Dear Editor,
Through your newspaper I would like to state my shock and dismay to see the Western area of Newton Aycliffe denigrated in the Northern Echo and on the BBC Regional T.V. As one of the local County Councillors I, other community leaders and individuals were not approached or given the opportunity to offer an alternative view to the one presented. In my opinion these news articles were unwelcome and misrepresented the majority of good, productive and law abiding people who live in this part of the town.
The lead instigator Dorothy Bowman, although well intentioned, may have caused more damage to this community than the small number of individuals and families who cause the anti-social behaviour and disruption in the first place.
Mrs Bowman works hard within the local community to ensure it receives its fair share of support and resources, but by focusing Regional attention on sensational headlines such as likened to Channel 4, ‘Shameless Estate’ only reinforces an already struggling community with an unjustified poor image. Mrs Bowman would be better placed to work with the wider community and support the organisations that are striving to deliver positive outcomes for all residents.
I think it is important to provide your readers with a review of the work already going on within this vibrant well established community;
Livin the social landlord have established a Western Area Group involving the local County Council Councillors, Police, Resident groups (including Mrs Bowman), and other local partners. They are tasked with looking at ways to tackle issues within the area e.g. anti-social behaviour, employment support, youth work, private landlords and public realm improvements. A third meeting is planned along with estate walkabouts to identify and tackle troublesome tenants and absentee landlords. The Police have also played their part and have taken direct action through arrests, convictions and ASBO’s to reduce unwanted behaviour by the small minority of individuals who make people’s lives a misery.
Mrs Bowman claimed that ‘a lack of funding’ is partly to blame for social disorder and the poor environment however, since 2013 funding has been coordinated by local County Councillors Kate Hopper and I, through DCC, GAMP and supported by GATC, these organisations have injected over £50k into the West Division area providing essential resources and support to Schools, Community groups and Western area families who use these valuable services.
The partners have also delivered and supported environmental improvements to such areas as; West Park and the bridges, the removal of old unsightly flowerbeds replaced with daffodil and crocus bulbs including two new flower beds at Silverdale and Eskdale.
In my opinion, by talking the Western area down and amplifying the issues in the press and media exacerbates the situation and will only serve to drive good people away from this area. I would encourage residents to get involved, attend resident and PACT meetings and support the community events.
We all need to support this area, working in partnership, developing positive relationships, tackling head on anti-social behaviour and involving all in the community, this must be a better way to establish real change and improved outcomes for this area of the town.
Cllr Eddy Adam
Durham County Council
Aycliffe West Division
07900 701966