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Bill Crosby

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Bill Crosby last won the day on July 5 2018

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Hello everyone. I hope you all had a good Christmas and can I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2018. In December, I was pleased to learn that Stead Lane Primary School had taken delivery of their new outdoor classroom in the form of a Mongolian Yurt. This came about after I was invited to attend a meeting of the school’s PTFA where I was asked if I would contribute to the cost of an outdoor classroom for the school. I agreed that I would and I suggested the idea of a Yurt to the Head Teacher, Reuben Anderson, who embraced it wholeheartedly. I have to confess, however, that it wasn’t my idea; I borrowed it from the Head of Whitley Memorial Primary School, who was thinking about purchasing one to replace the classroom that was burnt down in the summer; this was raised in a conversation Councillor Russ Wallace and I had with her when we offered to contribute to the cost of the replacement classroom and I am pleased to say that Russ also contributed towards the cost of the Yurt at Stead Lane Primary School. I was happy to see it in situ when I attended the Christmas Fayre at the School, where I also had the honour of drawing the numbers for their Christmas raffle. This momentous event was reported on BBC Look North and Radio Newcastle and I think that we can be quite proud of the fact that the only Yurt in Northumberland (so I’m reliably informed) is located at a primary School in Bedlington East for pupils to enjoy for many years to come. I wish they’d had a yurt with a wood burner when I went to that school! Mr Anderson deserves a great deal of credit for his initiative. Last week I attended a full Council meeting which, for the first time, was being streamed live on social media. This can only be a good thing and the public can now see exactly how these meetings are conducted and possibly put faces to names that they have only heard about. Those of you that haven’t had a chance to see it can click on this link: https://youtu.be/YMNZstfU1FA At this meeting, a vote was required to approve the change in the Terms of Reference for the Strategic Planning Committee so that issues of strategic importance would be considered at county wide level rather than by Local Area Councils. The Labour Party opposed this, and on this occasion I agreed with them; therefore, when they called for a named vote, both Russ and I voted with the Labour Party against the proposal. The proposal was, however, passed by four votes. I have read somewhere that the Independents had voted with the Conservatives on this issue so I thought I would put the record straight. The benefit of being ‘Independent’ is that we can vote however we want in the best interests of Bedlington. Sometimes we may not all vote the same way but at least we can judge all issues on their merit and choose which way to vote, unlike those tied to a political party. Thanks again for taking the time to read this blog. Can I remind you that if you wish to contact me you can do so at: – bill.crosby@northumberland.gov.uk or telephone 07779 983656. I also hold a surgery on the 3rd Thursday of the month beginning at 6pm at East Bedlington Community Centre. Why not pop along for a chat?
  4. September saw the return to normal business and in the first week I was able to attend a full Council meeting at County Hall as well as the Parish and Town Council meetings at East Bedlington and West Bedlington respectively. Parish and Town Councillors are people from the local community who give up a lot of their free time in an effort to enhance the area in which we all live. Attending these meetings gives a good insight into the effort required to improve our town and it also allows members of the public to ask questions of the Councillors if they have any concerns. I would urge everyone to take advantage of these open meetings and experience local government and the influence you can have. To find the times of these meetings please visit www.eastbedlingtonpc.org.uk and westbedlington.org.uk. The following week I met with Marcus Weatherly, the new senior manager at Foundry House, and also present at this meeting was a representative from Stead Lane Primary School and the Road Safety Officer from NCC. This meeting was arranged as a result of concerns over parking at The Oval and during the meeting we were informed that a number of staff were being moved elsewhere and that 43 new parking spaces were being created. Hopefully, when this is done, it should ease the parking problems in the area. Marcus also assured us that efforts would be made to educate staff and visitors to use the spaces available within the confines of the building rather than the road. On Monday 18th, following complaints from residents of Terrier Close regarding parking at school drop off and pick up times, I, together with Councillor Allan Douglas, met with the Principle Programmes Officer for Highways Improvement. As a result of this meeting, a survey is to be carried out regarding parking at these times with a view to restrictions being put in place in the near future. On Thursday 21st, at my monthly surgery, I was visited by a resident regarding an issue in Sleekburn Ward. I was delighted that someone had turned up to see me and, rather than just refer the resident to that Ward Councillor, since the effort had been made to attend I was more than happy to help; I hope Councillor Gobin won’t mind. Speaking of other Councillors, I was delighted, together with Councillors Wallace, Robinson and Gobin, to support the renovation of the War Memorial in Bedlington through contributions from our Local Improvement Scheme, and I’m reliably informed that work will be starting soon and completed in time for Remembrance Sunday. Yesterday, Saturday 23rd, the Friends of Gallagher Park organised a litter picking session and fifteen people were kind enough to give up their time in an attempt to make the park look tidier. After a good two hours work, approximately twenty bags of rubbish were collected – an excellent effort. It will be a long-term project to tidy up the area, so hopefully it will be the start of many future efforts. During this time, we were also serving tea, coffee and cake in The Pavilion and £18,00 was raised to swell the coffers of the FOGP. A big well done to all concerned. Can I also thank Bedlington Terriers FC for their donation of free tickets for the next home game to everyone who helped out on the litter pick – what a fantastic gesture. Finally, can I remind everyone that I can always be contacted at bill.crosby@northumberland.gov.uk or by telephone on: 07779 – 983656. Thank you for reading.
  5. Following the tragic road traffic collision on Victoria Terrace in the early hours of Saturday 19 August, I was contacted by concerned residents regarding the safety issues around that stretch of road. Suggestions were made regarding traffic calming measures as this was considered to be an accident blackspot and, following an initial telephone discussion with Northumbria Police that weekend, I met with Superintendent Huddleston at Bedlington Police Station on Friday 25 August. The Superintendent was kind enough to fully brief me on the investigation to-date and together we visited the scene of the collision to examine the road and the conditions. We are fortunate in Bedlington to have quite wide roads that allow cars to pass safely even when there are vehicles parked at either side and this stretch of road is no different; in fact, whilst travelling from Ian Bell’s towards Bedlington Station, there is a good view with little obstruction of the road ahead. It is the opinion of the Police that the road conditions in no way contributed to this tragedy. Traffic calming measures were discussed but the issue is where to put them? I myself have witnessed cars speeding along Hirst Villas and then onto Stead Lane and there could be an argument for traffic calming measures there also. As you may be aware, we are constantly being told that there are no bad roads, only bad drivers, and prior to this incident, there have been only three recorded collisions over the past three years in that area, all low speed incidents and damage only. The period between an incident and a Crown Court appearance is always the most difficult and I would ask people not to fuel rumour and speculation as to the cause but rather let the Police get on with their job and investigate this incident fully. If anyone has any issues or concerns surrounding this matter, Superintendent Huddleston has asked me to pass on that he is more than willing to meet with anyone in order to address any matters arising. If anyone would like to take up this offer, please let me know and I will relay it to him. Our thoughts are with all the families affected by this tragic event.
  6. On Friday 14 July, together with other Town and County Councillors, I met with representatives from Arch regarding the TESCO site. We all gave an undertaking not to disclose what was said during that meeting, as there are still on-going negotiations, but I for one left the room feeling very positive about the project and it was encouraging to learn that everything didn’t come to a grinding halt with a change in administration. On Thursday 20 July, I met with Mike Jeffrey, the Green Spaces and Countryside Manager for Northumberland County Council. We met in Gallagher Park and, together with his team, we walked some of the trails through the park marking out where the signs needed to be placed in order for walkers to follow the various routes. To be honest, I’ve walked some of these routes in various other places following the signs and have never appreciated just how much work goes into planning a route through woodland, so I think that Mike and his team deserve some recognition for the effort they’re putting in. During my time with Mike and his team we discussed many things, to include why the toilets at the Pavilion are never open; the reason for this is apparently because the light sensors in the outside toilets don’t work and it would therefore be a health and safety issue if the public were allowed to enter whilst these are inoperable. Mike has assured me that he is chasing up the contractor to try and get this situation rectified as soon as possible, but we all know how hard it is to get a builder to come back and fix something once he’s been paid …! He is also keen to re-activate the Gallagher Park Steering Group so that we can get ideas flowing as to how to make the best use of this incredible space that we have on our doorstep. Following on from this, I have organised an informal meeting at the Pavilion for Monday 14 August at 6.30pm so that those interested in the long-term future of Gallagher Park can come along and have their say as to what they would like to see happen in the park; we’ve already had some good ideas via social media so please come along and get involved. Finally, it was a great day to be in the park for the Northumberland Live event on Saturday 29 July. It was good to see families there enjoying the day, sitting listening to good music and availing themselves of the various types of food and entertainment on offer. Some of you may not be aware that, although this is a free event for the community, there is a considerable cost involved and it would not have taken place without my predecessors making a financial contribution from their local improvement schemes together with other contributions from West Bedlington Town Council and East Bedlington Parish Council. Wherever your political allegiances lie, I hope you will agree that all parties who took part in helping finance this event deserve recognition and our gratitude and I would like to think that the current Councillors and the respective Town and Parish Councils can work together again in order that this event can take place next year.
  7. On 29 June, I sat on a Licensing and Regulatory Sub-Committee regarding a number of cases involving taxis. The panel was made up of three Councillors plus a reserve (me, as it was my first one) just in case one member declared an interest and withdrew. This, of course, happened in the first case we heard so I was thrown in at the deep end! It was an enjoyable experience but one taken very seriously as ultimately you could be deliberating on people’s livelihoods. On Monday 3 July, I attended a Community Safety Meeting at West Hartford Fire Station.; this is basically a meeting with Councillors and community leaders from the South East of the county in which issues of crime and anti-social behaviour are discussed. That same evening, I was invited to attend a meeting of the Friends of Gallagher Park. At this meeting I got the impression that this group was floundering. They had no chair or treasurer and the secretary was only there under sufferance. In my opinion, Gallagher Park is a vast untapped resource with loads of potential for recreational activity so, in order to try and give the committee new impetus, new officers were elected. I am the new Chair, Dawn has kindly offered to step in as treasurer and Keith Dalton will be the Secretary. We are looking for ideas as to what people would like to see in the park so, if anyone has any ideas (especially those people younger than the author) then please let me know. Following this meeting we have started a Friends of Gallagher Park Facebook page. Please feel free to join and submit any ideas, stories, photographs you might want to share concerning the park and any events etc that you would like to see there if possible. On Tuesday, I was at the East Bedlington Parish Council Meeting where I raised the subject of the omission of Sleekburn from the Bedlington/Cramlington/Seaton Valley LAC. The Council agreed with me that Sleekburn is part of Bedlington and as such should be included with the rest of the town. At the full Council Meeting on Wednesday, the decision to review the submission of the core strategy was debated; to withdraw the current plan and review the level of house building in relation to the surrounding infrastructure was, in my opinion, what the majority of people of Bedlington had been requesting over the past few years. As a result of this, I decided to vote with the current administration on this matter. Pitfalls were pointed out but the Leader of the Council assured us that this decision had not been taken lightly and had been taken with appropriate legal advice. Although not given a chance to speak on the subject of Sleekburn during the business of the Council owing to time restraints, Russ and I had met with the Business Chair prior to the meeting who assured us that, whilst he would not change it now, a review would be carried out in 6 months time. I don’t intend to stop fighting for this change as it appears that the residents of that ward have been forgotten and ignored and they feel that they belong with the rest of Bedlington. The next day, Thursday, together with other County Councillors, Town & Parish Councillors and representatives of the local community, I met with Superintendent Huddleston at Bedlington Police Station to discuss the recent crime and anti-social behaviour in the town. Also discussed was the closure of the Police Station after 8pm together with the withdrawal of CSO cover after 10pm. In fairness, there was nothing he could do about the two latter issues but he did assure us that he would fund some extra patrols in the town at weekends after 10pm for a short period of time. That’s a brief outline of the last two weeks and I could go on and on about what was debated/discussed. If anyone has any specific points they would like to raise then please contact me and i will do my best to answer them.
  8. There were two occasions recently which gave me cause to think that the future of our county is in safe hands. The first instance was when I attended a meeting of West Bedlington Town Council and heard a young man by the name of Callum Appleby give a short presentation in support of his application to the Council for funding. This young man spoke to a fairly large gathering and explained why he would like help to visit Ecuador in 2018 in order to assist local communities with various projects ranging from building schools to installing fresh drinking water systems. I wish him well in his efforts and have added a link to his Just Giving page if you feel you are able to help Callum in his very worthy project. https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/callum-appleby?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Yimbyprojectpage&utm_content=callum-appleby&utm_campaign=projectpage-share-owner&utm_term=dDJ67qR3N The second occasion was when I was invited to attend the Northumberland’s Finest Awards at East Bedlington Community Centre. I was asked if I would present the award for Innovation in youth work, which of course I was delighted and privileged to do. It truly was inspiring to hear what some of these young people have overcome in order to achieve what they have, and when looking at the list of presenters it shows in what high regard these awards are taken. 6.45pm – Introduction – Welcome Her Grace, The Duchess of Northumberland 1. Enterprise Award: Her Grace, The Duchess of Northumberland. 2. Volunteer Award: Cllr Anthony Murray Civic Head of Northumberland County Council. 3. Community Impact Award: Paul Hebron, Partnership Manager, NCS North East. 4. Innovation Award: Cllr Bill Crosby County Councillor – Bedlington East Ward. 5. Participation Award: John Dickinson High Sheriff of Northumberland. 6. Tackling Barriers Award: Dame Vera Baird QC Police + Crime Commissioner, Northumbria. 7. Health Promotion Award: Cllr Wayne Daley Deputy Leader of Northumberland County Council + Cabinet Member for Children’s Services. 8. Youth Project Impact Award: Mr Ian Lavery MP Member of Parliament, Wansbeck. 9. Special Awards: Margaret Tench & Patrick Boyle Children’s Services, Northumberland County Council. Closing Remarks The staff at the Community Centre should also be congratulated for contributing to what was an excellent event. On Monday, I attended a flag raising ceremony to commemorate Armed Forces Day and there were representatives there from various branches of our uniformed services. This event helped to reinforce Northumberland County Council’s commitment to support our armed forces and long may it continue. On a sadder note, there have been instances of damage caused in Bedlington Town Centre over the last couple of weekends where plants have been ripped out from planters destroying the hard work and effort undertaken by the volunteers involved in Bedlington in Bloom. Also, on Friday night windows were broken at three premises in the Town Centre; this sort of behaviour is intolerable and my fellow Councillors and I will be having discussions with the relevant agencies to see if we can come up with a solution in order to combat this problem. Our hard working team of Community Support Officers no longer work past 10.00pm, which is an area of concern, but in the case of the broken windows, which apparently occurred at 3.00am, we have been informed by one of the shop owners that the Police were able to apprehend the culprit at or near the scene of the crime. Let us hope that there is enough evidence to charge the offender and put him before the Magistrates and see if they can make the punishment fit the crime….. Other than these highlights, it’s been a case of attending County Hall for various meetings and training sessions as well as trying to help residents who have contacted me regarding various local issues. View on Councillor Crosby's Blog
  9. On Tuesday I attended the East Bedlington Parish Council meeting at the new Community Centre at Bedlington Station. It really is a lovely building and I would urge everyone to visit if they haven’t already done so and support the events that the team are putting on for the benefit of the local community. I have to say that I approached the meeting with some trepidation as, last month, feelings were running high so soon after the election, but in fairness I received a very warm welcome and was even asked for my opinion and help on a couple of issues. I am, of course, happy to offer my assistance in any way that I can as, although we may not all be members of the same political party, I firmly believe that we all have the same goal, namely the interests of East Bedlington. That, to me, is the essence of local politics; Councillors from different parties coming together for a common cause and working together to achieve something that will benefit the community. To use a well worn phrase; putting Bedlington First. On Wednesday, I attended my first committee meeting, the Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE). This proved very interesting as there were representatives from all different faiths around the table discussing how religious education can be delivered in schools. On Friday, I met with the managers of Foundry House to discuss parking issues outside their building at The Oval. This was very constructive and I look forward to further meetings where we will be able to involve the wider community and partners to try and resolve this issue. In between these meetings, I have attended more sessions at ‘Councillor School’ and have dealt with enquiries that I have received via telephone and email. On Saturday morning I attended the St John’s Church Fayre, which was well supported despite the bad weather. Even though this is ‘just over the border’ in Sleekburn ward, I am always happy to support these community events wherever possible; indeed, I also caught up with many familiar faces from the local area. In addition, there was plenty of coffee and cake, which is never a bad thing! View on Councillor Crosby's Blog
  10. In the run up to the election, one of the promises I made was to try and keep the public informed of what I was doing, what was happening within their area and how it might affect them; this blog is one of the ways in which I hope to achieve just that. On Thursday 4th May, I had the honour of being elected by the people of Bedlington East to represent them as their County Councillor for the next four years. It cannot be over-emphasised what a momentous event took place on that day when the people of Bedlington, who felt that they were not being best served by the current party politics, dispensed with decades of traditional voting habits and put their faith in three people who they felt only had the best interests of their town at heart. Since that day, I have been attending various sessions, (what I have jokingly labelled ‘Councillor School’) in which I have received training in various subjects, to include Safeguarding, Planning, Licensing and Public Protection, and there is much more to come! The training was interrupted on Wednesday 24 May when I had to attend my first full meeting of the Council. A named vote was called on the issue of local area councils and my first act was to vote against the current administration. I did this as I felt to split Bedlington into two separate groups was wrong and, in doing so, I voted with the Labour group, hopefully dispelling the myth that I am a ‘closet Tory’ and proving that, being truly independent, I am, as promised, willing to work with anyone for the good of the town. Since this meeting took place, I have now been selected to sit on four committees, which are: Licensing Netherton Park Governing Body Safeguarding and Corporate Parenting Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education, and I am looking forward to these new challenges. Regarding the issues around the Tesco site, I can confirm that there have been already been discussions with the current administration and things are looking positive. I see part of my role as liaising with the local Town and Parish Councils and to that end I have attended meetings at both venues and I will continue to attend as often as I can. This week, I also attended the Annual Meeting of West Bedlington Town Council, which was dominated by issues around the future of Humford dam; it is clear that there is a massive strength of feeling on this issue as people have fond childhood memories of this beautiful spot and regard it as part of their heritage and are reluctant to lose it, as so much of Bedlington’s history has already been lost. I will be monitoring this situation closely. Since coming to office, I have received requests from various sections of the community and I have endeavoured to meet those concerned face to face in order to discuss the issues and hopefully arrive at a solution; topics so far have included help with accommodation, parking and traffic calming. I was also honoured this week to be asked to present a ‘Northumberland’s Finest’ award at East Bedlington Community Centre on Friday 16th June, which I am very much looking forward to, and I will report back on this in my next blog. I will always be approachable and in the near future I will be arranging venues for regular surgeries where you can drop in and discuss things with me in person, but in the meantime there is always the option of contacting me by email at: bill.crosby@northumberland.gov.uk or by telephone on: 07779 – 983656. Finally, thank you for reading my first blog and I hope to keep you updated with information on future events in my next one. View on Councillor Crosby's Blog
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