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Hello <<First Name>> <<Last Name>>

Welcome to the 29th email newsletter of the Low Fell Lib Dem Focus Team! In this edition we report on:

  • Council Budget passed - but calls for extra money for street cleaning rejected
  • Gas pipe works planned for part of Low Fell
  • Supporting local schools
  • Tolls on the Tyne Bridge?
  • Dealing with weeds
  • Can you help the Focus Team? 

Please forward this e-Focus to others who may find it useful, or share it on social media.

With best wishes,
Ron, Susan, and Daniel

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

Council Budget passed - but calls for extra money for street cleaning rejected
Gateshead Council have now passed their annual budget. Labour Councillors voted to, amongst other things, cut spending on potholes and pavement repairs, cut mental health provision, and cut street light repairs. Council Tax will rise by 3.99%.

Labour councillors rejected a Lib Dem amendment to invest more in street cleaning which was to be funded by cutting an extra allowance some Labour councillors get, cutting ‘Council News’, and using £1 million from the reserves. Gateshead Council has £13 million in reserves. This is the second year running that Labour Councillors have rejected Lib Dem plans to spend more on street cleaning, despite it being the number 1 issue for residents according to the Council’s own survey.

Low Fell Councillor, Ron Beadle, said "Labour needs to cut the waste. I was appalled that Labour councillors voted to keep the extra allowances that some of them get, especially at a time when they are cutting mental health services and are failing to keep the streets clean". 

The budget was passed, with 41 Labour councillors voting for it, and all 12 Lib Dems, including the three Low Fell Councillors - Ron, Susan and Daniel - voting against it. No other parties are on the Council. 
 
Gas pipe works
Gas pipe replacement will take place from early April in Valley Drive, Clifton Gardens, Summerfield Road, parts of Dryden Road, Essex and Devon Gardens.

Susan Craig said: “The work will last for two months so people who live outside the area are asked to try to avoid driving there until the summer.”
Supporting local schools
A petition against cuts to school budgets, begun by three Headteachers in Gateshead, has now been signed by tens of thousands of parents. If you have not done so we would urge you to sign this. The Government claims that the age of austerity is ending. One way of demonstrating that this is more than words is to start to put right the underfunding of our schools.

The petition can be signed here
Kells Lane School
Tolls on the Tyne Bridge?
Plans for new clean air tolls on Tyneside are being drawn up. It will consist of either a toll on three bridges across the Tyne, or a wider charging zone that would hit only high-polluting vehicles. You can read more about the plans in the Chronicle article here

Daniel Duggan said "We are currently asking Council officers to hold a public meeting in Low Fell so residents can learn more about their proposals and ask questions. We hope to be able to update residents with more details about this in the future".
Dealing with weeds
Street Scene staff are about to commence the application of ‘residual’ herbicide
to soft surfaces, such as grassed areas and gravel around obstacles including
street signs, lamp posts etc, to deal with the problem of weeds. It will take approximately one month to complete the borough.

The residual herbicide will prevent or reduce weed growth for up to 6 months
and reduces the amount of strimming required. The Council will be employing a contractor to apply ‘non residual’ herbicide to growing weeds on hard surfaces such as roads and paths from May.
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.
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