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Village Pub Closed - 1st January 2013

A VILLAGE pub has been closed down after police discovered it was being used to supply Class A drugs. Durham County Council’s licensing committee meeting suspended the licence for The Prince of Wales pub, in Front Street, West Auckland, earlier this month. Police launched an operation on the premises on Friday, December 7 as a result of intelligence gathered indicating it was being used as a place to supply cocaine. It was later in the same day that an unnamed man was spotted taking something from the side door of his car so police approached him.

s he tried to run away, it is believed he dropped three packets of drugs approximately 15 metres away from the entrance to the pub.At the time there were up to 30 people inside the pub. The man claims he valeted cars. Officers searched his car and discovered 12 individually wrapped packets of white powder in a sweet packet and about £250 in cash. Three of them were tested at random and were found to be cocaine. The drugs recovered are said to have street value of £960. The investigation is ongoing but officers believe there is enough evidence to suggest the premises are being used to supply drugs. The county council’s licensing committee will meet on Monday, January 7 to determine whether the pub can reopen and if any conditions need to be added to the licence.

n a report to councillors, Durham Police chief constable Mike Barton said: “This criminal activity is deemed as serious criminal acts and is being investigated as such. “It is believed that should this premise be allowed to remain open then it will continue to be used as an operating point for further criminal activity.” He added: “It is apparent that the Prince of Wales public house is being used for serious crime namely the sale and supply of cocaine.”

The unnamed man is not believed to be the premises licence holder Shane McGonigle, of Danbury Associates Limited or premises supervisor Colin Lee.

Man & Woman injured in Bump - 1stth January 2013

A MAN and woman in their early thirties were taken to hospital this afternoon following a car accident in St Helen Auckland, near Bishop Auckland, County Durham. The incident happened outside Mayfield Walk, and  Manor Road at around 1pm.  The man is believed to have suffered facial injuries and the woman is thought to have received abdominal and hip injuries. Both casualties, who are from the West Auckland area, were taken to  Hospital by ambulance. The road was closed in both directions for three and a half hours but has now reopened.

A local resident has said that “getting out of Mayfield Walk can be really difficult as you cannot see clearly what traffic is coming from the right, due cars parked in a layby outside houses in manor road it is made worse if there is a van parked there. At best you have to slowly edge your way out

Equestrian Equipment was stolen - 10th January 2013

A LARGE amount of equestrian equipment was stolen from stables in Spring Gardens, West Auckland, overnight on Monday, December 10.  Items taken include seven stable and turnout rugs, four head collars, a pair of black size 12 riding boots, a lunging roller, a Pessoa training aid, a pair of leather pony side reins, a leather dressage girth and two pairs of black Woofwear pony-sized brushing boots.

Witnesses should call PC Rob Simpson, at Bishop Auckland police station, on 101.

Insdie Next shop M&S shop Next Shop

New Shops Now Open 17th January 2012

Marks and Spencer and Next opened their doors this week at the St Helens, Shopping outlet joining Boots, Pets At Home, Costa Coffee, and Brantano. Marks and Spencer also shut there store in Bishop Auckland after been in the town for 81 years. Planning permission was also given for a further 4 units to be built in the same area, whilst over the road near McDonalds, the area will soon have a Greggs Bakers, Dominoes Pizza and Banardos. Whilst subject for planning permission the are will get the go ahead for the long awaited Cinema.    

Heritage Rail link : Renewed Interest  21st January 2013

PLANS for a heritage trail along the old railway line between Barnard Castle and West Auckland are being revived. A previous attempt to launch a South West Durham Heritage Corridor based around the railway line stalled in 2008.

However, members of the Teesdale Action Partnership (TAP) board were told last week the project was being explored again by Durham County Council's rights of way team.

TAP co-ordinator Craig Morgan told the board the group was very keen to do the project.

He said the rights of way team was trying to gather some further information and an application for £5,000 to help with feasibility work was expected.

Mr Morgan said it was a speculate to accumulate situation. TAP board member, Councillor Richard Bell, added: “I have been pushing for this. The first stage is for a survey of the line.

“We need to secure the assets, see where protected newts have set up camp and there are some issues around land ownership – there are various places where neighbouring landowners have fenced off land.”

Coun Bell said once the survey had been completed, the rights of way team would be in a better position to assess the project.

Fellow board member Jeanette Newman pointed out that a full feasibility document had been produced for the South West Durham Heritage Corridor in 2008.

Several members said they still had a copy of the document, which said the aim of the project was to create an area open to all to enjoy a walk, appreciate the wildlife and appreciate its history.

Coun Pauline Charlton said: “This has been going on for years – so let's get it started.”

Mr Morgan said it was the intention to contact as many people as possible involved in drawing up the previous plan and invite them to take part again.

Coun Bell is to report back to the next TAP board meeting.  Board members also agreed to spend £10,000 on repairs and enhancements to a railway path running from Lartington to Middleton-in-Teesdale.

The meeting was told the trail had been damaged during recent severe weather and the money would be spent carrying out work over and above routine maintenance done by Durham County Council.

Source http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/10173208.Plans_backed_for_heritage_trail_on_old_railway_line/

Work Commences on World Cup Statue 23rd Jan 2013

WORK begins has began on a statue that is to be located on the village green opposite the West Auckland WMC. The statue commemorates West Auckland Winning the World Cup on two occasions a century ago. The bronze sculpture, has been designed by artist Nigel Boonham. The £184,000 bronze statue will be three metres high and stand on a four-metre high plinth with a seat around it. The project has been funded by Bishop Auckland and Shildon Area Action Partnership, Groundwork, the neighbourhood budgets belonging to councillors Rob Yorke and Andy Turner, Section 106 funding, Durham County Council Highways budget, West Auckland Parish Council, local fundraising and business sponsorship. A sod-cutting will mark the start of the work this Friday (January 25). Click Here for plans in old news section


Flooded Bypass Shuts again  29th Jan 2013

Yesterday the first stage of the West Auckland bypass was once again shut to traffic due to flooding.  Overflowing old mine workings are being blamed,  the council are currently investigating on what is happening. That part of the road has been open for a least 8 - 10 years and only became a problem over the last two.

Coffee Morning In Aid of the West Auckland Womens Institute

6th Feb  2013

COFFEE MORNING: West Auckland Womens Institute is to hold a coffee morning to raise funds for the group. It is at the Monteith Community Room, West Auckland, between 10am and noon on Monday (February 11) with coffee £1.

GUEST SPEAKER: Peter Barron, the editor of The Northern Echo, is to be the guest speaker at West Auckland Womens Institute. He will speak on Monday, March 4, at the Manor House, West Auckland, from 7pm. Entry is free for WI members and £2 for guests.

http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/local/bishopauckland/10206808.Womens_institute_fundraising_co ffee_morning/

Ideas for Village Gala in St Helens  8/02/2013

RESIDENTS in St Helen Auckland are being invited to share their ideas for the annual town gala.
A meeting will take place in Selby Close Community Centre on Wednesday, February 20, at 7pm, for people have their say on what they would like to see at the summer event.
Christine Wilson, of St Helen Auckland Residents’ Association, said: “It would be great to see as many people get involved as possible as we want to include the whole community.“We will have the usual events but we would love to have something different.”Prize donations will also be welcomed.
Funds raised from the gala are invested back into the community for, amongst other things, day trips for the elderly and school book bags.For more information call Mrs Wilson on 0774-7049460.


Work Started on the 2nd phase of Bishop Auckland Shopping Outlets  27/02/2013

The second phase of the retail  units in  Tindale Crescent has started. The development by metric properties,  will provide four more units with additional parking and a direct path to lidl next  door. Work is also progressing for the new  betting shop,  greggs the bakers and a barnados charity shop

Armed Robbers Target West  Auckland, McColls Store : 01/03/2013

ARMED robbers made off with a substantial amount of cash after threatening staff with a knife at a village shop.It is the second time in as many weeks that McColls, in West Auckland, near Bishop Auckland, has been targeted.

At about 9.55pm on Thursday, February 28, just five minutes before the convenience store was due to close, three men wearing boiler suits and with their faces covered, entered the premises.Two female members of staff, one in her 50s and the other in her 60s, were forced to open the safe before the men grabbed the cash and made off in the direction of the village green.They were unhurt but are said to have been left extremely distressed by what happened.Staff opened up late today (Friday, March 1) but it was business as usual as they tried to piece together what happened.

Residents living close to the shop spoke of their concern of the news. One woman, who asked not to be named, said: “This is the second time recently. It was broken into during the night a few weeks ago and all the cigarettes were taken.“It is a bit worrying.”Another witness said: “I never heard anything but the police knocked on the door just after it happened.

The newspapers were still outside when I left the house this morning though and the shop was closed. A man who lives nearby added: “I saw it was closed so I presumed something must have happened. “They have gone through the front door both times. They were targeted three times in a row a couple of years ago. “I hope they catch whoever did this.”

Detective Constable Mark Forster, of Bishop Auckland CID, said: "Although no-one was injured during the robbery the staff have been left extremely shaken by this incident.""I would appeal to anyone who knows anything about this robbery to come forward so we can bring the offenders to justice."

Anyone with information is asked to call DC Forster on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800-555-111.

Source Northern echo http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/local/southdurham/bishopauckland/10262939.Armed_robbers _steal_cash_in_village_shop_raid/

Q&A session regarding  benefit  reforms to be held a primary  school 13/03/2013

A MEETING will be held at a primary school to help people answer their questions about impending benefit reforms.  The public event will be held at St Helen Auckland Primary School between 6pm and 7.30pm tomorrow (Thursday, March 14). It has been organised by West Auckland county councillor Rob Yorke and St Helen Resident’s Association member Christine Wilson.

Councillor Yorke said: “There are a lot of changes taking place in the benefits system which will have a major impact on many residents in the area.

“I want to make sure people are aware of the impacts of welfare reform and issues such as bedroom tax and universal credit.”

Roger Goodes from Durham County Council and Pat Wanless of Dale and Valley Homes will be speaking at the event and providing information.

Anyone wanting information but not able to attend is invited to contact the council on 03000-268968 or Dale and Valley Homes on 08000-830333.

http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/local/southdurham/bishopauckland/10285712.Meeting_being _held_to_discuss_welfare_reform/

World Cup Centenary statue lifted into place 13/03/2013

After  a number of weeks work ing on the base the statue was lifted into place yesterday

The statue cost £167,374, with funding provided by West Auckland Parish Council, the Arts Council, the councillors and Section 106 agreements made with local housing developers.

Coun Yorke said: “It is a fitting memorial to the village’s achievements and it is another link in the regeneration of West Auckland.”

The three-metre high bronze statue was unveiled on the village green in West Auckland, near Bishop Auckland, this afternoon (Tuesday, March 12), under the watchful eye of sculptor Nigel Boonham.

Mr Boonham, of London, said: “It is a really nice story. People were surprised when I told them what I was doing, they had never heard of it.

Full Story http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/local/southdurh am/bishopauckland/10283807.West_Auckland_World_Cup _winners_statue_lifted_into_place

“I did research and put a lot of thought into the design. There are hidden meanings. I really hope people like it.”

St helens Road to be repaired  13/03/13

A BUSY road is to be repaired less than a year after improvements were carried out after the wrong surface was put down. However, the work to Manor Road and Maude Terrace, in St Helen Auckland, will not cost the taxpayer anything after a council contractor admitted it was their mistake and agreed to foot the bill. The route is used by thousands of motorists every day and has become increasingly busy since the opening of the Bishop Auckland Shopping Park last year.

A spokeswoman for Durham County Council said the resurfacing work is expected to take place in May, although the loose chippings will be cleared in the coming weeks to help prevent damage to vehicles. County Councillor for the area, Rob Yorke, said he was disappointed with the state of the road but pleased contractors had agreed to carry the work out. “The road started coming up not long after it was finished last year,” he said. “It is a busy road so we need a surface that can cope with the volume of traffic. “There will be some inconvenience while the work is carried out but once it is done it should last for a long time.”

In addition to this work, Durham Council engineers have cleared out the drains under the A688 West Auckland bypass, which has been prone to flooding in recent months, despite only being built a few years ago. An old mine was found to contain a lot of silt and debris inside and was causing a blockage in heavy downpours.

Coun Yorke added: “It has been a problem with flooding for a while and it was worrying that it was having to be shut when we had spells of heavy rain.

“There are businesses around there who can’t afford to see the road closed.

“Hopefully we have alleviated the problem now and we should be able to alleviate the biggest of downpours. There is nothing wrong with the size of the drain.”

West Auckland Break-ins  15/04/2013

POLICE are appealing for information after Chisholm’s bookmakers, McColl’s and the Sir Thomas Barber shop, West Auckland, were broken into overnight on Saturday, April 13.  It is believed the only property stolen was a quantity of cigarettes from McColl’s. Witnesses are asked to call DC Liane Pacewith, at Bishop Auckland police, on 101 or via Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555-111.

14 Million Leisure Centre Still on track 15/04/2013

PLANS for a £14m leisure centre on the outskirts of Bishop Auckland are still on track, a developer has claimed.  The Northern Echo first reported on the proposed Fusion21 Active Village Complex in 2009, and the man behind the plan Ken Houlahan said significant behind-the-scenes progress has been made since then.

Mr Houlahan, a former amateur football club manager, has earmarked wasteland at St Helen Auckland near Bishop Auckland FC’s Heritage park stadium for his plan, and said the proposal has evolved to incorporate a swimming pool as well as football facilities.He said: “Dreams for a novel leisure facility for Bishop Auckland are still very much alive following protracted negotiations, which have been on-going since 2009.“The original plans for an indoor soccer centre with fitness, sports testing and medicine facilities have been extended, following extensive discussions with Durham County Council over the past four years.

“The discussions have produced plans for a comprehensive state-of-the-art, 21st Century, combined wet and dry facility.“The facility will ensure the Olympic legacy is firmly established in the area, will complement existing St Helen leisure and retail development, and contribute significantly to local regeneration.”

Mr Houlahan said progress had been hampered by funding cuts from the Government but insisted it is on track.He said: “Local authorities can no longer afford the capital build and revenue costs of subsidising leisure.

“This venture will be a Public Private Partnership and will use, amongst a significant number of other funding sources, a Private Finance Initiative (PFI).”

The eventual aim is for the complex to be self-sustaining financially with profits reinvested into local leisure, Mr Houlahan claimed.The new building would also be the base for a new sport programme aimed at supporting existing sports clubs and starting new groups to get people active.

The plans have received support from West Auckland county councillors Rob Yorke and Andy Turner.Councillor Yorke said: “It is an ambitious plan but it is looking like a reality.“It is because of the success of the new facilities at St Helen that we can look to expand with even more exciting plans.”

A public consultation on the new sport village is due to be held soon.

http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/local/southdurham/bishopauckland/10353988.Football_manager_s_ __14m_leisure_centre_plans_at_St_Helen_Auckland_still_alive

St helens Family Fun Day  An annual family fun day will be held on Middlewood Green, St Helen Auckland, on Saturday, June 29, between noon and 4pm. There will be variety of stalls, entertainment and refreshments. Admission is free.

PUBLIC MEETING: Members of the public are invited to attend St Helen Auckland Residents’ Association meeting in Selby Close Community Centre on Monday, June 24, at 6pm.

Local Runner Achieves Sliver 17/09/2013

Chloe Fairclough aged 10 years old of West Auckland who attends Copeland Road School and  Runs for Shildon running and athletic club, managed to run sub 7 minute miles or (4:20 k pace) over the 4K Junior Great North Run, to earn her 2 nd place in the 9 -10 year old age female category in a time 17:18 chip time,  loosing out only  to the UK ranking number one under 11 female,  5k park runner Alex Scrivener from oxford. Chloe currently ranked 11 in the UK  park run series

A DECISION on a long-awaited £14m cinema plan is expected shortly. 1/10/13

Proposals for the multi-screen cinema and leisure complex of bulky goods retailers and restaurants on waste ground next to the West Auckland bypass, in St Helen Auckland, Bishop Auckland, have been submitted to Durham County Council. The outline application is likely to go before members of the planning committee before Christmas.

A planning document on behalf of developer Land Planning Partnership, which is behind the scheme, states: “The proposed development scheme demonstrates a comprehensive albeit master plan of this area, cohesive with the adjacent developments.

“The development will help the sustainability of the already completed leisure, retail, hotel and food developments adjacent to the site.

“The proposal will introduce new employment opportunities for a large number of none skilled through to professional workers.”

West Auckland Councillor Rob Yorke said the development would provide the cinema people had been waiting for since the last one closed 30 years ago.

“The cinema is badly needed and can only add value to what we already have,” he said. “The retail units will also be for bulky goods so there shouldn’t be a conflict of interests with businesses moving out of the town centre.”

http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/local/southdurham/bishopauckland/10707628.Decision_expe cted_on_Bishop_Auckland_cinema_plans/?ref=rss

Statue Unveiled  12/10/2013

Tim Healy (North East Actor) who starred in the Captains Tale (1982) along with David Ticer Thomas (a descendant of one of the team that won the world cup,) and Sir John Hall, unveiled the statue at 4:30 Saturday 12th October.

Many local residents and council officals including our former and current Mp turned out on this cold and wet day   

John Wotherspoon, commercial director for Lipton, said: "Young people today need folk heroes, and these are folk heroes.