Next Steps: Public Meeting to Discuss the McDonald’s Planning Application

no-mcdonaldsThere will be a public meeting to discuss the planning application for the proposed McDonald’s Drive Through on Kenton Lane/Ponteland Road on Thursday 3rd July at 6.30pm in the Blakelaw Community Centre & Library (just off Binswood Avenue).

Blakelaw & Kenton Councillors involved in the campaign against the plan will be at the meeting and they have invited a Planning Officer to talk through the plan and answer any technical questions.

We will then talk through the planning process and how best to organise the campaign leading up to the committee decision.

Please use your social media and email networks to invite as many local residents as possible to the meeting.  If you can help distribute leaflets in the local area to invite residents to the event then please email or call on 0191 271 5163

Say NO! to McDonalds on Ponteland Road/Kenton Lane

Along with my Labour colleagues in Kenton I have lodged strong objections to the application by McDonalds to build a large drive-thru takeaway at the former site of the Crofters Lodge pub.

Backed by scores of residents from both wards the local councillors want the proposed scheme scrapped.

Coun. Stephen Lambert, Chair of the Kenton Ward Committee, said : ‘’Regarding access, this is already an extremely busy junction at all times of the day and night. The increase in cars and trucks will cause problems to the road layout and to local people trying to access their homes. Clear evidence of this of this can be seen at another McDonald’s outlet at West Denton, where on a daily basis, traffic can be seen queuing onto nearby major roads causing backlog and congestion.’’

He added: ‘’Likewise there’s the issue of highway safety. If this proposal goes ahead, not only will this cause safety issues for residents, but also for students at the nearby Kenton Academy. The large take-away will be based on one of the main pedestrian routes to and from the school.’’

Several residents are deeply concerned about the impact that this plan will have on their neighbourhoods, especially Central Grange , Kenton Bar and Cheviot View. Locals have contacted their councillors and told them they don’t want to see garish illuminated sings near their properties.

The proposal to build a McDonald’s on the main walking route to the biggest secondary school in the city is just wrong.  Residents in both Blakelaw and Kenton Ward will suffer from increased traffic congestion on an already busy road as well as noise pollution and litter. I am opposed to the plan and I have recused myself from the planning committee for this application so I can speak against it.

Residents can lodge their objections to the Planning Department at Newcastle City Council via this link.  Your say is important.

Britain is not a fair society

Over the past 30 years the wealth inequality gap in Britain has widened to the point where we are now one of the least equal economies in the world.  The staggering numbers often mask just how unequal wealth distribution in Britain really is but broken down into sensible numbers the reality is beyond belief.

ICM released a poll recently on the subject of wealth inequality in Britain.  The poll asked 2000 people to imagine that the total wealth of the UK was £100.  It then asked how they thought that £100 should be distributed from those with less wealth to those with more wealth?  People thought that the richest 20% should have £25 and the poorest 20% should have £15.  In a fair Britain, that’s what people thought it should be.

The same people were then asked what they thought was the actual distribution of wealth in Britain.  People thought that the richest 20% had £40 and that the bottom 20% had £9.   If only!!  The actual numbers are staggering.  In Britain today the richest 20% have 60% of the total wealth.  £60 of our £100 pot, almost twice as much as everyone else combined.  Look at the richest 1% and the numbers are even more eye watering.  The richest 1% have as much wealth as 60% of the population – where is the fairness in that?

As for the poorest 20%? Well, if £100 were the total wealth of Britain then the poorest 20% would have 60p.  It’s difficult to quite comprehend just how unfair that is.

Some might argue that the top 20% are the wealth creators.  They own the shops and offices and factories providing the other 80% with jobs and an income.  Fair enough, those people should get a good slice of our £100 pie but they should also realise that we all paid for the schools that their employees were educated in, we all paid for the roads that they use to ship their goods and the emergency services protecting their assets.   In a fair Britain the 20% should get a decent chunk of the total wealth but they also have an obligation to recognise that we all contributed to their success and we all deserve our fair share of the pie.

The middle class of Britain is disappearing while the rich are getting richer and the poorer are getting poorer.  That’s not political posturing, it’s fact and as long as the Government keeps ignoring the immorality of wealth inequality in Britain then we cannot with any honesty claim to be a fair society.

Local elections 2014 (and Ukip)

Plans for our local elections in Newcastle this May are well underway and in Blakelaw Ward we have already selected our candidate.  Ben Riley is a resident of Blakelaw ward and one of our volunteer youth workers at the local community centre.  He is a secondary school teacher in Durham.

Me, Sue and Ben at the Fenham Hut pie and pea meeting (Ben's the tall one on the right)

Me, Sue and Ben at the Fenham Hut pie and pea meeting (Ben is the tall one on the right)

Ben is an active member of the Blakelaw community and a regular on our weekend street surgeries across the ward.  He’d be a fantastic councillor and he grafts like no one I have ever met.  If you live in Blakelaw ward, please vote for him on 22nd May.

It’s going to be an interesting election in Newcastle this May.  Ukip have merged with Newcastle First who until their assimilation into Ukip (resistance is futile) ran second to Labour in a few seats across the city.  This gives Ukip a small foothold into Newcastle and you can be sure that they’ll campaign aggressively based on fear on half-truths in the seats they do contest.

Ukip haven’t yet selected a candidate for Blakelaw ward but I am sure they will and my position on that is clear.  My Labour colleagues and I work hard in Blakelaw and we have delivered some real results for our community.  We are not fighting local elections on the issue of Europe but on local issues and the work we do locally.  I have faith in the people of Blakelaw that they can see how hard we work on their behalf and they’ll support us at local elections as long as we do.

That being said, on the same day as the local elections we also have European elections.  Labour have selected three fantastic candidates for the North East and I am proud to support them all for election.  Our membership of Europe, the worlds largest single market, is vital for countless businesses and jobs in the North East.  If the UK withdrew from Europe it would have a devastating impact on North East jobs, businesses, investment and growth and would spell the end of Britain’s influence globally.  Ukip know they cannot win the economic argument so they instead prey on peoples fears about immigration completely ignoring the facts and blinding people to support their message of fear.

So… please support the Labour Party at the European Elections and give us a chance to show you what good, hard working Labour MEPs can do for our region.


This seems like a good time to start a new blog

2013 has been a pretty crappy year for too many people and yes, it’s all the Government’s fault.  Just think of the hurt and pain and anguish that Camoron [sic] and his partner in crime Clegg-the-peg (cos he hangs people out to dry) have inflicted on decent people in Britain.  A tax cut for millionaires at a time when austerity is being rammed down everyone else’s throat tells you everything about this Coalition of out-of-touch millionaires.

The Parliamentary Labour Party are anaemic in their butter fingered approach to tacking the most right wing government in generations.  We languish at a 5% majority in the polls and Ed Miliband’s strategy is to defend that at all costs.  Defend what?  A 5% majority in the run up to an election can evaporate quicker that a puddle in a desert.  People need choice.  It’s like Batman vs the Joker only Batman seems more interested in keeping his tights clean than getting into a KAPOW! with his nemesis.

Ed has the capacity to be a great Labour Leader but he needs to worry less about headline chasing gesture politics and more about the people of this country who need the hope that only Labour can offer.

So, I hope you enjoy my blog.  It’s a bit of therapy for me to let off steam every once in a while but in doing that you never know, I might actually say something sensible!!



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