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Market Place plans decision date: 10 November [03 Nov 2009|12:08pm]

The proposal to move the statues in the Market Place, and to put in stone benches, comes up at the Planning Committee on Tuesday 10 November 2pm, County Hall. As this is a public meeting I'd urge everybody to get along so that the Councillors can see just how much we care about this. You can read the committee papers by going to this page on the County Council web site — the 25 page committee report is accessible by clicking on item A4. (435k PDF).

Moving Lord Londonderry [22 Jul 2009|10:26pm]

On 3rd July Durham County Council, acting on behalf of Durham City Vision, lodged three planning applications with itself for proposed works in the Market Place, including the moving of the statue of Lord Londonderry.

Along with many local people, the City of Durham Trust opposes this move, though many of the other proposals to improve the Market Place and the vennels are welcome. There's more on the Trust's web site, including how to send in your objection to the County Council and how to sign an e-petition.
1 memory| reminisce

Nigel Martin's blog [08 Jun 2009|06:02pm]

Nigel Martin is the County Councillor for Neville's Cross. Whether you're a Lib Dem supporter or not, and even if you do not live in Neville's Cross, you may find his blog of interest -- I certainly do. An LJ feed has now been set up, and this link will add it to your Friends list.

The most recent items include the local results of the Euro election and the news that Banks have withdrawn their planning application for a business park and executive homes on the Mount Oswald golf course.


Altogether Worse [01 Apr 2009|01:57pm]

Herewith the text of an email just sent to the web development team at Durham County Council:

I am sorry to say that your new web site, launched today to coincide with the new unitary authority, is altogether worse than its predecessor.

What has happened to the brilliant short codes that took me straight to the content that I was looking for? For example,
www.durham.gov.uk/libraries, www.durham.gov.uk/prow, etc? Instead I get 404 errors -- isn't it a principle of good web design that you should not move or remove URLs because people might have bookmarked them? It also adversely affects Google and other search engine rankings.

The multi-depth navigation seems to have been copied from the dire Whitehall template which puts as many clicks as possible between the home page and the information I am seeking. The subject headings are much too cryptic and although I think I have a better knowledge of local government structures than most, I have to flounder around trying to find what I am looking for. I still have not found the list of planning applications that are open for comments and I am beginning to suspect that this is not available online. Please tell me I'm wrong.

Where is the information about public rights of way? I would have thought this would either be under 'Transport and Streets' or 'Leisure and Culture' but can find it under neither. And a search gives "There are no results for 'public rights of way'. Please try again using a different keyword or alternative phrase." So I tried 'rights of way' and 'public footpaths' Same (non) result. Please....

Occasionally when using the old County Council site a survey would pop up asking my views and I tended to give it 4/5. On today's frustrating visit, the new site gets 1/5. I know you can do better.

2 memories| reminisce

[02 Feb 2009|01:32pm]

Why doesn't the Council do a proper job of gritting Elvet Bridge?
1 memory| reminisce

DURHAM BOOK FESTIVAL 08 [21 Aug 2008|12:18pm]



Durham reading group anyone? [14 Feb 2008|10:18pm]

I'm planning to start a reading group to meet monthly in pubs/cafes in Durham city centre. I'm trying to set up something for younger people (interest so far has been from people in their twenties), who can't easily get to other groups because of when they are timed. Currently thinking of meeting on a weekday evening or a Saturday afternoon. Books to be decided by members - not genre-specific. For more information comment or e-mail sam.d@btinternet.com.
8 memories| reminisce

More than I bargained for [13 Oct 2007|05:05pm]

The Durham Tesco Extra is selling Müller Amoré yogurts at 54p each, or four for £2.50
3 memories| reminisce

Council election results [04 May 2007|03:03pm]

The Lib Dems have held on to Durham City Council. The full results are here.
The summary is that both Labour (now 17 seats) and the Lib Dems (30) picked up an extra seat, and the Independents are down from 5 to 3.
3 memories| reminisce

Council Tax [02 Dec 2006|12:11pm]

I recently received a new council tax demand letter from the council in which they have failed to take into account all payments made both this year and last. They're wanting two years of council tax off me in three monthly installments.

Has anyone else been sent one of these ridiculous letters or are they just singling me out for special treatment?
6 memories| reminisce

Next year's County Council budget [13 Nov 2006|02:43pm]

This year, the County Council is consulting over its plans for next year's budget, which to summarise involve £7.8m extra in some areas but £15m cuts and extra charges elsewhere. The cuts include swingeing reductions in the amount allocated to footpath work, and as you can guess from my sobriquet, I am not best pleased with these - a 30% reduction in order to save the average council tax payer 70p a year - and I have told them so. But there are cuts in a lot more areas than these: you can read the proposals starting at this page on the Council's website. High (or low) lights include £3½ million extra (net) to various projects for people with learning disabilities and an extra £250k to dispose of television monitors which are now classed as hazardous waste. Cuts include an extra £100k income from the Durham controlled parking scheme, replacing street lights less often (£359k), sponsorship on highways structures, roundabouts etc (£60k) and ceasing support for brass bands and festivals (£30k).

The closing date for comments is 30 November.

Has the Durham housing market turned? [31 Oct 2006|04:42pm]


A few years ago, students would periodically knock on my door to ask if this house was to rent next year. I cannot remember when that last happened. And I've heard and seen a few more things:

  • To let signs all over the city, half way through the autumn term.
  • There are vacancies in Josephine Butler College.
  • A landlord of a flat in Freeman's Quay (near Gala Theatre) was reportedly bargained down from £120 per week to £70 per week rent.
  • A major landlord who has decided to sell up and move out of Durham is having trouble shifting his properties.
  • Landlords are busy upgrading properties, putting in broadband internet for example.

My impression is that the housing market has turned, and that it would be a brave person who decided to buy-to-let now, particularly if they borrowed money to do so. But until the penny drops, we're going to see more and more scraps of land used for flats and houses. And the estate agents aren't about to tell anybody. And neither is the Durham Advertiser which gets a lot of advertising revenue from the estate agents.

So what is the impression of other Durham residents?

6 memories| reminisce

Local Bands Broadcast to the World [30 Sep 2006|10:20am]


Normally I wouldn't go on about my internet radio show but today there's going to be something of interest to people from Durham and thereabouts, so here I am. Y'see, The Saturday Medelee, as the show is called, is big on promoting new and upcoming bands so I play a lot of new music on it. The show plays on Saturdays from 3PM to 6PM.

I've been wandering around Concepts recently, scouring the corner where all the local bands peddle their wares, and I've picked out some choice tracks from in and around Durham to play on the show. Fans of local music should therefore tune in at www.catnip-radio.com to hear tracks from The Shooter Whores, The Effects, The Colt .45s and Latino Casino plus new bands from around the world; all mixed in with the best music from the 60s through to the modern day.

Here endeth the plug, thank you for reading.
2 memories| reminisce

New Inn [28 Aug 2006|04:21pm]

Some of you may be interested to know that the New Inn has started on the road to recovery, nine years after it was 'Screamed'

Taking pride of place in the centre of the bar is an ale, Black Sheep, with rumours of this being joined by a guest ale come October. Excellent.
3 memories| reminisce

Clouds [08 Aug 2006|07:19pm]

If anyone's reading this in Durham I can highly recommend looking at the southern sky near the horizon, it's one of the oddest and must disturbingly beautiful cloud formations I recall.

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