Friday, 18 November 2011

Durham County Council Consultations

Again, this rant is aimed at Aycliffe people.


From time to time, Durham County Council publishes consultation documents on which residents are invited to comment. Since these consultations usually announce changes which affect our lives, I would advise everybody to ‘have their say’.
Until recently, there was a scheme whereby the County Council emailed you about new consultations as they happened; this seems to have ended. Instead, you now have to keep track of County Council consultations yourself at:
http://www.durham.gov.uk/Pages/Service.aspx?ServiceId=867
(alternatively go to the DCC home page, and do a site search for ‘Consultations’).
If you bookmark this page, you will be able to check it from time to time for new consultations.

There are currently THREE consultations which affect Great Aycliffe. Actually, we fare relatively well in all three, but you might wish to reply to these consultations saying that you agree (to prevent objections from other areas causing the County Council to change its mind).

1. Household Waste Recycling Centres – the County Council is closing down six HWRCs through the County. Our Heighington Lane HWRC is set to stay open, but it might be worthwhile replying to say you agree. (If it closes, we will have to drive to Roman Way.) You can reply, slightly inconveniently, by completing an online 14-question survey.

2. CCTV – Great Aycliffe will come out quite well if the consultation goes through. Of 141 cameras which are proposed for decommissioning throughout the county, only 3 are in Aycliffe – one at the police station (which is closing anyway), and two on Town Council premises (which the Town Council can take over). The Town Council has formally welcomed the consultation recommendations, but you can email CCTVconsultation@durham.gov.uk to give them your views.

3. Community Buildings – faced with huge cuts to its budget, the County Council is having to rationalise the 120 community buildings which it owns. The plan is to target just 36 of them for £2.15 million investment (provided they formulate a business plan and find 30% matched funding), though future work will not be funded by the council. The remaining 84 buildings are not initially targeted for funding and will either be sold, or offered to the community under ‘asset transfer’.
It is an ‘everybody loses’ plan, but given that the buildings need £7.5 million capital investment and £2.5 million a year to maintain, it is difficult to see what else the County Council could do in the current circumstances.
The ONLY Great Aycliffe building involved in this is Aycliffe Village Hall, and it is one of the 36 buildings prioritised for investment, but if you live in Aycliffe Village you will be very interested in this consultation.
It is intended that the consultation team will be present at the GAMP AAP forum on 22 November (at 6pm in the Newton Aycliffe Youth Centre), and DCC will be meeting with the Village Hall Committee.
The detailed proposals are available on the Consultations webpage, and you can respond to the consultation on cbconsultation@durham.gov.uk.

John D Clare
You can follow Councillor Clare on twitter @johndclare

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