Goodbye to PC Keith Todd & Welcome to PC John Lamb
Before opening the meeting, Chairman David Hillerby gave a presentation of a specially engraved small clock from Sedgefield N/Hood Watch to Keith and thanked him for his service of over 22years to our community. Individuals Poul & Karen Einshoi
made a special trip to present their own gift and extend their personal thanks to Keith
for his service. Along with N/Hood Watch they wished him every good fortune in the
future. Keith accepted both gifts, expressing his gratitude, then spoke of his pleasure
and satisfaction at being our Bobby at Sedgefield for so many years.
David also updated members of C/man Ken Saiger’s situation and the difficulties he continues to experience; members expressed their concerns for Ken and hope he can obtain some improvement soon. David informed members that Ken is unlikely to be able to carry on as Chairman after October and that he will not be standing for reelection either; it really is time for new volunteers to step forward or this group will probably have to fold at the AGM in October.
Following approval of the previous minutes Keith introduced his replacement, PC John Lamb, who gave a summary of his 16 year career with Durham Police and described his personal reasons for requesting this post. John gave a commitment to provide the best service he can for the residents of Sedgefield urging the public to speak to him directly and tell him frankly and openly of their needs, which he will address to the best of his ability.
Keith then delivered his final report speaking in detail about the Recorded Crimes (11 plus 24 ASB incidents) that took place between 27th February and the 10th April. Aspects of last Friday’s Antisocial Behaviour (6th April) were discussed. Policing on this occasion was carried out by members of the Special Constabulary. A report was delivered to the meeting of a young girl arrested for knife possession following a male’s (alleged) threatening use of that knife. The Police issued one dispersal order, a lot of alcohol was seized and a “boogie box” was also confiscated. The “Specials” reported that there were more than 150 young persons out that Friday night! PC Todd went on to give details of the planned meeting on 19th April, being arranged by Police Inspector Honeyman, which will allow relevant agencies and organisations to come together to seek a solution to this unacceptable problem in Sedgefield. Finally, Keith reported that, following his investigations, allegations of illegal betting outside the racecourse proved to be unfounded.
Following the meeting the agreed PACT priority was of course – tackling the ASB problem. Next NH Watch Meeting is Tuesday 12th June 2018 – 7.00pm.
Call 101 to contact Local Police to report concerns, seek advice or pass on information. You are advised to keep notes of the conversation & obtain an incident number. Below are the up-to-date police contacts. Please note any you may need, as we may not have space to publish them all every month.
Crime Prevention Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Police Community Cohesion Officer: Faye Callan; Telephone 101 Extension 742317.
PCC RON HOGG: www.durham-pcc.gov.uk/Information-Hub/Contact.aspx
At the time of writing this article, British Gas has just announced that they are to increase their gas and electricity prices by 5.5% from 29th May. History tells us some, if not all, energy companies will follow suit.
Our energy switching scheme’s next auction takes place on 22nd May so if you have not participated previously, now might be a good time. Don’t just take our word about the savings that have been achieved, talk to your friends and or neighbours.
For new participants to the scheme, if your contracts come to an end before the end of June, this is the registration period for you. This is also the auction for which you need to register if you have been part of the scheme previously and are either First Utility customers - your contract will end at the end of May, or SSE customers - if your contract ends before the end of July.
Registration opened on the 3rd April and CLOSES ON 21ST MAY. Auction Day is 22nd May and Offers will issued from 4th June 2018. Offer acceptance closes on 3rd July 2018.
REGISTRATION can be achieved in the usual two ways. If you are happy to register on line yourself, go to www.sedgefieldweb.co.uk and open the ENERGY SWITCH section. Click on the ‘REGISTER NOW’ button and follow the links to fill out your details. If you prefer to register and receive information through the post, or need any assistance, please call the Sedgefield Development Trust Helpline on 07980 134 594. We will be more than happy to assist you or to complete registration for you.
Lots of good produce on sale as ever, and the entertainment for May will be dancing around the Maypole. Same old? Well not quite!
This time, all children attending the market are welcome to have a go, and parents are welcome too! Come along and enjoy the fun.
The Sedgefield Village Action Group will be on our community stall market, providing information for all concerned on all the possible new housing that could be happening in Sedgefield.
Exam season is approaching, and, thanks to another volunteer coming forward and some shift in requirements, we have some capacity to help some more students with their homework, especially in a range of subjects up to GCSE level, and with biology up to A-level.
We are also able to offer some guidance in preparing university applications and interviews. If you'd like some help with understanding your homework or school notes, do get in touch with us
at email@example.com, or find us on Facebook. If we don't yet have anyone available in your subject area, we will do our best to find someone.
The same means can also be used to contact us if you are able to offer help - we are always keen to welcome more volunteers, as we'd like to be able to help more students and never have to refuse anyone who is looking for a hand, at whatever level. We wish all the best to all students with their exam preparations!
When volunteers returned in mid April to tidy rubbish from the site, they were delighted to find that, despite the wintery conditions they were planted in, our trees were coming to life. They will be keeping an eye on things regularly - the next step is to clear some of the ground around each tree to allow them to thrive. If you would like to be involved, please text or call 07803 269956 and leave an email address.
Despite the awful weather on Easter Monday, the children had a fun time. It was way too wet and slippy to go out onto the lawns and hunt for eggs, so we had ‘eggciting’ party games and activities in the main hall instead. Prizes (Easter eggs of various
sizes) were given to all of the children who entered the decorated egg and Easter bonnet competition.
Thanks to Joyce Snowdon for judging an impressive range of entries.
Sophie Green (aged 8), from Sedgefield Hardwick School won the draw to be this year’s May Queen. Sophie and her attendants; Evie Legender (age 9), from Sedgefield Primary, Amelia Taylor (age 7), from Hardwick School, and Georgie Luke (age 5), also from Hardwick School, will lead the opening procession for the Mediaeval Fayre in a horse drawn carriage at 10 am.
Mediaeval Fayre: As usual, Sedgefield’s two fantastic primary schools combine efforts to make a fabulous walking parade and show (not to be missed) on the day. This year’s theme will celebrate the links and relationship between America and Great Britain. A little later in the day of course, Prince Harry will marry Meghan Markle. It’s not only us who are hoping for a sunny day! All of the other arrangements are now in the final stages. There is a wide range of new craft stalls and charity stalls as well as mediaeval displays, Living History, Tug of War, Birds of Prey, face painting, Punch and Judy and much more on the green and in the grounds of Ceddesfeld. Refreshments will be served all day at Ceddesfeld Hall by Sedgefield Bloomers, so don’t miss out on your bacon butty or chocolate cake!
Many local businesses sponsor this event (SCA’s biggest fundraiser) and various community groups support in the run up and on the day. Members of SCA help also by taking part in the big Raffle Draw, for which tickets have just been circulated. More tickets will be sold on the day. The event is run solely by local volunteers and all assistance (even if just for an hour on the day, or an evening collecting) is extremely helpful and makes a massive difference.
The rota for collections and sorting (14th to 17th May) is up in the foyer at Ceddesfeld Hall, contact Sarah, Pat or Wendy, for a time slot on a stall. There is a free raffle draw for all volunteers. SCA are looking forward to future events also: Sedgefield Day (June 23rd), SCA Beer Festival (6th & 7th July), Sedgefield Folk Festival (31st August, 1st & 2nd September), Sedgefield Book Ends, which runs between Saturday 29th September and 21st October. There will be more on these events next month, or visit the SCA website for further details.
Door to door collections for the Fayre
Donations of non perishable foods, books, toys, bric-a-brac, raffle and tombola gifts this would be greatly appreciated. SCA are not able to take any furniture or clothes.
Monday 14th May 6 – 8 pm. Kerr Crescent etc. Pine Ridge etc. Mitford Court etc. Hardwick Road etc. Durham Road & North End
Tuesday 15th May 6 – 8 pm. White House Drive etc. Hawthorn Road etc. The Lane etc. St. Edmund’s Green & East End etc.
Wednesday 16th May 6 – 8 pm. West End, Station Road etc. Spring Lane etc. Queens Drive etc. & The Meadows etc.
Thursday 17th May 6 – 8 pm. Eden Drive, Thurlow etc. The Orchards etc. Stockton Road, Rectory Row & Village Centre, Winterton.
Please call John on 01740 620042 to arrange collection. Alternatively items may be taken to Ceddesfeld Hall. Items can also be left at Ceddesfeld Hall each evening, 14th – 17th May after 7.30pm
In recent weeks Sedgefield has seen a dramatic rise in numbers of youths gathering in the village on Friday and Saturday nights. Police have previously used dispersal powers to move groups of youths from areas where their presence is alarming residents. Whilst there has been some instances of minor criminal damage, arranged fights and one instance whereby a 13 year old female was arrested in possession of a knife, the vast majority of youths are well behaved and are not committing offences.
It is clear that numbers have increased as youths are travelling from towns and villages far and wide to meet friends in Sedgefield. Many are dropped off by parents who view Sedgefield as a safe place to gather. It is certainly true that Sedgefield is a safe and nice place to live and visit.
In response to resident’s concerns regarding the large numbers of youths a multi-agency meeting was held at Sedgefield Parish Hall on Thursday 19th April 2018. The photograph above shows some of those who attended.
There were representatives from the local councils, county and town/parish councillors, Police, local schools, Restorative Hub, Youth workers and groups to name but a few. The meeting was positive, with attendees agreeing that there is a balance to be struck between residents feeling safe in their village and local youths enjoying being young people and enjoying meeting their friends in their own area.
Over the coming weeks partners will be working together to reduce the numbers of youths visiting from outside the village. Once this is achieved a working group from the partners will come together to explore funding opportunities with the aim of providing somewhere for the youths to meet.
Other partners will work with the youths to identify what they would like in relation to activities and work with local residents to provide reassurance and to mediate so that residents and youths have an understanding of each other’s needs. There is a system used by partners that collates data from council, police and fire and the current data shows that in reality there are very few reports of actual ASB in the village it is more the perception created by large gatherings.
We will provide updates as our partnership work progresses. In the meantime I would appeal to parents to know where your children are, what they are doing and above all, not to supply their children with alcohol for their evenings out with friends.
We are still trying to fulfil what we promised and keep residents informed about planning applications and represent the majority view at planning committee meetings. We attended the planning meeting of The Turners’ site and whilst acknowledging that the site needs development we pointed out that Durham County Council (DCC) had said the industrial/commercial land would never be given change of use permission to housing land. DCC claim there was little prospect of the Turners site securing future industrial commercial development so granted permission for housing.
We further commented that Sedgefield did not need a further 71 houses and suggested retirement/care facilities and bungalows would be more appropriate so reducing the pressure on traffic congestion and need for school places; of course, there will still be further pressure on the already ‘stretched’ GP practice. It seems there is still the possibility of the type of accommodation being looked at when final planning is agreed.
Then there is the proposed development of the stables/horse field. If this development is given approval it will be the ‘death knell’ for the Stockton Road entrance to the village (for some time now, DCC officers have wanted this entrance to the village closed hence the access road from the A689 roundabout through the new Eden Drive estate). Further, if the stables/horse field is granted permission it once again opens up the prospect of applications on the 3-cornered field, the proposed 150 on the field opposite the stables field as well as other areas of open green fields.
Survey work has been carried out with a view to open up Old Beacon Lane for further house building on the green fields to the side of the Beacon Lane estate etc. So, we still have a battle on our hands to protect the character of Sedgefield and this can only be done if the community come together to take action.
SVAG will continue to try to keep you informed, however we are a small group of active people and finance for leaflet drops etc. is very limited. We will have an information stall at the Farmers’ Market on Sunday May 6th. Please come along and talk to us. Comments can be sent to sedgefieldVAG@gmail.com or 0752 3457584.
You may be aware of the problems with our Neighbourhood Plan. Sedgefield Town Council held a public meeting in February asking what the public wanted to happen, but have since, for what they feel are valid reasons, ignored that community view and are taking a different route - sadly without any further consultation with the community. It is up to STC to keep the public informed re the Neighbourhood Plan and we can only hope that this happens. (You can of course contact them yourself.)
To end, here’s a relevant comment from the Northern Echo ‘There needs to be better community engagement, more listening, greater visibility of our political leaders, less condescension, and an appreciation that this is not just a wave of Nimbyism, but a genuine concern about what is happening to the local environment’.
Sedgefield in Bloom volunteers were angry and disappointed to discover the damage done to the Dashing Vicar when he was forcibly pushed over during the Easter weekend break. Standing in the Stepping Through Time garden at the entrance to Ceddesfeld Hall, the willow statue provides a focal point for the major refurbishment programme of that area. As well as reflecting the important heritage of the Hall, the figure has already become a firm favourite, attracting praise from residents, visitors and Bloom judges alike.
Visiting judges are always impressed by the community spirit usually so evident in Sedgefield, but clearly missing from the people who caused this wanton damage. The statue is secured very firmly, so it must have taken a good deal of effort and more than one person, to dislodge it.
The creation of the garden took two years, and involved a great deal of heavy work, much of which was undertaken by a small group of volunteers, all retired and many battling serious illness. In addition, considerable cost was involved, including the purchase of the Dashing Vicar, designed and created by local artist Victoria Conner of the Willow Barn. ‘The Bloomers work tirelessly all year round’ said Chairman Howard Smith ‘but we are now preparing for spring and summer judging - our busiest time of the year.
We receive terrific support from the community and have a proud record of winning numerous gold awards.’ ‘We will not be beaten by this setback and will continue in our efforts to keep Sedgefield blooming beautifully.’
Police are actively investigating the matter and would appreciate public support. CCTV footage of Ceddesfeld Gardens may shed more light on the situation.