did not matter because Cheltenham won against Donny so the Gills were down anyway.

United go into the play-offs as the team in-form and with the Arbitration Panel's decision still rankling, our hopes are high for a swift return to the Championship against all the odds.

Leeds United 2 Gillingham 1

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Leeds lose appeal - now let's get on and win the play-offs

Leeds United have lost their appeal against the deduction of 15 points. Three reasons given by the arbitration panel are bizarre.

* United agreed in writing to the 15-point decision.
* took too long to get around to the arbitration
* it would be unfair to the other clubs pushing for promotion to give Leeds the points back at this late stage.

United had no choice but to agree. They would have been out of the League if they hadn't signed. They have been arguing since 30th August for an appeal and did everything they could to get to this stage. The other clubs have benefitted from this unfair and as yet unjustified penalty placed on the Mighty Whites.

If a team other than Leeds gets promoted it will be without really earning it. Our job now is to make sure United win through. It's us against them and that is the best possible incentive for Leeds to get through the play-offs.

If Swansea take the Championship trophy without beating Leeds on points then they cannot in all fairness take real credit for their achievement. If the Swans get three points tomorrow or if Leeds don't win against the Gills then Swansea deserve the title and good luck to them.