Firstly can I thank the officer from Durham County Council for the information printed in Newton News on how they are dealing with asbestos in schools.
Elmfield School was closed in 2009, due to lack of demand for children’s places. I never wish to offend anyone, but my great concern is the way the Elmfield Action Committee chaired by Labour Councillor Kate Hopper with other Labour Councillors Eddy Adam and Mike Dixon are very focused on  the sale of  this school land and the playing field area, for housing and  to fund a public building on that land for the ward.
Elsewhere in the county a similar situation is being investigated by a Government Inspector over a multi-million pound housing development involving the sale of a school playing field, nature reserve and recycling centre.
The County Council are now having to review their processes. I intend to bring the proposed use of Elmfield land to the attention of this Government Inspector
What has happened since 2009 in providing new Schools in Durham County? I hope our two councillors take note as this is what they should be fighting for rather than housing.
New state-of-the-art  Schools built since 2009 include Brandon, Esh Whinning, Kirk Merrington, Greenland Community School., Shotton Hall, Durham Trinity School, an Academy also at Shotton Hall, Sedgefield Community College and North Durham Academy – all closed and moved to newly built schools.
This can be done at Elmfield if our County Councillors start doing what is required for the West Ward instead of following what the Labour controlled council want to happen.
They are only interested in building new houses, but if we look around the West Ward and Newton Aycliffe generally there are many houses standing empty,
If a Community Centre  is built on the Elmfield site I am only too pleased I will not be living next to it! Just take a look at the one we have in the west ward, Silverdale House. Vast amounts of ratepayers money has been spent on it and still doesn’t function in the best interests of the public.
The two West Ward councillors Adam and Hopper said in their election leaflet they would support this and invest their time and energy in a concerted effort to make it work better for the public. I do not feel this promise has been fulfilled!
The following is a list of expenditure:
Laptops £399.99 x 10 = £4,369-80
Panasonic Camcorder £449.99
Networking the ten Laptops – £260.00
DVD recorder -£199.99
Epson Printer + cartridges – £299.99
Cinema Projector – £407.99
Dance Mats, Practice Mats, Dance Club Mats = £3,786.00
Wireless Retrofit Kit for Dance Mats £354.00
CCTV System £479.99
Radio Microphone System – £189.00
Honda EU201 Generator – £1258.80
Stair Lift £4,250.00
Xbox Kinnex £286.45
Total £16,592.00 inc vat
These items were applied for, to be used at the centre for community use, to enhance activities for young people using Silverdale House. The equipment purchased was to provide a valuable resource for all members of the community that access Silverdale House. This is not happening since Durham County Council withdrew funding on all public buildings.
As a result and despite having invested over £16,000 the building has not been open and available for the public to take advantage of all the facilities and equipment available – this is a huge shame considering the amount of public money that has been spent here !
To me Aycliffe is the LOST town in Durham County – we need all our councillors to start speaking up for the benefit of residents  and let’s start to get things done!
Ratepayers money has been spent on the Neighbourhood Plan and one of the high priorities and suggested improvements to our area  is the need for a Retail Park for Newton Aycliffe – I believe this would be a huge benefit to  residents and and we need to move forward with this as soon as possible!
I am aware  private companies drive this type of venture forward, but they need to know there is land available along with the council’s support. We must press this issue as Aycliffe can only benefit from the delivery of such a facility!
I also believe UKIP would be the perfect Party to bring essential improvements to the table and drive forward these type of initiatives that can only benefit and serve to improve the day to day lives of hard working residents of Newton Aycliffe both young and old. There have been many promises made along the way by various parties but I firmly believe UKIP are best placed and best motivated to deliver positive results rather than those making empty promises!
Alderman George Gray,
West Ward Councillor