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Bill Crosby

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  1. I am delighted to be supporting Contract Gym and Fitness in Bedlington Station who again are delivering a Christmas Gift Give Away. Gym owner, Lindsey Jordan, is behind the scheme which is now in it’s third year. Lindsey and her team have been collecting donations of nearly new toys and clothes, as well as unwanted gifts since October. Over thirty less well off families have been supported in each of the last two years and even more are expected to benefit this year with the gym overflowing with donations. They include bikes, games, dolls houses, scalextrics, and much more for children and adults. The Give Away takes place on Sunday 6th December at 4pm and is open to any family in Northumberland that need extra help at Christmas. Track and trace details must be provided and the numbers entering the gym at any one time will be limited in line with Tier 3 restrictions. It is also requested that people “Only take what you need to allow others to do the same.” This is a brilliant scheme from a local business that despite having a difficult year of trading is still giving something back to the local community. Lindsey has done an amazing job and I would to thank her for all the smiles that she will put on children’s faces on Christmas morning.
  2. There have been a lot of positive noises recently regarding Bedlington once again having a railway station. The detailed consultation taking place is a part of that as is the £1m invested in site investigations by the County Council. I am old enough to remember catching a train from Bedlington Station and talk about passenger rail services returning to Bedlington goes back decades. It is something I can certainly recall from the 1990s. The car was king in the three decades before that as more roads were built to accommodate the growth in ownership. However, it became clear that rail needed to be looked at again as congestion on the roads increased. I did think that the Labour government elected in 1997 would have taken the opportunity to repay the faith of North East voters who returned 28 Labour MPs out of a total of 30: Wansbeck and Blyth Valley among them. But it didn’t happen and the efforts of the then Wansbeck MP, Denis Murphy, were rebuffed time and time again. That one of Blair’s Transport Secretaries was a North Tyneside MP makes it even more surprising that no progress was made, and by 2010 when Denis Murphy stood down, the only passenger train that had chugged along the tracks was a special charter to see benefits that have yet to be realised. Since then I have picked up on the odd muttering from the current Labour MP but nothing that convinced me that Bedlington would again have a railway station. Given that the end of the line is Ashington, I assumed that the tub thumping would be incessant and heard across Wansbeck from Cambois to Clifton. But I do sense that a funding decision is now close. I took part in a visit from the previous Transport Secretary to Bedlington Station in 2019 along with my Independent colleagues, Councillor Robinson and Councillor Wallace. The current Transport Secretary has posted a video of support over the weekend. I am not too concerned about who politically is due the credit and whether the current drilling of bore holes will have more impact than a conversation in a smoke-filled room 25 years ago. Bedlington as always is my only focus. However, that it appears the funding will be confirmed under a Conservative County Council and by a Conservative Government must be one of the biggest ironies in Northumberland’s political history. A missed opportunity for Labour is a huge understatement in those circumstances. Little wonder the town returned three Independents in 2017 to work with whichever party took control and to ensure a better Bedlington.
  3. The last few days have been dominated by the Government’s decision not to provide free school meals this week. Given coronavirus and the uncertain economic outlook, I do believe this to be the wrong decision and much more thought should have been given to the issue. The Government has had since the summer to come up with a plan for this half-term. If they are arguing that free school meals are not the best way to provide support, then alternatives should have been explored. As that hasn’t happened, free school meals should have been provided to those that would normally receive them, but I am also concerned for those families that don’t qualify and have seen their incomes fall dramatically. The County Council’s handling of the situation has been equally poor. Other local authorities have offered a voucher scheme across their whole areas but this hasn’t been the case in Northumberland. The Tory administration and Senior Officers have seemingly been unable to agree to this, which I find staggering and something which I am beginning to wonder may be the problem with making investment available for the town centre. Now, instead of a voucher scheme, Councillors have been allowed to make up to £2,000 available from their Member’s Allowances, but since this was only announced on Sunday it didn’t really give anyone the chance to think about how to roll out something really fit for purpose. If any group needs specific support then please do get in touch and I will be happy to assist with the funds that are available to me. That said, one scheme for the whole county would have been much better and is an absolute must for the Christmas holidays. The Government and the County Council have to be more joined up on this and not rely on the fantastic generosity of the numerous Bedlington businesses and voluntary groups that have stepped in this week. My thanks to all of those involved, which once again demonstrates Bedlington’s fantastic community spirit.
  4. As many of you will be aware, Cambois Primary School suffered a break in last month which caused significant damage and resulted in IT equipment used by pupils being stolen. It was a shocking incident and Councillors Robinson, Wallace and I, were united in wanting to do something to help. Having spoken to the Headteacher we agreed to each provide £500 from our Councillor allowances. This £1 500 will help to ensure that the school can replace equipment as quickly as possible and also provide more opportunities for children to be learning IT skills. I would like to think this is a small contribution to the fantastic community spirit that was shown in response to what happened. I was pleased to see on this occasion that the perpetrator was quickly apprehended by Northumbria Police and given a custodial sentence. I do hope that the individual in question reflects on the disgust that the local community felt about his mindless actions.
  5. Yesterday full Council saw Glen Sanderson elected as the new Council Leader with a new Deputy also in place alongside some changes in the Cabinet. Hopefully this will be the beginning of some normality after weeks of upheaval that has got in the way of delivering for residents. On that very issue of putting residents first, Russ Wallace asked a question about whether the current administration were in agreement about providing funding for leisure facilities in Bedlington given that Newbiggin Sports Centre has recently had £1.5m approved from the Council pot; great for Newbiggin but what about Bedlington was the point. The response from the Cabinet Member was an extremely positive one and in-line with our previous discussions about the need to include leisure in the town centre redevelopment. Bedlington was additionally recognised as a town that had been forgotten and there is a definite commitment from the current administration to address a fact that we all recognise. What was less positive, however, was an intervention from the Labour Leader, who failed to take the opportunity to offer any support for Bedlington and instead was more concerned about asking who had written the response for the Cabinet Member. A FOI request is apparently going to be submitted to find out and I can only assume that the Labour Leader thinks officers at the Council have nothing better to do at the minute than deal with something that has never previously been queried in my three plus years as a County Councillor. So, yet again, it appears that Labour are simply not prepared to prioritise Bedlington. Well, there is no need for anyone to submit a FOI request to confirm something that we already know!
  6. Let me be clear; there is a commitment from the current political administration to develop a swimming pool in Bedlington. It has been discussed and agreed over several months in response to the changes to the town centre scheme. That an unnamed Northumberland County Council spokesperson has seemingly questioned this is a matter to be resolved within the corridors of power at County Hall and something that needs to happen now. Russ, Malcolm and I have already written to the Acting Chief Executive to seek answers and clarification. Our message is that improved leisure facilities are a must for Bedlington and are wanted by residents It is not acceptable that other towns have the equivalent of two leisure centres and smaller places have leisure facilities that our town does not. After decades of Labour failing to deliver there is at last an opportunity to provide Bedlington residents with a leisure offer that other areas take for granted. This is through funding that otherwise would have been spent on retail and the additional resources from government which were recently announced. If more is needed, then that is where the Council’s capital programme comes into play as it has previously for large scale infrastructure projects across the county. If that can be done for Ashington, Berwick, Blyth, Morpeth, Hexham and Ponteland then our turn is long overdue. Bedlington should receive equal treatment; in fact, more than that is required given unequal history. That is why I stood for election and that is what I am continually seeking to achieve. As a footnote, I have recently received emails from ‘Mary Whitehouse’ and ‘John Profumo’. That is the level of the murky and ridiculous antics taking place in Northumberland at present. I am not interested in petty score settling. Bedlington is my only concern and it deserves better.
  7. As some of you will have read there have been some significant changes to the town centre re-development project as a result of Covid-19. High street shops have been suffering for some time now due to changes in shopping habits and it was always going to be difficult to attract investment but that had been achieved with Bedlington recognised as a new market by retailers. Sadly, Covid-19 changed that as the retail sector contracted and some businesses ceased trading. This resulted in my two fellow Bedlington Councillors and myself having in depth discussions with the current administration as to what we could do in order to move the development forward for the benefit of Bedlington residents. Over a period of months, we developed and agreed a new direction for the town centre that would replace elements of the retail with the leisure provision that Bedlington lacks in comparison to neighbouring towns. This will include a swimming pool and a new modern library in the heart of the town centre. A supermarket remains part of the development as do units that will front the market place. With the extra £2.5m that the Council received from the Government for Bedlington there will now be in the region of £10.5m available for the re-worked project, which given the circumstances is something that I am delighted about. At the meeting of full council yesterday there was a vote of no confidence in the Council Leader, Peter Jackson, which I did not support. This was put forward by the Labour Leader who also made a ridiculous accusation that the votes of Bedlington Councillors had been bought by the proposed investment in the town centre. Let me put the record straight on those two issues as I will not be lectured at by Labour or any other political party. I did not support the vote of no confidence for the quite simple reason that no evidence was provided by Labour or any other Councillor that spoke to back up allegations and rumours. In my experience it would be the equivalent of convicting someone without a proper trial and consideration of the facts. If evidence had been presented that wrongdoing had taken place, then I would have voted differently but there was nothing more than references to what had been reported in the press. My Bedlington colleague Councillor Russ Wallace put it rather succinctly yesterday when he spoke: “What we don’t have yet are facts. Until we do, we should get on with what we were elected to do.” If other Councillors are happy to be complicit in what I thought to be a kangaroo court that is a matter for them. On the accusation from Councillor Susan Dungworth that my vote was bought for the investment I find the hypocrisy and irony off the scale. What have Labour ever done for Bedlington? How many decades have they had to build a leisure centre in the town? During the most recent Labour administration the Portfolio Member for Leisure was a Bedlington based Councillor and Ashington got a replacement leisure centre yet Bedlington got nothing. Whilst Ian Lavery chaired Ashington Football Club it benefited from more than £1m of investment as part of the Arch scandal that took place under Labour. How much did Bedlington Terriers get? The answer is nothing and that is what Labour has delivered for Bedlington. The investment in leisure in Bedlington is the result of the hard work of myself and my two colleagues over several months who are motivated only to do what is right for Bedlington. Yesterday was a political side show as a result of Conservative party infighting and Labour opportunism. I have no interest in either and will continue to serve Bedlington residents to the best of my ability and to address the complete failure of representation in the past.
  8. It has come to my attention that there has been a lot said on social media concerning Dr Pit Park and the antisocial behaviour associated with it. One of the main concerns is that the park is not locked overnight. At the end of last year, I met with NCC Officers and West Bedlington Town Council (WBTC) to explore, amongst other issues, the possibility of having the park locked at night. Following this discussion, NCC said they would go away and research how much it would cost to have someone open and lock the gates every morning and evening. WBTC were quite happy to contribute to this but nothing has been forthcoming from NCC, so I have recently followed this up and am awaiting a response. Another question often asked is why there is no CCTV in the park. I have asked the Police and NCC about this and the reason given is that, in their opinion, the number of incidents reported in the park does not justify the installation of CCTV. I understand that some residents have contacted the Police using the 101 system but have given up because they were on the telephone too long. There are, however, other ways to contact the Police which have been pointed out by them many times at their ‘Cuppa with a Copper’ sessions; if the incident is not an emergency, it can be reported using the on-line system using the link below. https://beta.northumbria.police.uk/advice-and-info/neighbourhood-issues/anti-social-behaviour-asb/ If any resident is genuinely aggrieved at the length of time they have been on the telephone to the Police without getting an answer then could they please let me know the date and time of the call, together with their telephone number, and I will ask the Police why that call was not answered. If residents can justify the installation of CCTV, I will happily help by using my small schemes allowance but then we have the problem of who will be able to view it. This is governed by various bits of legislation, to include RIPA 2000 and GDPR, and for that reason I would not be allowed to view it, neither would any member of the public, so If anyone can suggest how to get around this I will certainly explore getting it installed. I will continue to try and get this matter resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, but we do need the help of the public as well and people do need to report incidents as they happen so that the Police can build up a picture of incidents in the park. As an example, apparently no one actually reported last year’s fire in the Pavilion at Dr Pit Park to the Police so no official crime was logged and therefore there was nothing for the Police to investigate, despite many people allegedly witnessing it; we do need to consistently log calls so that the Police can build up a dossier of incidents/antisocial behaviour that would then warrant them dealing with the area as a ‘crime hot spot’. With specific regard to the incident in the Pavilion, I understand that the Fire Service were called at 1.17pm that day and subsequently mobilised 3 appliances. The first appliance was there at 1.24pm and the crew dealt with a small fire on the exterior of an external toilet door; this fire was extinguished at 1.31pm. Supporting appliances were not required. 15 minutes was spent ventilating the Pavilion and the incident is logged as having been concluded by 1.45pm. Whilst not wanting to detract from what could have been a very serious incident, the fire was not as extensive as that reported via social media. Looking to the future, residents may want to consider trying to form a ‘Friends of’ Group. People living close to and visiting Westlea Cemetery were encountering similar problems and they got together to form ‘The Friends of Westlea Cemetery’, who now meet on a monthly basis. The formation of this group has given them access to funding and help from other sources and they have had a lot of success in resolving many of the problems they were encountering, to include antisocial behaviour. If there are like-minded people in the surrounding area of Dr Pit Park, perhaps they could do likewise and I will do everything I can to help them get this off the ground. If anyone would like to contact me regarding any issues, you can reach me by private message on Facebook, Twitter @billbedeast, e-mail at bill.crosby@northumberland.gov.uk or telephone/text me on 07779 – 983656.
  9. Last year, Armed Forces Day was commemorated in Bedlington for the first time and there was a decent turn out of service personnel and veterans, with the event including a buffet lunch at Bedlington Community Centre complete with music from the era. This year, Armed Forces Day is to be commemorated on Saturday 27 June 2020 and we are hoping to include a small parade involving both serving members and veterans ending at the War Memorial on Bedlington Front Street. It would be fantastic if more veterans, regardless of what branch of the Armed Forces they served in, could attend to make this year’s event bigger and better than last year. If anyone is interested, or knows of any veterans who would like to attend, could they please contact me with their details? You can reach me by private message on Facebook, Twitter @billbedeast, e-mail me at bill.crosby@northumberland.gov.uk or telephone/text me on 07779 – 983656. Let’s make it a great turnout this year!
  10. As some of you may know, there will be a by-election for two vacancies on East Bedlington Parish Council. Both vacancies lie within the Bedlington East Ward. The election will take place on Thursday 4 July 2019. There are four candidates for the two positions, two Labour Party and two Independent candidates. As you would expect, being an Independent Councillor myself, I am fully supporting the two Independent candidates, Keith Scantlebury and Helen Bradford. I have known Keith for many years and he has always had an interest in his local area. He is currently Chair of Burnside Estate Residents Group, which has been instrumental in raising funds to enhance the lives of the residents and children that live there and has been so successful that they have seen a drop in the level of anti-social behaviour on the estate. He also sits on Bernicia’s Community Investment Panel and has been a regular attendee at the East Bedlington Parish Council meetings, so he has a good idea of what would be required. I have known Helen for less time but since I took over the Chair of the Friends of Gallagher Park two years ago she has served with me on that committee trying to make the park better for the community. She has been an active member in organising the planting of wild flowers and tree pruning to make the walking trails more accessible and she has also been very proactive in helping to raise funds that has enabled the construction of a new play area in the park, work which is underway currently. This is the play area, as some of you may recall, that the Labour-led East Bedlington Parish Council refused to support when asked for a contribution. Helen is currently employed with HMRC but also finds time to assist her partner with his motorcycle training school which is based here in Bedlington. Compare these two active members of the local community, who are funding their own campaigns, to the other candidates, who have just been chosen because they are party members. It’s not easy to put yourself forward and stand as an Independent candidate. I know from personal experience how difficult it can be to be up against a party machine and all the resources they have at their disposal, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If you look at recent local elections in Bedlington, you’ll find that the national party hasn’t done all that well. Could it be that the public realise that it’s not about party politics but local issues that matter? There hasn’t been an election for a seat on East Bedlington Parish Council for ten years. It has been dominated by the Labour Party who have been more than happy to endorse the party line even at this level of politics. There should be no place for party politics at parish level and you can help change the dynamic of that council so that there are more independent thinkers to challenge the old guard. I am proud to throw my support behind these two hard working, community minded individuals. Let’s take the party out of local politics. Vote Independent on July 4. Vote for Helen Bradford and Keith Scantlebury.
  11. Following last week’s Annual Meeting of the Town at West Bedlington Community Centre, there was some criticism on social media that residents had not been made aware of this event, (despite it being on their website for 3 weeks prior, in the newsletter and shared on Facebook.) On Tuesday it is the turn of East Bedlington Parish Council to hold their Annual Assembly. In order to try and divert any future criticism that no-one knew, I am attaching the agenda for this meeting below for your information. Last year there were no residents from East Bedlington in attendance. This is your opportunity to find out what is happening in your area, meet and ask questions of your local Councillors and raise issues concerning your local community. Discussions with your local representatives can often prove to be more informative than relying solely on social media. At the end of this meeting there will be light refreshments. Hope to see you all there.
  12. As those of you who use Gallagher Park frequently will know, the children’s play area has been in a poor state of repair for several years now. The Friends of Gallagher Park have been tirelessly campaigning for better facilities in the park that can be utilised by families who visit the park with their children. Recently, I met with the Director of Local Services from NCC together with the Portfolio holder for the Environment and Local Services to discuss improvements in the park. They both agreed that the play facilities left a lot to be desired and, as a result of that meeting, NCC have agreed to invest in improvements in the park. They started off with a budget of £65,000 but, with contributions from myself, Councillors Russ Wallace and Jeff Gobin, West Bedlington Town Council and The Friends of Gallagher Park, that total has now increased to around the £80,000 mark. Disappointingly, at their meeting last night, Tuesday 2 April, East Bedlington Parish Council declined to contribute to the project, citing a lack of information as the reason. The decision was not unexpected as I have been informed by the previous East Bedlington Parish Council Chair that, as Gallagher Park was owned by NCC, they would not contribute to the upkeep or modernisation of the park. Given that the park lies mainly within their parish boundary and hosts their music event I felt, and still feel, this to be a very negative view to take. However, on a positive note, I think we will be able to get a very good play area in the park; NCC have it out for tender now and hope to have it completed by the time the schools have their summer break. With a bit of luck, and with the support of NCC, the County Councillors, West Bedlington Town Council and the Friends of Gallagher Park, the children’s play area will be finished by the summer and the families attending Gallagher Park Live will have a chance to enjoy the facilities, unaware that this was without the support of the Parish Council.
  13. As some of you will be aware, there have been several incidents of criminal damage in the area over the past couple of weeks. These incidents have consisted of houses being targeted and windows broken as well as vehicles having their windscreens and other windows smashed. Whilst this would be traumatic for anyone who is the victim of such crimes, it is particularly distressing for anyone who may be elderly and be the repeat victim of such crimes. The police are doing what they can, but as we all know, there are less Police Officers available to do the job as effectively as they once did. I have been speaking to them over the weekend, and I know they were conducting door- to- door enquiries in the area following the recent spate of incidents. They have asked me to request that those of you that live in the Alfred Avenue/Seaton Avenue/Lily Avenue area with CCTV or dashcams could look at your footage you have from 3.00am – 5.00am on Sunday 10 March to see if you can spot any suspicious looking males. If so, can you let the Police know. It would also be helpful if anyone lives in the wider surrounding area to check also. It doesn’t matter how innocuous of trivial you may think it is, report everything. Let the Police decide and investigate as to whether it is relevant or not. The Police are stretched, and they need the help of our community if we are to track down the perpetrator(s) of these crimes. If you have any information, please ring 101. There is no need to have an Officer come to see you if that is your preference, just tell the call handler that when you’re on the ‘phone. I know it can be frustrating waiting for your call to be answered but the call centres are as understaffed as the police Officers on the street so please try and be patient. If you’d rather, you can contact the Police online if you follow this link: – https://services.northumbria.police.uk/online-services/tell-us-something/ There may be some of you who don’t feel comfortable contacting the police. If that’s the case, you can always contact me, and I’ll pass on the information. Tel: 07779 – 983656 or email me at: – E-mail: bill.crosby@northumberlnd.gov.uk Let’s see if we can all work together and put a stop to these incidents that are causing so much distress and fear in our community. Thank you.
  14. Hello everyone. It’s been some months now since my last blog, so I thought it was time I updated you on what I’ve been doing in that time. In February I attended a meeting to decide on an event organiser for the live event in Gallagher Park. I think it’s been well documented what happened there and East Bedlington Parish Council decided to go it alone and run the event. As Gallagher Park is in my ward I was always happy to support this event but was unsure as to whether I would be allowed to use my small schemes allowance as this was not a capital spend. This turned out to be the case and for me this was always a worry from the outset, hence my suggestion that we should try and attract external funding. To get around this problem I agreed to work with East Bedlington Parish Council to help pay for one of their capital schemes so that they could release the funds to pay for Northumberland Live. As it turns out, two Parish Councillors subsequently agreed to contribute to the event from their own pockets so, in the end, external funds have indeed been needed. It’ll be interesting to see if sponsors can be attracted for the next event … perhaps we Independents don’t have such bad ideas after all. The scheme I have agreed to help with is the upgrading of the play facilities in Jennings Field. Although this is not strictly in my ward it is just across the border and will be of great benefit to my constituents and their families who live in the nearby streets that are in my area. (Waverley Avenue, Roslin Park, Fontburn Road, The Oval, etc). Hopefully, work should be starting on that project soon. In May I met with Councillor Glen Sanderson (Portfolio Holder for Environment and Local Services), together with the Service Director for Local Services; I requested this meeting to discuss the playground facilities in Gallagher Park. As Chair of the Friends of Gallagher Park (FOGP), this is a subject I am very interested in. The gentlemen agreed with us that the facilities currently in the park leave a lot to be desired and they were extremely supportive of improvements taking place. To that end, NCC have said they will work with the FOGP to progress this project. They will look to agree the precise location and the scale/size of the facility towards the back end of this year and will undertake a procurement exercise to have a design/supplier in place ready to begin work at the start of the next financial year. This will be capital funding and will need cabinet approval, so the FOGP will be looking at other funding avenues to make it easier for NCC to invest in the park. All ideas will be greatly appreciated. In June I was asked if I would contribute to Bedlingtonshire Academy’s WW1 Legacy Project Battlefield Tour. I felt it was a great opportunity for the pupils who were attending from my ward to better understand what happened during that great conflict and I was happy to lend a hand. Recently I was asked to attend Stead Lane Primary School to have a look at their Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) playground area. It is in dire need of renovation and, in its current state, is not allowing the children to access a high-quality play area. Given the current concerns over childhood obesity I feel that it’s important to foster positive attitudes to fitness from an early age. Hopefully, a much improved EYFS play area in the school will achieve that aim and I was more than happy to lend my support to this venture. Following the tragic events of August 19 last year, petitions were submitted for speed deterrents on Rothsay Terrace/Victoria Terrace. I subsequently agreed to fund one Speed Indicator Display (SID) sign and Northumberland County Council confirmed that they would supply another, and I am pleased to say that both these SID signs are now in place. In the wake of this, I have been working closely with Isabel Easson to help her in organising an event to raise funds for a further speeding deterrent project. Her vision was to have a 1940’s style tea dance involving the more elderly members of the community who have very little social interaction with others and arrangements are now in place for an event to be held at Meadowdale Academy, Hazelmere Avenue, Bedlington on Sunday 19 August 2018; the date obviously commemorates the date of the incident but also happens to be Beth’s birthday. It will be a hard day for Issie but I am proud to have helped her with this and her campaign for road safety and witness how dignified she has been throughout this past year. These are the main things I have been involved in so far this year in Bedlington. I am also trying to address fly tipping down the woods below the Dene View/Poplar Grove area as well as parking issues in various locations, although I am pleased to say that the parking issue at The Oval seems to have been resolved with the completion of extra parking spaces at Foundry House. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read this blog and if you need to contact me you can email me at: bill.crosby@northumberland.gov.uk Tel No 07779 – 983656. If you are interested in the FOGP, we usually meet on the first Monday of the month at The Pavilion in Gallagher Park at 6.30pm. Alternatively, you can visit us at our Facebook page.
  15. Hello everyone. It’s been some months now since my last blog, so I thought it was time I updated you on what I’ve been doing in that time. In February I attended a meeting to decide on an event organiser for the live event in Gallagher Park. I think it’s been well documented what happened there and East Bedlington Parish Council decided to go it alone and run the event. As Gallagher Park is in my ward I was always happy to support this event but was unsure as to whether I would be allowed to use my small schemes allowance as this was not a capital spend. This turned out to be the case and for me this was always a worry from the outset, hence my suggestion that we should try and attract external funding. To get around this problem I agreed to work with East Bedlington Parish Council to help pay for one of their capital schemes so that they could release the funds to pay for Northumberland Live. As it turns out, two Parish Councillors subsequently agreed to contribute to the event from their own pockets so, in the end, external funds have indeed been needed. It’ll be interesting to see if sponsors can be attracted for the next event … perhaps we Independents don’t have such bad ideas after all. The scheme I have agreed to help with is the upgrading of the play facilities in Jennings Field. Although this is not strictly in my ward it is just across the border and will be of great benefit to my constituents and their families who live in the nearby streets that are in my area. (Waverley Avenue, Roslin Park, Fontburn Road, The Oval, etc). Hopefully, work should be starting on that project soon. In May I met with Councillor Glen Sanderson (Portfolio Holder for Environment and Local Services), together with the Service Director for Local Services; I requested this meeting to discuss the playground facilities in Gallagher Park. As Chair of the Friends of Gallagher Park (FOGP), this is a subject I am very interested in. The gentlemen agreed with us that the facilities currently in the park leave a lot to be desired and they were extremely supportive of improvements taking place. To that end, NCC have said they will work with the FOGP to progress this project. They will look to agree the precise location and the scale/size of the facility towards the back end of this year and will undertake a procurement exercise to have a design/supplier in place ready to begin work at the start of the next financial year. This will be capital funding and will need cabinet approval, so the FOGP will be looking at other funding avenues to make it easier for NCC to invest in the park. All ideas will be greatly appreciated. In June I was asked if I would contribute to Bedlingtonshire Academy’s WW1 Legacy Project Battlefield Tour. I felt it was a great opportunity for the pupils who were attending from my ward to better understand what happened during that great conflict and I was happy to lend a hand. Recently I was asked to attend Stead Lane Primary School to have a look at their Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) playground area. It is in dire need of renovation and, in its current state, is not allowing the children to access a high-quality play area. Given the current concerns over childhood obesity I feel that it’s important to foster positive attitudes to fitness from an early age. Hopefully, a much improved EYFS play area in the school will achieve that aim and I was more than happy to lend my support to this venture. Following the tragic events of August 19 last year, petitions were submitted for speed deterrents on Rothsay Terrace/Victoria Terrace. I subsequently agreed to fund one Speed Indicator Display (SID) sign and Northumberland County Council confirmed that they would supply another, and I am pleased to say that both these SID signs are now in place. In the wake of this, I have been working closely with Isabel Easson to help her in organising an event to raise funds for a further speeding deterrent project. Her vision was to have a 1940’s style tea dance involving the more elderly members of the community who have very little social interaction with others and arrangements are now in place for an event to be held at Meadowdale Academy, Hazelmere Avenue, Bedlington on Sunday 19 August 2018; the date obviously commemorates the date of the incident but also happens to be Beth’s birthday. It will be a hard day for Issie but I am proud to have helped her with this and her campaign for road safety and witness how dignified she has been throughout this past year. These are the main things I have been involved in so far this year in Bedlington. I am also trying to address fly tipping down the woods below the Dene View/Poplar Grove area as well as parking issues in various locations, although I am pleased to say that the parking issue at The Oval seems to have been resolved with the completion of extra parking spaces at Foundry House. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read this blog and if you need to contact me you can email me at: bill.crosby@northumberland.gov.uk Tel No 07779 – 983656. If you are interested in the FOGP, we usually meet on the first Monday of the month at The Pavilion in Gallagher Park at 6.30pm. Alternatively, you can visit us at our Facebook page.
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