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Welcome to the 39th email newsletter of the Low Fell Lib Dem Focus Team! In this edition we report on:

  • Council to rethink tolls on Tyne Bridges
  • Low Fell volunteer gardening group supports world polio day
  • Fighting graffiti in Low Fell
  • Fixing drainage on Durham Road
  • Safety on Chowdene Bank
  • Barriers on Dryden Road removed
  • Council u-turns on cutting special educational provision
  • 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 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

Council to rethink tolls on Tyne bridges
The public consultation regarding plans to impose tolls on the Tyne Bridges has now closed and both options put forward have proved unpopular with respondents.

An independent report into the consultation concluded that residents viewed the tolls as “a potentially discriminatory and financially wounding stealth tax, targeting those on the lowest incomes with non-compliant vehicles, making unavoidable journeys to work”. 

In response, the three local authorities behind the plans have promised to make changes to their plans, but are still insisting that some form of charge will have to be imposed on drivers.

Low Fell Councillor Daniel Duggan said "It's encouraging that these plans are being rethought, but they really need to be scrapped altogether. Whilst it is vital to reduce air pollution, these plans will discriminate against Gateshead residents, who cross the Tyne more than people from Newcastle, and cost the average driver £17.00 a week or over £880 a year. In addition, the local authorities' preferred option of taxing polluting and non-polluting vehicles alike will provide no incentive for people to switch to electric vehicles".

"Other options need to be explored, such as allowing cars with passengers to share bus lanes and working with employers to stager opening times and so deal with the problem of rush hour traffic and congestion. We will continue to put pressure on Gateshead Council to scrap their plans".

You can learn more by visiting the Chronicle site here
Low Fell Councillor Daniel Duggan on the Tyne Bridge
Low Fell Volunteer Gardening Group supports World Polio Day
Low Fell Volunteer Gardening Group, who are part of Low Fell Forum, have joined forces with Gateshead Rotary Club in a new project for World Polio Day on 24th October 2019.
Rotary Clubs support and promote polio vaccination by planting millions of purple crocuses to raise awareness of efforts to eradicate the life threatening and disabling polio virus. 2.5 billion children have received oral immunisation through their efforts. 
The Gateshead club will provide the crocus bulbs and the gardening group, with the help of local school children from Kells Lane Primary School, will plant these in October. The location of the planting will be 'the island' on the corner of Beaconsfield Avenue.
Susan Craig, Chair of Low Fell Forum, said "The Planting Group does a fantastic job for Low Fell and this is much appreciated by all. It's great that the Rotary Club are also involved in this important project."
Fighting Graffiti
Residents have told the Focus Team that they are increasingly noticing more graffiti in Low Fell and other parts of Gateshead. Ron, Susan and Daniel have raised this with Council officers and will be meeting with the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive of Gateshead Council to discuss the Council's approach to tackling the problem of graffiti.

Daniel Duggan said "I will be pressing for offenders to participate in 'Community payback' schemes that involve removing graffiti and will also be asking the Council to develop better relations with companies, such as Virgin Media, so that they act on requests to clean up the graffiti on their property. I am aware a number of residents made complaints to Virgin Media about the graffiti on the green box (photo below) on Kells Lane, near the beginning of Albert Place, and I also made three formal complaints to Virgin before the box was replaced with a new, clean box. Low Fell is a great place and it needs to be kept clean and attractive."

To report graffiti to the Council visit here

To report graffiti to BT phone 0800 023 2023 (option 1)

To report graffiti to Virgin Media phone 0330 333 0444
Fixing drainage on Durham Road
Last weeks downpours highlighted problems with drainage at the Durham Road / Belle Vue Bank junction.  Ron Beadle has written to Council officers to ask for the existing drains to be checked for blockages and drainage on the site as a whole to be evaluated.
Ron said "Residents have been concerned about a number of features of the raised platform at this junction for a number of years.  The situation last week was unsafe. Council officers have now inspected the site and have promised that two gullies will be cleansed."
Safety on Chowdene Bank
Oakfield Junior and Infant Schools, on Chowdene Bank, have been without a lollipop person for sometime now. After raising this with Council officers, we can report that a replacement lollipop person has now been appointed and it is hoped they will begin in September.

Councillor Daniel Duggan said "I am glad this post has now finally been filled as we know how busy this area gets during school pick up and drop off times and there is concern from parents about safety outside Oakfield. The Council are looking to introduce a travel plan programme called ModeShift STARS  that has been used successfully outside other schools and I know many parents are working very hard to make the area safer". 

Local campaigner Dawn Welsh said "This news of a new lollipop person being appointed is welcome, however, in the long term we need more radical changes to parking and enforcement in this area. Safety must come first".   
Chowdene Bank
Barriers removed on Dryden Road
Following the completion of work to raise the crossing at St Peter’s School during the Easter holiday, residents were surprised that barriers remained on site into the summer.  It turns out that officers had forgotten to remove them and they have now been taken away.
The barriers on Dryden Road have now been removed
Council u-turns on plans to cut special needs provision 
Recently, we reported on the Council's plans to scrap year 14 classes, which are currently offered to students with special education needs and allow them to study at sixth form.

Fortunately, after a great campaign led by pupils, parents, and teachers, the Council has now decided to fund post 16 provision for two years of sixth form for students in the main school of Hill Top and Cedars.

Susan Craig said "Public services, like special education provision, are vital and need protecting. The Council should never have proposed this in the first place and I am glad they have now seen sense". 

You can read more about this 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 © 2019 Gateshead Liberal Democrats, All rights reserved.

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