Wednesday, 18 November 2015


Stockton Borough Council have issued the following press release:


STOCKTON-ON-TEES Borough Council is asking for residents’ views on ceremonial boundary signage.

The Council’s Place Select Committee began a review in July and as part of this has been gathering information on the boundary signage across the Borough.

Now that this information has been gathered, the Committee is seeking views from the public before reporting its findings to the Council’s Cabinet for consideration early next year.

Leader of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, Councillor Bob Cook, said: “The Select Committee has already carried out some excellent work over the last few months and I would like to thank them for that.

“We know that many of our residents are proud of our Borough’s history and heritage and that’s why we would now like to hear from anyone who has any suggestions about how best to mark the ceremonial boundaries of Yorkshire and Durham.”

Anyone who would like to take part in the consultation should email their suggestions to  or write to PO Box 229, Kingsway House, Billingham, TS23 2YL by 31 December 2015.  To find out more visit 

Chris Abbott adds: It needs to be pointed out that the Yorkshire/Durham boundary is the centre of the River Tees, and it is the real boundary not just the ceremonial one.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Don't let the media men spin any more area confusion

I refer to the recent poll in the local press where the usual media suspects are attempting yet again to impose Teesside upon us.

Last time they split Yorkshire into three versions so it would split the vote to get the Teesside result they wanted and Yorkshire still came out on top. So now they included just two options Teesside or Tees Valley and are claiming overwhelming support for Teesside.

This same bunch of unelected media men have been getting it wrong for decades. The same people have flitted from Teesside to Cleveland to Tees Valley and now they want to impose Teesside upon us again. It is in the vested interests of certain businesses and local media to lump us together as it suits them. It is inappropriate as much of the area is away from the River Tees. It is a rubbish marketing tool that projects the wrong image.

Our major towns are missed off road signs and don't get the publicity they need because of the media obsession with lumping us together. Their only reason is to catch readers/listeners by putting Teesside. For example if you put Saltburn no one in Stockton is interested.

We have a perfect set of names already for our villages, towns and counties we don't need to keep inventing new names.

There is not overwhelming support for Teesside rebranding. People were given only a choice between inappropriate Teesside and the totally inappropriate Tees Valley.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Yorkshire is three Ridings and the city of York

Yorkshire is three Ridings and the city of York.

It is our county and our heritage.

Changes to local and regional government have never resulted in the abolition of the Ridings and there is no evidence that Yorkshire the county as a whole has ever had a local or regional government purpose.

Yorkshire's existence does not depend on artificial local or regional government boundaries. Local and regional government boundaries can be changed at any time at the whim of bureaucrats and government. And so they should as the demographic and economic situation demands. Local and regional government boundaries are for the purpose of delivering services and their boundaries should not determine who we are.

“The identity of our counties is marred by a confusion of geographical and administrative boundaries created in the middle of the last century and perpetuated to this day."                                                                                                                       Association of British Counties

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Yorkshire Day in Redcar

Excellent coverage of Yorkshire Day in Redcar by @zetlandfm. Thanks also to @CoastalView for attending the event.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Yorkshire Day at York Saturday 1st August 2015

Members of the Yorkshire Ridings Society (YRS) will meet at Micklegate Bar at 11.15 am to lead the 39th annual walk around the ‘Bar Walls’ of York carrying the Yorkshire flag.

The Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity will be read at the 4 Bars (Gates) starting at Micklegate Bar (West Riding) 11.40 followed by Bootham Bar (North Riding) Monk Bar (City) and Walmgate Bar (East Riding).

The time 11.40 am for the first reading coincides with the number of years since the first written reference to the Ridings of York in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles. Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity will be read in the four languages used in the area since that time. Latin, Old Norse, Old English, and Modern English.

The ceremonial party then moves on to St Helen’s Square for an afternoon of entertainment in cooperation with York City Council. The Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity in Modern English will be read at 1pm and there will be a reading of Doreen Brigham’s popular poem A Song for Yorkshire by Mrs Judith Preston Anderson, President of YRS and YRS York member Mr Peter Hindle (pictured above at Walmgate Bar).

The Yorkshire Flag presented to the City of York by the Yorkshire Ridings Society after it was
registered by them in 2008 will be flown from the Mansion House on Yorkshire Day.

Fun for all on Yorkshire Day in Redcar

Yorkshire Day (1st August) this year falls on a Saturday and organisers are hoping for a bumper turnout on the day for the celebrations, which take place at the Redcar town clock on the High Street from 10 am.

Leading the proceedings as usual will be actor Chris Foote-Wood who will read the Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity (a statement of allegiance to Yorkshire) at 11.40 am. This equates to 1140 years since the first written reference to Yorkshire appeared in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles of 876.

Chris, who turns up as a different character each year, is pictured as this year’s character, Samuel Plimsoll "The Sailors' Friend" who is said to have been inspired to invent the Plimsoll Line, a safety mark for loading ships, in 1876, while staying in a house on Redcar High Street and now marked by a blue plaque. There will be stalls and other attractions for all the family.

Latex white roses are sold, price £1, for people to wear on Yorkshire Day and all proceeds will be shared between Redcar Lifeboat and Zetland Lifeboat Museum.

Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity 2015

"I, Chris Foote-Wood standing here in the North Riding of Yorkshire declare:

That Yorkshire is three Ridings and the City of York, with these Boundaries of 1140 years standing; 

That the address of all places in these Ridings is Yorkshire; 

That all persons born therein or resident therein and loyal to the Ridings are Yorkshiremen and women; 
That any person or corporate body which deliberately ignores or denies the aforementioned shall forfeit all claim to Yorkshire status. 

These declarations made this Yorkshire Day 2015.

Yorkshire forever,

 God Save the Queen!”

Monday, 8 June 2015

Strong opposition means no easy ride for Labour on Redcar and Cleveland Council

When the election result for Redcar and Cleveland Council was so close, the minor Groups were prepared to work in a rainbow alliance that reflected the way residents had voted.

Under this system cabinet positions would be proportionate to the number of seats won.

Labour rejected this proposal and were handed power for the next four years by the Eston Independent.

A rainbow alliance would have mitigated the Ed Miliband left wing leanings of many in the Labour Group.

To counteract this, the Liberal Democrats, Conservatives and Independents have formed a Coalition opposition group and will work to ensure that policies fair to all of our residents are implemented and that extreme policies planned by Labour are strongly opposed.

We plan to be a strong opposition, which holds Labour to account and gives high importance to matters which will improve the quality of life for all residents and supports business in order to bring jobs and prosperity to our Borough.

The Shadow Cabinet portfolios will not exactly mirror Labour’s, as the Coalition believes that these should reflect the priorities of the Council: improving health, particularly of the disadvantaged; giving choice and control over their care to disabled and older people; increasing education and skills opportunities; and providing high quality environment services, as demanded by residents.

The Shadow Cabinet is:

Area of Responsibility


Shadow Leader of the Council

Valerie Halton

Corporate Resources

Glyn Nightingale

Public Health and Housing

Mary Ovens

Social Care and Wellbeing and
Shadow Deputy Leader

Josh Mason

Lifelong Learning

Steve Kay

Rural Affairs and Tourism

Graham Jeffery

Economic Development, Culture and Leisure

Philip Thomson


Chris Abbott

Community Safety

Stuart Smith

Highways, Planning and

Mary Lanigan

Friday, 29 May 2015

Independent puts Labour in charge of Redcar and Cleveland Council

Voters in Eston ward will be appalled to learn that their so-called “Independent” councillor Ann Higgins handed control of Redcar and Cleveland Council to Labour.

Councillor Higgins voted for Labour’s nominee for Mayor. The new Mayor was then able to use her casting vote to put Labour in all key positions, including Leader of the Council.

Councillor Josh Mason, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said:

“The hypocrisy of Eston Independents is breathtaking. Only weeks after getting elected by attacking Labour, she is now cosying up to them.

“There is no way this is what the people of Eston put her there to do.

“Nevertheless, the Liberal Democrat Group will continue to fight for the best deal for residents across the borough and make the Labour administration accountable for their actions."

Cllr Mason, who was Deputy Leader of the Council between March and May this year, added:

“I am very proud of what the Lib Dems achieved during our brief time running the Council.

“We have been delighted to deliver a Council Tax cut this year, promoted the borough with the Yorkshire brand, and fought for a real pier in Redcar.”

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Youth behaviour problems in the area between West Dyke Road and Roseberry Shopping Centre at Redcar

In response to numerous complaints from residents in the area between West Dyke Road and Roseberry Shopping Centre at Redcar. my daughter Kelly Seaman and Prospective Lib Dem MP for Redcar Josh Mason have been keeping local people informed of actions being taken to deal with nuisance problems and damage being caused by local youths.

We have also reported issues raised with us. and we have also sought to talk to the local youths and advise them about the various youth facilities that are available in the area.                                                                                                  
A couple of examples of incidents reported involved youths taking short cuts through a gate leading to the rear of Oxendale Road and Dovedale Court; damaged  damaged property and sheds being broken into in West Dyke Road, Ambleside Avenue and Westmorland Road; vulnerable residents being picked on and abused. We recently received a detailed response from Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council's Anti Social Behaviour Officer listing the interventions that have been implemented to address the problems and with the exception of a couple of items which refer indirectly to individuals I have posted it below:
  • A number of young people have been identified as being involved in antisocial behaviour and accordingly were issued with warning letters as part of the Acceptable Behaviour Campaign, this also involves being spoken to in front of their parents.    
  • A number of young people have been issued with Acceptable Behaviour Agreements.
  • Warnings in respect of acceptable behaviour for tenants have also been given to those that have Coast and Country tenancies.  
  • I can also confirm that some other actions continue to support intelligence and evidence gathering.  
  • Neighbourhood Policing Teams have stepped up patrols in the area and residents have been circulated with a questionnaire to support the intelligence gathering.
  • Negotiations are currently underway with our partners exploring possible “design out crime” initiatives.
  • The Police continue to use the new Dispersal Powers as and when required.  
  • The issues / concerns in this area are also the subject of a ‘Task and Finish Group’ that reports to the monthly, multi-agency Community Safety Group meetings.  These task and finish groups have proved successful in bringing together a range of agencies / partners to address the issues and identify both immediate and long term solutions / interventions.  This includes looking at diversionary activities as well as enforcement action.
  • The local youth and community centre 25k Centre is close by and this provides regular diversionary activities for young people.  In addition to this Roseberry Square was identified as one of the areas where young people may be interested in taking part in a new boxing scheme designed to get young people off the streets and in to the positive discipline of sport. 
  • I understand that some of the stolen property from the sheds has been recovered and that arrests were made.
  • The Local Authority are currently in the process of purchasing a mobile CCTV.  
  • Coast and Country are currently exploring the possibility of installing security systems to the communal doors of the flats on Roseberry Road.
  • The Antisocial Behaviour Officer and Targeted Youth Support are due to commence a 10 week Ambassador Programme at Redcar Academy.  Such Programme is aimed at those young people at risk of being involved in antisocial behaviour.    

Monday, 23 March 2015

Stan Wilson

Today I received the sad news that my friend and former colleague on Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, Stan Wilson has passed away..
A former Labour Councillor, serving on Redcar Borough Council from 1963 to 1966 Stan became a stalwart member of the Liberal Party in Redcar from the early 1970’s.
Stan, a real character, whom we had known since he had acted as agent in the Cleveland and Whitby constituency at the 1979 General Election, was almost on our doorstep to greet us when we moved to Redcar in May 1984. As we opened the door on the day we moved in there was a card from Stan welcoming us to the town and informing us of the date of the next meeting. 
Stan was my Lib Dem ward colleague serving Newcomen Ward from May 1987 to May 1999 after he had retired to Sowerby following a long career in teaching and youth work. He was a great inspiration to me and many other people whom he encouraged to stand for the Council. He always seemed to have time to stop and chat to everyone he passed in the street or met in meetings. 

For many years Stan acted as a Steward at Lib Dem Conferences and was eventually awarded a life membership of Conference. 
Stan was well known as a keen local sportsman playing football for Redcar Albion, Shildon and for a short spell on the books of Darlington FC as an amateur. He turned out as a playing member of Redcar Cricket Club in no less than five decades.
Stan leaves a wife Stella and two sons Peter and Trevor.
The funeral takes place at Sowerby Methodist Church, Front Street, Thirsk, Yorkshire, YO7 1JQ, on Monday 30th March at 1pm, followed by an internment.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Lib Dems and Inds to pay living wage to Council staff

Liberal Democrats and Independents on Redcar and Cleveland Council today announced a rise in pay for council staff that will ensure all receive a “living wage”.
From 1 April 2015 the Redcar and Cleveland Minimum Wage will be raised to match the National Living Wage, which is £7.85 per hour.
All staff will receive a 2.2% pay rise, except those on £100,000 or more, whose pay will still be frozen.
Lib Dem Cabinet Member for Resources, Councillor Glyn Nightingale (Ormesby ward) said:
“Labour froze pay for council staff in 2008. Now all except those on over £100,000 will get a 2.2% pay rise. And the Living Wage will be introduced.
“People who work for the Council will continue to be motivated to do their best for local people.”
"Council officers have made a major contribution to bringing change in the organisation through the Shaping Our Future initiative."
Councillor Josh Mason, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for the Redcar Constituency and Deputy Leader of the Council, added:
“This move will ensure that all Council staff earn at least a Living Wage. It is also right that those who earn the most do not receive an increase.

“This is part of our commitment to a stronger economy and a fairer society.”

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Lib Dems and Inds serve up historic 1%+ Council Tax cut to residents

Since taking control of Redcar & Cleveland Council with Independent partners, Liberal Democrats have found a way to offer residents a cut in Council Tax bills and made it a reality by voting it through at today's budget setting meeting of the Council.
Labour regularly increased Council Tax when in control, and in 2012 gave Redcar and Cleveland residents the biggest Council Tax rise in the country.
This year, local people will get a cut of just over 1%. This has been done without cutting any services. It is believed to be the first ever Council Tax reduction by the Council.
In return for not raising Council Tax, the Council will get £631,000 from Central Government. In addition, the Council will be using surplus savings to pay for the cut, and not accepting the recommended rise in councillors’ allowances.
Lib Dem Cabinet Member for Resources, Councillor Glyn Nightingale (Ormesby ward) said:
“Labour’s faulty financial planning caused them to make the wrong assumptions about how much money there would be. They hiked up living costs by keeping money in the Council’s coffers and refusing Government money.
“It’s time to start returning the money to residents. And we have found a way to do that without cutting services.”
Councillor Josh Mason (pictured), Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for the Redcar Constituency and Deputy Leader of the Council, added:
“This budget will help to deliver a stronger local economy and a fairer deal for Council Tax payers.

“Ed Miliband talks about the cost of living crisis, so why did his party never do anything about it in Redcar & Cleveland?

Monday, 2 March 2015

Lib Dems offer new hope in Redcar pier fight

Since taking control of Redcar and Cleveland Council, Liberal Democrat Cabinet members have asked officers for a report on the possibility of providing a traditional pier at Redcar.
The Ind/Lib Dem led Council will be looking at basic structures and trying to find a realistic option that is achievable. A feasibility study is expected in the next three weeks.
The Council is examining various funding possibilities but none can be addressed until the pier is included in the Council’s masterplan.
Lib Dem Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Leisure, Councillor Chris Abbott (Newcomen ward, pictured right) said:
“Liberal Democrats in Redcar have a long history of fighting for a real pier in Redcar.
“I was sad to see the demise of the Redcar Pier Association, but residents can rest assured that the fight for a proper pier for the town goes on.”
Councillor Josh Mason, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for the Redcar Constituency and Deputy Leader of the Council (pictured centre), added:
“My family’s roots in Redcar go back over 300 years. Many of my ancestors were involved in fishing and marine professions. This is part of our area’s DNA and it’s important that we celebrate our heritage and promote tourism in the future.”
Lib Dem Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Councillor Ron Harrison (pictured left), said:
“The political will now exists to begin to make a proper pier in Redcar a reality. It’s time regeneration of the borough included things that people ask for. There are exciting ideas in the pipeline that we have asked officers to investigate.”

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Police respond to Labour misuse of resources

Following complaints from Liberal Democrats in Redcar constituency, the Acting Chief Constable of Cleveland is to issue guidance to about the importance of not involving police officers in election campaigns.
This follows photographs published on social media of Labour council candidates and the Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Redcar appearing alongside uniformed police officers.
The Acting Chief Constable replied to the complaints, saying that he was “writing to candidates making it clear that they must not use such pictures in their campaign material.”
Labour should know that this is a misuse of public money and should not be putting pressure on the police to pose for their publications. Labour’s candidate Ms Turley shows a lack of mature understanding of the need for our police force to avoid being placed in a position where their integrity may be questioned.
As an agent and candidate at many Parliamentary and Council Elections in the past I was always told that in no circumstances could the local police be seen in photographs with election candidates.

It is only a couple of weeks ago when Ms Turley Tweeted a faked photograph of her Lib Dem opponents.
As a ward councillor concerned about anti-social behaviour problems, which appear to be escalating on the estate currently being re-developed at the junction of Roseberry Road and Mersey Road, I find it extremely annoying when local officers say they are too busy to attend meetings of the Neighbourhood Action Partnerships
These take place in each Council ward and the police often say they are too stretched to attend them all. Yet they can spare time to be seen around and be photographed with Labour candidates seeking election.
A happy smiling group photograph showing the Labour parliamentary candidate for Redcar, Labour council election candidates in Dormanstown and local police officers was published on Facebook along with a caption announcing the selection of Labour's candidates for Dormanstown Ward.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Lib Dems celebrate Ormesby housing decision

Redcar Constituency Liberal Democrats are celebrating this week following the rejection of intrusive housing plans at Longbank Farm, Ormesby.

The application for 320 houses received widespread objections from local residents, councillors and business and was refused during a planning meeting on Thursday.

Ian Swales MP commented:

“This is a great result for the residents of Ormesby and for local councillors Glyn and Irene Nightingale and Ann Wilson who have all worked extremely hard to ensure the plans weren’t approved.”

Ormesby Ward Cllr Glyn Nightingale and Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources said:

“Alongside our residents, we’ve worked hard to ensure the decision on this application was the right one. The housing plans were intrusive and the application should never have been considered.

“Irene, Ann and I are delighted with the decision.”

Deputy Leader of the council and prospective MP for the Redcar Constituency, Cllr Josh Mason said:

“I have been behind my colleagues and local residents 100%. Labour made some disastrous choices for housing developments in the borough and we’re now working as hard as we can to put this right.”

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Redcar MP Ian Swales praises delivery of major jobs boost

On the day that the Coalition Government's flagship Enterprise Zone programme hits the 15,500 jobs landmark, Redcar MP Ian Swales praises Lib Dem ministers for delivering a boost to the local economy.

Figures released today show that the Tees Valley Enterprise Zone has created roughly 1020 jobs so far, providing a real boost to the local economy in and knock-on benefits for the community, including improved infrastructure and new business opportunities.

Across the country, the Coalition Government's 24 Enterprise Zones have now created more than 15,500 jobs, attracted over 480 businesses and over £2.1 billion in private investment.
The growth has also provided a real boost to the UK's construction sector and supply chain.

Redcar MP Ian Swales said:

"Thanks to joint efforts by Business Secretary Vince Cable and Lib Dem local government minister Stephen Williams, we have seen a real boost to the local economy in terms of more jobs, more innovation and more power to the local community to do what's best for the area.

“This comes off the back of a whole series of announcements by the Lib Dem Deputy PM Nick Clegg of more money being taken out of Whitehall and put direct into the hands of local business and communities, especially through the Regional Growth Fund."

Lib Dem local government minister Stephen Williams MP said:

“Enterprise Zones like Tees Valley have gone a long way in re-balancing the economy, taking the power out of Whitehall's hands and putting it back into the hands of local communities."

“Just a fortnight ago, Lib Dem Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg also announced an extra £13.9m for the Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership via his flagship Growth Deals which Government estimates could deliver up to 9,000 new jobs, 5,000 new homes and generate £300m of public and private investment.”

Monday, 9 February 2015

Redcar Pier Association folds but the fight for a pier at Redcar goes on

It is sad the Pier for Redcar campaign group has folded but:
The fight goes on it is not over.
However, we need to aim for what is achievable and without private investors rushing in to build one a simple pier should be the first step.
A pier like the one at Saltburn that you can walk along and fish off will only cost around £6m. If the Council made a commitment and really wanted to it could facilitate that and the funding can be made available.
There is little chance at the present time to build one with a grandiose leisure facility at the end. But if you aim for one like Saltburn pier it is achievable.
What is preventing progress is the Council is not willing to take it on, produce a plan and facilitate it. If the Council was fully on board and actively trying to make it happen a pier for Redcar is a real possibility.
Cllr Josh Mason, Deputy Leader of Redcar & Cleveland Liberal Democrats and prospective MP for Redcar, added:
“I’ve been a member of the pier association for several years and I’m disappointed to hear the news of its demise.
“We have long argued of the benefits a pier would bring to our town, restoring our seafront to its former glory.”

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

“Redcar Labour Party in Turmoil” - Redcar MP Ian Swales

After months of infighting, Redcar Labour party’s feud over the vastly unpopular selection of a parliamentary candidate from Kent, Anna Turley, finally came to a head today.

After mass de-selection of some of their most senior cabinet members, 10 Labour Party councillors publicly resigned from the Labour party today outside the office of Kent PPC Anna Turley.

The de-selected councillors include council leader George Dunning, deputy leader Sheelagh Clarke and cabinet members Steve Goldswain, Mark Hannon and Norman Pickthall. Chairman of the Fire Authority Brian Briggs and former Mayor Vic Jeffries were also de-selected. Cabinet member Olwyn Peters, former Mayor Wendy Wall and current Redcar and Cleveland Mayor Carole Simms joined the de-selected members in their mass-resignation this afternoon.

The Labour party members staged a protest outside Anna Turley’s office today where they were pictured tearing up mock membership cards and speaking out against the so-called “Labour bullies”.

MP Ian Swales commented:

 “The Labour party in Redcar is clearly falling apart. All we’ve seen since the selection of their unpopular Kent candidate is a very obvious split in their group and some very public in-fighting.

“After all this petty fighting and back stabbing, how can the people of Redcar and Cleveland trust them to continue to run our council? It’s about time the discredited Labour administration was replaced with councillors who care more about their residents and our area than they do about petty politics.”

 Redcar’s Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate and local councillor Josh Mason commented:

“Not surprisingly, Ms Turley was not around today to face the music.

“My party and I are now acting to try and fix this mess before the council spirals further into chaos. A vote of no confidence has been put forward and will play out in the meeting of the full council next Thursday.

“The Liberal Democrats in Redcar are prepared to pick up the pieces of Labour’s mess and we will do everything we can to ensure that the best outcome is reached for local residents.”