Westerhope Ward Sub-Committee
Thursday 14 November 2002
(7.00 pm until 8.55 pm)
Councillor: Brannen (In the Chair)
P Woods City Treasurer (for part of the Meeting)
A Harris Community Co ordinator
L Couch - Democratic Services, Strategic Support Directorate
C Robinson - Cityworks
A H Flowers - Cotter Riggs Walk
B A Cook - Cotter Riggs Place
A Stathan - Beaumont Residents Association
M Wall - Beaumont Residents Association
R Heslop - Grosvenor Way Resident
C Robson - Hillhead Way
J Gifford - CHADCA Panto Group
T Peacock - Local History Society and Methodist Church
R E Handley - Roachburn Road Resident
M M Smith - Westerhope Residents Association
A Trotter - WVRA
L Miller - Byron Court Resident
I Waugh - Chadderton Drive Resident
P Gibson - Lady Bank Resident
L Hill - Cotter Riggs Place Resident
21 WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
The Chair welcomed those present and Councillors and Officers introduced
22 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Tiller, V Thompson and
The minutes of the meeting held on 12 September 2002 were confirmed and
approved as a correct record.
a) Recycling Issues
(Minute No 13(d) refers)
The Community Co-ordinator confirmed that the resident referred to should have
received a compost bin if he had been part of the pilot scheme and would make
arrangements for the resident concerned to be contacted.
The problems relating to the provision of medium size bins had not been resolved
however proposals for the introduction of a kerbside collection scheme during
2003 – 2004 may offer a solution to the problem. The Co-ordinator would follow
up the suggestion that the Chapel Park Area be the first priority for the
introduction of the kerbside collection scheme. In view of the problems
associated with the ending of the recycling scheme.
b) Parking on Ramps
(Minute No 13(g) refers)
A resident indicated that no progress had been made with this issue. The Co-
ordinator would follow up the matter with PC Dent. It was confirmed that the
garage was rented from the Council and the issue would also therefore be
pursued with the Housing Officers.
c) “Green Wedge”
(Minute No 13(e) refers)
The Community Co-ordinator indicated that investigations were continuing into
d) St John’s Church Cemetery – Maintenance
(Minute No 13(h) refers)
A resident indicated that congratulations were in order as a meeting held between
representatives of the church authority, officers and himself resulted in agreement
to tree removal and other maintenance issues.
e) Beaumont Terrace – Open Land
(Minute No 13(j) refers)
C Robinson indicated that he had spoken to the owner of the land in question
who had indicated he would undertake some tidying up works. The Council could
not pursue the matter further at this stage as the land in question was privately
owned however the matter would be monitored. It was confirmed that planning
permission had been granted in the past on this land and the possibility of future
application could be a possibility.
f) Wagonway Cross Overs
(Minute 18(a) refers)
C Robinson confirmed that the Abbey Farm to Cotter Riggs footpath works were
scheduled although no date could be given for the start of the works. A problem
had existed between the Contractor and the City Council in relation to other
schemes which had impacted on the start date for this work. The matter had now
been resolved therefore the issue would be progressed. In addition utility work
was also scheduled for the North Walbottle Wagonway in January/February
additional cable works to service the Great North Park site. In response to a
comment he confirmed that works would be undertaken in the area adjacent to
Lotus Close. A resident made reference to a letter from the footpath officer of the
City Council in April 2002 which had set out the benefits to the community for
improvement to the Wagonway following the previous laying of cables. C
Robinson confirmed that no further action would be progressed until the works
now scheduled for early 2003 had been completed.
g) Westerhope Community Partnership
(Minute No 19(9) refers)
Councillor Angus indicated that the drop-in held at the Methodist Church had
been successful in relation to the development of the Westerhope Community
24 CITY COUNCIL FINANCE
The City Treasurer was in attendance at the meeting to provide information about
how the City Council’s budgets are allocated and to answer questions. He
indicated that spending by the City Council was in the region of £500m 66% of
which was provided nationally and a relatively small amount of 15% provided by
Council Tax with the remaining been made up of charge payers and fees income.
The allocation of the funding was controlled by Government in relation to delivery
of statutory services such as Social Services, Education, Waste Management and
Highways. The allocation received by the City contained a higher than national
average amount in relation to tackling deprivation issues. Funding provided by
the Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy and special single regeneration budget
schemes provided funding in the region of £20m. He explained that Westerhope
Ward was not within the top 10% of deprived areas as defined nationally.
However, local decisions were not made in relation to allocations on a Ward basis
and gave examples of Education in relation to High School, Primary Schools and
pupil based calculations. Social Services, in relation to the elderly, children and
adults with physical and mental handicaps. Roads, in relation to needs based
assessments. In deprived areas spending on footpath/road improvements was
often related to special funding allocations.
In recent years small budget allocations had been made on an Area - basis which
could benefit Ward Committees. Other service funding had been squeezed
heavily by Central Government in recent years. The Council had recognised the
need for funding at local level and the Ward Stewardship fund had been
established, this could be progressed further through the Newcastle Plan which
had been published recently and dealt with community priorities.
He outlined private finance initiative funding in relation to street lighting which
would start the following year and would result in street lighting replacement
within 5 years throughout the City.
He made reference to the political process of Cabinet decisions and Select
Committees influencing those decisions and departmental delivery of services.
Formulas for spending varied from department to department although a standard
approach was adopted. He confirmed that in view of the extra funding available
for deprived areas, including neighbourhood renewal fund and SRB monies
Westerhope did receive less than average funding.
Comments and questions responded to included the following:-
Pupil allocations – children travelling from other areas – this was a result of
parental choice. Funding related to the number of pupils in the school including
additional funding allocated for children with special needs etc.
Poor condition of roads – the massive backlog was recognised. This had
resulted from the long term reductions in levels of spending. Alternatives for
funding such as private finance initiatives in relation to street lighting were
Condition of footpaths for repair. It was indicated that other areas of the City
did have worse conditions, however, lack of funding to address all problem
areas was again an issue. Highway spending had reduced linked with
increasing costs of “slips and trips” it was recognised that a massive injection
of funds would be necessary to improve the position, only £1m was available
for improvements and repairs across the City. Concerns were expressed at
the high quality of paving provided in ‘SRB’ areas, however, it was stressed
that the enhanced finance could only be spent locally and not redistributed.
The City Treasurer explained the index of multiple deprivation, additional
funding had not improved the region’s position and nationally the North East
was now the worst area in the United Kingdom. He acknowledged that
strategies used in deprived areas had not always worked and new strategies
were being developed. He indicated that a regional regeneration supplement
had been pursued with the Treasury which would have enabled additional
monies to be spent regionwide and not linked to specific areas, however this
had not been accepted by the Treasury nationally. Local Councils would
continue to pursue such avenues in the future.
In response to comments concerning contribution by Councils to employees
pensions, the City Treasurer explained that the scheme was statutory and
Councils were obliged to bridge the gap caused by the poor conditions of the
stock market. This had not been the case ten years ago when a “contribution
holiday” had been possible due to the strong position of the pensions
In response to comments that Westerhope was penalised due to its relative
affluence, it was confirmed that a basic level of service was provided to all
areas. The City Treasurer explained developments in relation to the index of
multiple deprivation on which the allocations were based. In that a new index
was being produced which would relate to much smaller enumeration areas,
this was in an effort to pick up on “pockets of deprivation” within the ‘wealthier’
Wards. This could be used in helping to target the limited resources available.
He confirmed that decisions were made by Cabinet Members and Councillors
in relation to Select Committee involvement. He stressed that a relatively
small area of the budget was available for allocation on a local basis with only
15% of the Council’s whole budget being raised from Council Tax.
The Chair indicated that one of the main factors in assessing the deprivation
levels was unemployment. Westerhope had a relatively low unemployment
figure. He indicated that some funding projects in the past had not assisted in
getting people into work but this had now changed.
He indicated that the issue had been well debated during the meeting and hoped
this resulted in a better level of understanding for residents. He thanked the City
Treasurer for his attendance at the meeting.
Residents expressed their thanks also, although there remained a general level of
dissatisfaction with the position.
(The City Treasurer left the meeting)
25 FINANCIAL STATEMENT 2002/2003
The financial statement as at 4 November 2002 was received.
26 APPLICATIONS FOR FUNDING
a) The Terraces Residents Association
It was noted that some of the streets included in the Neighbourhood Watch
scheme area were in the Denton Ward and it was suggested that an application
be made to that Sub-Committee. If the request were unsuccessful then a further
application could be made to this Sub-Committee.
RESOLVED – That approval be given to a grant of £100 towards
the cost of signs for the residents neighbourhood watch scheme.
b) New Panto Group CHADCA Centre
RESOLVED – That approval be given to a grant of £200 towards
the costs of the panto production of Sleeping Beauty. It was
confirmed that proceeds from the pantomime were used for
improvements to the CHADCA Centre.
c) Scotswood Family Drugs Support Group
The Community Co-ordinator indicated, in the absence of representatives from
the support group, that the intention was to introduce a Citywide service.
RESOLVED – That the application be not supported.
27 ISSUES OF LOCAL CONCERN
a) Local Schools
Concerns were expressed that rumours were circulating that middle schools in
the area were to close and be replaced by primary schools. In relation to Chapel
House Middle School concerns that building would subsequently take place on
the school field were also expressed.
Councillors indicated that the three tier system in the West End had been
reviewed several times in the past with objections from parents overcoming
proposals. She understood that consultation meetings were to be held the
following week in relation to outlining current consultation regarding schools in the
area. The possibility of building on school sites was not likely to happen in the
short term. Schools in the area were popular and parental choice allowed
children from other areas to access the schools.
In relation to the rebuilding of Westerhope First School it was confirmed that
proposals to incorporate housing on the site was included in the plans. The
private finance initiative scheme had always included a element of sale of land for
housing purposes. No attempts to deceive the community had been intended in
relation to this or future schemes in relation to any possible change in the schools
system. The need for wider circulation for consultation purposes within the
community was stressed by residents.
Councillors indicated that of 50 people attending the Consultation meeting in
relation to planning proposals at Westerhope First School only one objection was
received which had been resolved. Rumours ran ahead of the process and
Education Officers had yet to circulate papers to Councillors. The process would
involve discussion at the Labour Group and views from local people and parents
would be ascertained on meetings to be held to establish their views on any
Residents stressed that any school closure would affect the area as a whole and
should be consulted more widely than parents of pupils attending the school.
The Chair indicated that he had written to the Chief Executive expressing his
concerns in relation to falling populations within the City, resulting reduction in
Council Tax received, with greater percentage of older people. The Council’s
overall policy was to reverse the falling population in relation to Going for Growth
and increasing the amount of housing available was part of that policy.
In response to a comment relating to the loss of green belt the Chairman
indicated that school sites were considered “brown”. This situation was
happening across the country in relation to exchange of land. The lack of
available social housing included in the Great North Park development was also
an issue of concern expressed by the Chair.
In relation to the proposals for Westerhope First School the detail of the new
entrance included on the plan would be clarified for the resident concerned.
b) Private Finance Initiative – Lighting
A resident expressed concerned that privatisation of electricians in the City was to
The Chair suggested that this probably related to the Private Finance Initiative
scheme for replacement of the City’s street lights for which service the Council
would pay a rental fee with all street lighting being replaced over a 5 year period.
The PFI system had been introduced and was now national government policy.
The alternative to pursuing such options was to do nothing which would result in
little improvements to street lighting throughout the City.
c) Former Filling Station Greenway
In response to a comment from a resident that drilling had been undertaken on
the site recently, Councillors indicated that no formal plans had been received in
relation to the site but the position would be monitored.
d) Eco Panels
A resident indicated that the local Eco panel for Westerhope/Denton had been
very poorly attended and suggested that better publicity should be given to
advertise the events. The Community Co-ordinator undertook to pass on the
comments to the Officer concerned.
e) Ward Boundary Review
In response to concerns expressed in relation to details of the Ward Boundary
Review and the implications for Westerhope, it was agreed that the Head of
Democratic Services be invited to the next meeting to explain the position fully.
f) Bus Stop, St Johns Church
Concerns were expressed at the dangerous position of the bus stop opposite St
Johns Church i.e. Stamfordham Road (travelling into the City). The Community
Co-ordinator would contact the new Environmental Ward Steward to look into the
g) Footpath to West Denton School from Hillhead Road
A resident expressed thanks to Councillor Tiller that the works had been
h) Hedge Trimming – Westerhope
The Ward Steward noted the comments made in relation to the condition of the
hedge in the village.
i) Ward Stewardship – Report Back
Chris Robinson indicated that from the following day a full time Ward Steward D
Hepworth would take up his post.
He reported back on the following items which had been raised:-
Footpath inspections were undertaken every six months the last having been
undertaken on 20 August in Westerhope, the next scheduled for February
2003. Details of the time and specific dates of such inspections were not
Stamfordham Road hedge (opposite Jingling Gate Public House) the work
had been done to cut back the hedge.
St Johns Church Yard – additional waste paper bin had been provided and
agreement reached to hedge and tree maintenance.
Westerhope village seating – the work had been undertaken by the probation
Four additional waste paper bins had been provided in the village.
A grit bin was to be provided in the area of the post office.
Shrubs, Aylesbury Close, Abbey Grange Estate – the ownership of the bushes
had been established. The bushes had been cut back by the Council and
residents had been informed that the bushes were their responsibility.
Greenway – he confirmed that 30 mph speed limit existed on Greenway. The
provision of a layby for bus stop had been given consideration but the
provision would not be acceptable in relation to the closeness of traffic to
housing and the disadvantages of attracting of parking bay.
Provision of grit bins – additional grit bins would be provided on Grosvenor
Place and Kenmore Way.
Footpath improvements - work would commence in the near future in relation
to Wedmore, Brendale, and Horwood Avenue.
Resurfacing of Glendale footpaths, Ladybank resurfacing and improvements
at the rear of Wedmore were to be completed shortly.
Cayton Grove – a fence was to be erected.
A further issue raised by residents related to the bridleway hedge at the rear
of Cotter Riggs Place. Chris Robinson undertook to pass on the comments to
his replacement and ask him to look into the matter further.
The Chair expressed thanks to Chris on behalf of Councillors and residents.
30 ITEMS FOR INFORMATION
The following items of information were received.
(i) Leisure link
(ii) Funding October 2002
(iii) Leaving Litter
(iv) Community Safety Partnership
31 DATE AND TIME OF NEXT MEETING
It was noted that the next meeting would be held on Thursday 8 January 2003 at
7.00 pm at a venue to be confirmed.