Subterranean Blues

Underground issues are causing the big puddles at the end of Ashdale Road when it rains heavily.

Ashdale-Sherburn Terrace ponding

That’s the verdict of the drainage team who have been investigating the issue at my request. When they were jetting the drain they apparently came across a blockage/possible collapse. They have raised an order to carry out a drainage investigation & repair and they expect the work to be carried out in the next month.

Fingers crossed that Summer really has started, then!

And no doubt my older readers will recognise the reference to this sad councillor: “Johnny’s on the pavement thinking bout the Government ….”

Consett off the map

None of the 33 level 1 & 2 partners in Durham’s new Visitor Information Network are in Consett. The network has been set up by private businesses and the county council to provide a mainly technological replacement for the Tourist Information Centres that the county formerly had, with computer and touch screen terminals backing up some limited face to face-to-face provision, and all linked to the Visitor Contact Centre which handles telephone, postal, email and text enquiries. Apparently Durham gets around 5.5 million visitors a year, and 1% (around 55,000) of them used to use the Tourist Information Centres. Let’s hope that the new Visitor Information Network can reach at least as many as that. And let’s hope, too, that some tourist information and some tourists find their way to Consett. I, for one, intend to explore some of the wonderful countryside on our doorstep this Easter break – provided the weather lets me. And I’m pretty sure I’ll meet some visitors on the Coast to Cast route through our town come rain, snow or shine.

Of Mice and Men

Over Christmas a couple of my family have had problems with mice.

The good news is that for those who have mice or rats in their property, Durham County Council will tackle their problem at no charge.

Funnily enough they’ll do the same for cockroaches and bedbugs, but this time whether in the property or not, which caused me some flights of fancy.

All the above are defined as “Public Health Pests”. Other pests like fleas, moles, cluster flies, squirrels, ants, bees and wasps, defined as “Non Public Health Pests”, are dealt with at a charge of £37.20.

Consultation on Community Alarms and Telecare services

The County Council’s Adults Wellbeing and Health Service is carrying ot a review of Community Alarms and Telecare services. The aim is to do a survey of how people feel about the existing services, but also to find out what kind of services people would like to see in place for the next 3 to 5 years.

That means that even though you may have no answers to the first part of the survey, it’s still relevant to those of us close enough to old age to think about these things, or for readers who are are caring for older people.

You can find the survey here 

A paper survey is also available from Care Connect for people who prefer their consultations that way.

Derwent Valley Partnership back in the swing

The AAP is back into the full cycle of meetings – I’ve had one for the Car Parking sub-group and one for the Environment working group this week – and the bi-annual forum event which was postponed due to snow will take place shortly.

The Forum, which is open to all, is next Thursday January 20th at Bishop Ian Ramsey Primary School, Medomsley, from 5.30 to 8.00 p.m. Numbers are limited, however, so please register with Janie Pollard on 01207 218271 if you want to attend.

The agenda contains three main elements all of which should be of great interest to local people:

  1. Presentation on Winter Maintenance by the County Council
  2. Presentatation on regeneration in Consett by the County Council
  3. Priority setting for the AAP for 2011-12

The Board of the AAP meets on Wednesday 26th January from 6.00 – 8.00 p.m. in Consett Civic Centre. Again this is open to the public, and may offer you the last chance to experience the Council Chamber before the doors of the Civic Centre shut on the public for good.

Garden Waste collections re-start in the spring

Durham County Council reminds you that the garden waste collection services are ending this month, to be resumed again in the spring.

The council’s garden waste recycling scheme is very popular across the county amongst those people to whom it is available. Regular collections are made from around 156,000 properties between spring and autumn.

People are asked to store their “brown bins” safely over the winter until the collections resume next spring.

Throughout the winter the “tip” remains available to take any garden waste you aren’t able to compost.

Too good to throw away?

I recently received a usful reminder from the County Council that here in Consett we have the YMCA who are able to collect items that may be of use to other households such as furniture/beds, carpets, computers, electric cookers, fridges and freezers, washing machines, mobile phones, TV/audio, small electrical items, bicycles, garden equipment, tools, textiles and house clearances.

Please remember the following:

  • Furniture/beds must be free from stains and tears and comply with current fire regulations
  • All electrical items should be free from rust, reasonably clean, have intact seals and have been working the last time they were used
  • Items will need to be inspected before collection is agreed. From time to time collectors may not be able to accept your items. If this is the case they will explain the reason why.

When you donate an item you will be helping somebody who is living on benefits, or low wages, or emergency support. 

And don’t forget, if you need good condition furniture at very low cost this scheme may be able to help you. It aims to provide high quality low cost furniture to people living in the area.

For further information ring 01207 588302 between 8.30a.m .and 4.30 p.m.

Schools Out for Summer – Win a Wii

I don’t know how many readers remember  Alice Cooper’s song of this title (or Mary Whitehouse’s successful campaign to have the video banned by the BBC), but you won’t have missed the fact that by tonight all of our local schools will have started their six-week summer holiday.

Throughout the period the county council puts on a programme of coached sports, tasters and pay and play sessions. There are family activities which include guided cycle rides and walks. Local communities and clubs are arranging activities.

You can find out more about them by visiting , phoning 0191 372 8165 or calling in at Belle Vue Leisure Centre.

And if you’ve only read this far in the hope of winning a Wii you can find out details at the same website.

CCDYP Looking for enthusiasts

I’ve been an admirer of “detached youth workers” for a long time – it takes a very special skill to “get alongside” youngsters who are hanging out, and strike up a relationship with them. And moving from that to a position where you can help them discover interests, and possibly help them do things they wouldn’t have thought possible, is another skill again.

That’s why I’m pleased to be associated with CCDYP, the Consett Churches Detached Youth Project, which was set up in the aftermath of the Consett Steelworks closure and for thirty years has been doing great things with youngsters from a wide range of backgrounds.

But organisations like this always need new volunteers, and paid youth workers, because anything that stands still goes nowhere. I’m wondering, therefore, if there’s any reader of this website with an interest in youthwork – or just wanting to help make life a bit better for the young people at the margins of our society.

If you’ve got an interest in this area of life, please drop me a line or give me a ring. I’d be delighted to put anyone in touch with the project which currently has openingd for both trained youth workers on a sessional basis, and volunteers to help at any level – working with young people or helping with administration and other roles.