Dear Residents of Newton Aycliffe,

Thank you for voting and I hope the turnout was nearer 40% than the usual, previous quarter of the town. I don’t mind winning or losing, but not on 26%

Congratulations to the winners and thank you to other parties, or individuals, who did bother to campaign, canvass and deliver. I hope that this time (in the future) people of the town will be able to name more than 3 out of 30 Town councillors and more than 2 out of the 7 County councillors. I hope not to have to spend the next 4 years reporting tyre tracks along the grass on Central Avenue, quads and off road bikes roaring down the Burn at 11pm, ordering a litter bin for Ross Walk because there are 3 dog bins but no litter bin.

In fact, having worked on Horndale estate, Silverdale and the Black estate, I realised how unfair it is to say litter is everywhere. There are about 3 bins on each estate for over 1000 people. Will children, playing 1/4 mile away from home, seriously, tell their friends they are running home to put their plastic bottle, hot dog wrapper, or pop can in the recycling bin? It is an absolute disgrace that with 7 county councillors, with £20k each to spend, that they can’t install another 10 bins, at £50 each, onto the 3 estates and pay the extra few thousand a year to have them emptied.

I’ll empty 3 myself on my estate and let Durham Civic Pride Green and Clean team, collect my blue bags. What have they been doing the last 12 years? They can’t blame austerity and government cutbacks with £1million in GATC reserves and £50 million to spare at County Hall.

Why should I have to keep doing the job of local councillors who I have never seen in my street, or even on my estate, when they are getting paid for it?

By now you will know who has won . . . So don’t let them (including me, if lucky enough to be chosen) disappear into the woodwork again, hiding behind meetings and office work, or their ‘main job’.

I very much respect the work of people like Bob Fleming, who has been a Head Teacher, Army Officer and Council leader. However, it is time to let a new generation of younger, ambitious councillors from all parties to be given a chance to let 21st century people decide their future. The average age of our council has been approximately 60+ for the last 20 years, so it is time to let those with 10 or 20 years life experience with jobs, families and recent, local business and community, experience, have an opportunity.

I, myself aged over 50, welcome new young people into local politics to make our profile more representative of a wide cross-section of society. Let’s be positive and make local community politics based upon local consultation where, shift workers, elderly and disabled and single parents, with no childcare or transport, can access local councillors and vote in meetings.

We can no longer say you must go out on a dark, winter’s night to a community centre you cannot get to without a taxi fare you might not be able to afford.

We must let the people choose how taxpayers money is spent, not a handful of retired people in a meeting many people can’t attend. We must look at the solution and not the problem. For example, don’t name and shame quad and underage motorbikers but take them safely off the streets and give them waste land to ride on. Make them sign a disclaimer and let a local farmer provide a site, or use the white elephant land next to Woodham Academy, with a 8pm curfew for noise.

Please remember this . . . Can you name more than 3 out of 30 or 2 out of 7 Town Councillors? If not, something is very badly wrong.

I am asking for a team of Town and County Councillors, working together, to create a prosperous and caring town council.

Unified to meet the needs of the people, irrespective of political belief.

Thank you.

Tony Armstrong


and Primary QTS NVQ A1 Assessor.