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Over the past twelve months I have worked hard, alongside County Councillors, and local groups to ensure that the playing fields are not sold along with the site, and I think it is welcome news that they will be protected and retained for recreational uses.

It is important that communities have green spaces and I am really glad that the area will benefit from the playing fields.

If the Community Association is to go with the school, I hope that it will relocate to a nearby community centre, so that residents do not miss out.

The site itself has been earmarked for development for some time, and I hope that whatever the site is developed into is done so with consultation with the local community.

I think it is particularly important that the local community is given a say on the type and nature of housing on the site and what any planning gain money that derives from it should be spent on. 

Demolishing the Durham Free School Site

  Over the past twelve months I have worked hard, alongside County Councillors, and local groups to ensure that the playing fields are not sold along with the site, and...

Let’s be clear, any support for locally-led regeneration is welcome, but the fact is this government have halved investment in housing, slashed council budgets, making good, locally-led regeneration harder

The Prime Minister talks about demolishing these so-called “sink estates”, but what is he replacing them with? People across the country will not only have heard this announcement but will now be worried about the government having no plan to replace homes demolished with homes of the same tenure, ultimately forcing local people out of their communities.

I’ve listened to the Prime Minister talk about how the people on these estates feel, but has he actually asked them? It would be great if he would involve all members of those communities in regenerating their areas. Labour want to see locally-led regeneration, which increases, rather than diminishes, the amount of affordable homes, creating mixed and balanced communities for people to live in.

 

 

Is the Prime Minister’s new plan for “sink estates” the right one?

Let’s be clear, any support for locally-led regeneration is welcome, but the fact is this government have halved investment in housing, slashed council budgets, making good, locally-led regeneration harder

 

Since the Coalition and now Tory led government have come in, we have seen the number of police officers decrease year on year, and I am disappointed to see that in Durham this has meant a loss of 387 officers in the last six years.

I think it is important to remember that the Government are going ahead with these cuts at a time when more serious and violent crimes including child abuse, rape and domestic violence are being reported, and when the threat of a terror attack has increased. Now is not the time to risk cutting our frontline officers.

In Durham, crimes such as burglaries are on the increase, from 299 incidents reported in December 2010 to 425 in November of last year. [1] How can the police respond properly to such incidents when their numbers are being cut?

I am particularly concerned that not only are we losing officers, but under government plans, volunteers would be granted the same powers as Police Community Support Officers,[2] which is clearly another way this government is cutting corners in order to make savings. What guarantee do we have that volunteers will be up to the job?

These combined changes risk undermining public confidence in the police’s ability to protect citizens despite the fact they do such a good job with limited resources.

It makes no sense to me that whilst police officer numbers have been cut, the government continues to employ Police and Crime Commissioners on salaries of £100,000 a year.

We need to take swift action to halt these cuts to the police, and I want to assure people in Durham that I am opposed to this, along with the wider Labour Party who are taking action by launching a national campaign to protect the Police from these damaging cuts.

I hope this national campaign against the cuts gets a great deal of support from the public.

Police Cuts

  Since the Coalition and now Tory led government have come in, we have seen the number of police officers decrease year on year, and I am disappointed to see...


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