Around Newcastle East

October 13, 2009 10:40 PM

Greg has been at two community meetings tonight - firstly the Dene, North Heaton, and South Heaton youth forum as part of Local Democracy Week, then the AGM of the Friends of Paddy Freemans Park at High Heaton bowls club.

The youth forum was excellent - a presentation by young people who'd participated in a teambuilding exercise weekend at an outward bounds centre in Teesdale, and a "young councillors" exercise looking at issues young people would like the council to tackle. Hopefully this fledgling group can become an important voice for children and young people in this part of the city. It was also good to see inside the new Heaton Baptist Church extension, which provides some great facilities.

Excellent work from the council's youth team and ward co-ordinators - though rather disappointing that whilst the Lib Dem councillors for Dene and North Heaton funded the project and weekend from ward budgets, Labour controlled South Heaton refused.

Following this the Paddy Freemans AGM was already well advanced, though also well attended. After the success of the annual dog show in September, the group is now looking forward to the hugely popular carols in the park concert before Christmas, where choirs from Benton Park and Cragside primary schools perform.

The lake in Paddy Freemans is shortly to be drained and cleaned by a community payback team, but there is still much debate over whether to proceed with the installing of a "duck island". Greg is not sure whether a prospective MP should be supportive of duck islands given recent events!

After talking with residents at the meeting, Greg and Dene councillor Bob Renton are to speak to the council's highways department about turning the existing traffic refuge on Newton Road near the shops by Heaton Stannington's ground into a pedestrian crossing.