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Welcome to the 51st email newsletter of the Low Fell Lib Dem Focus Team! In this edition we report on:

  • Recycling trial to continue
  • Bishop of Durham renames Low Fell school
  • Council rejects school crossing
  • Lowrey's Lane car park resurfaced
  • Outrage over plans to rip up £700,000 car park that was built 2 years ago 
  • Fallen branches removed
  • A new NHS App has been launched
  • Labour Councillors force through Bus Tax 
  • Success! Plans for more woodland in Gateshead are passed
  • Can you help the Focus Team? 
With best wishes,
Ron Beadle, Susan Craig, and Daniel Duggan
Low Fell Lib Dem Focus Team

P.S. If you are on Facebook, and would like to follow us, our page is here
Recycling trial to continue

Since February of last year a number of Low Fell residents have been participating in a trial which has involved the Council providing them with a further bin to see if this increases recycling rates. The Council have now decided to extend the trial until March 2021. This will determine if the scheme is expanded to other parts of Gateshead. Residents who are part of the trial should be receiving information from the Council soon, if they have not done so already.

Bishop of Durham renames local school

The Bishop of Durham has led a dedication and renaming ceremony marking the start of a new era for a Low Fell school.

The Right Reverend Paul Butler told students at Grace College, in Low Fell, that they could be “people who changed the world” and urged them to have “high ambitions”.

He said the entry of the former Joseph Swan Academy into the Emmanuel Schools Foundation (ESF) family of schools was “a whole new start that builds on all the history that’s gone before, and new starts are really significant and important”.

Ron Beadle, who was invited to the Ceremony, said "This was an excellent way to start a new era for the College.  I am sure that residents will be pleased that Low Fell’s Sir Joseph Swan is remembered in the Science Centre that bears his name."

To read more visit here

Council rejects school crossing

Gateshead Council has rejected calls from local residents for a safety crossing outside Oakfield Infant and Junior School on Chowdene Bank.

Late last year local Councillor Daniel Duggan and concerned parents met with the Council’s traffic engineers to discuss how to improve safety outside Oakfield. After carrying out a traffic survey, the Council officers have concluded that “the level of pedestrians at Chowdene Bank is not high enough to justify a controlled pedestrian crossing”.

Daniel said “Road safety is so important. We know that a pupil was knocked over in November and people are concerned that more accidents may occur, especially at school opening and closing times. Although there is a school crossing patrol officer outside Oakfield once again, residents and parents have told us of their disappointment that the Council won’t be installing a safety crossing. There is some good news because Council officers will be starting road safety campaigns this month and will be meeting with the police to discuss other options to improve safety. We will be monitoring this issue closely”.

Daniel on Chowdene Bank
Lowrey's Lane car park resurfaced

Part of Lowrey's Lane car park has been resurfaced. Low Fell Councillor Susan Craig said "A number of residents have raised the issue of potholes in the car park so this is good to see".

Lowrey's Lane car park
Outrage over plans to rip up £700,000 car park that was built 2 years ago 

A car park which cost £700,000 to build, and has made just £44,183 in charges, is to be ripped up. News of a secret plan by Gateshead Council to rip up the car park - which was built only 2 years ago - and replace it with a £20 million multi-storey car park is reported in the Chronicle article here.

Daniel Duggan said "It is alarming that so much taxpayers' money has been wasted on Quarryfield car park, only for it to be ripped up, and this raises serious questions about the competence of Labour bosses at the Civic Centre". 

The car park that will be ripped up
Fallen branches removed

With the recent heavy wind a number of branches have fallen from trees and we have been reporting these to the Council asking that they be removed, which they now have been.

Susan said "If you notice a branch that has fallen from a tree please let the Council know on 0191 433 3000 or let us know and we will raise it".

A fallen branch on Engine Lane near Kells Lane Park
A new NHS App has been launched 

The NHS have a new App which you can use to:

  • check your symptoms
  • find out what to do when you need help urgently
  • book and manage appointments at your GP surgery
  • order repeat prescriptions
  • view your GP medical record securely
  • register to be an organ donor
  • choose how the NHS uses your data
Ron Beadle, who sits on the Gateshead Health and Wellbeing Board, said "It's great to see the latest technology being used to help with our health. I would encourage residents to look into taking advantage of this". 

To learn more visit here
Labour Councillors force through Bus Tax

Last Thursday Gateshead Council backed the Bus Tax. Under the scheme HGVs and buses, which do not meet certain standards, will be charged £50 to enter Newcastle city centre from 2021 with taxis and vans, which are considered to not meet certain standards, paying £12.50. Labour Councillors voted for the plans while Lib Dem Councillors - the only opposition to Labour on the Council - voted against them.

Low Fell Councillor Daniel Duggan, who voted against the plans, said "There is real concern that this will simply move the pollution problem, rather than solving it, and that bus fares are going to increase. The Council should be encouraging people to use public transport, not making it more expensive".

Success! Plan for more woodland in Gateshead passes

A Lib Dem motion about planting more trees in Gateshead to help deal with the climate emergency passed at last week's Council meeting. 

Jonathan Wallace, Leader of the Opposition on Gateshead Council, said “Trees are one of the most effective ways to absorb the carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels which causes climate change."

“There are many areas of open space where the council previously cut the grass but have now been abandoned. Some are turning into wastelands but they could have a new purpose as woodland, making our area greener and acting as a sponge to soak up carbon dioxide.

“We want Gateshead to have a strategy to identify those areas that could be planted up as woodland or community orchards. We want children to play their part as well through local schools.

“We cannot sit back and do nothing. We are entering a climate crisis and we need to act now to tackle it or otherwise the damage will get worse and could reach a point of no return.”

Read more on the Chronicle website here.

Can you help the Focus Team do more for Low Fell?
The Low Fell Focus Team works hard all year round and provide a regular newsletter, 'Focus on Low Fell', to all households in Low Fell. We rely on local residents to help deliver this. Would you be able to spare an hour or so every few months to deliver some newsletters near to where you live? If so, please get in touch by replying to this email.

Alternatively, if you would like to register as a supporter you can do so by visiting here. It is free, quick, and easy!
Gateshead Lib Dems - including Ron, Susan and Daniel - celebrating Lib Dem success in Gateshead. Would you like to help us do even more for our area?
Copyright © 2020 Gateshead Liberal Democrats, All rights reserved.

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