Thursday, 21 December 2006

New wagons roll with recycling message

Redcar and Cleveland Council has unveiled its new green and tidy look - refuse collection vehicles, complete with new livery.

The Council, which achieved Beacon Council status for its waste and recycling management earlier this year, is the top performing authority of the 25 councils in the North East for recycling and the second most improved in the country with recycling rates currently at over 34 per cent.

Now the positive recycling message is even clearer with the investment of over £750,000 in seven new replacement vehicles, which are already on the Borough's roads in the busy Christmas and New Year collection schedules.

The five 26-tonne vehicles and two 7.5 tonne vehicles, brought in to help service hard-to-reach and inaccessible areas, are all fitted with rear view camera systems for added safety.

The Council's Cabinet Member for Environmental Improvement Councillor Bob Stanway said: "We are absolutely delighted to receive these new vehicles, which advertise our commitment to recycling.

"We're sure residents will see that our intentions are very clear - to keep improving and establish a real sense of pride in making the Borough cleaner, greener and safer."

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council Job Vacancy

Administrative Assistant to the Lib Dem Group of Councillors

Job Ref: CHEXCOFS004

Grade: Grade F £23,175 - £24,708 pa pro rata

Details: 20 hours per week. Temporary contract until 18th May 2007.

Do you have an enquiring mind, research capabilities and the ability to express yourself coherently and concisely both verbally and in print? Are you interested in local democracy and the political management processes of the Council? If so, this job is for you.

Working under the management of the Head of Democracy and as part of the Democratic Team, you will be responsible for providing administration, research and information services to the Lib Dem group of Councillors.

You will need to have proven skills in the use of Word, Excel and Power Point and the ability to take and transcribe shorthand. Contact: For an application pack contact: HR Recruitment, Town Hall, Fabian Road, South Bank, Yorkshire, TS6 9AR. Telephone 01642 444455 (24 hour Answer Machine). Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Closing Date: 5th January 2007

Please note:Deadline is 12 noon on date specified above. Published: 18th December 2006

Apply online:

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council accepts its responsibility for creating equality: "All disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria on a job person specification will be guaranteed an interview and will be considered on their abilities".

Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Council praised for "value for money"

Government inspectors have praised Redcar and Cleveland Council for reaching higher standards in value for money.

The Government's Comprehensive Performance Assessment inspection regime has given the annual rating after its introduction of a 'harder test' assessment that covers the last 12 months. high-performing services at the lowest cost, to the people of Redcar and Cleveland."

On giving value for money, the judgement says the Council is "consistently above the minimum requirement and performing well" and that our costs compare well with other similar councils.

The Council Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources Councillor Glyn Nightingale said: "We have shown significant improvement in giving value for money.

"A major initiative has been implemented throughout the Council to ensure our services demonstrate value for money, and this work is now being extended.

"We expect additional achievements and improvements over the course of the next year with the aim of providing excellent,

Recycling boost for Save the Children Fund

Recycling residents across Redcar and Cleveland Council have helped produce a massive charity boost for the Save The Children Fund.

The Council's recycling contractor, Abitibi, pledges £1 for every tonne of glass, cans, paper, magazines and textiles picked up on kerbside collections.

The latest cheque for £19,250, which dates back to May, 2003, matches the 19,250 tonnes of recyclable material, the equivalent of 712 lorry loads.

Abitibi's regional manager Lenny Corrigan said: "We are delighted to be working with the Council as their recycling service collection contractor. Residents who use the kerbside collection service should be very proud they have raised so much for an excellent charity."

The Council's Director of Area Management Simon Dale said: "The public are always asking us what happens to our recycling and this shows that it not only goes into making fleeces, paper and plastics, it makes a contribution to a very worthwhile cause."

The cheque was presented to Nancy Webb, secretary of the Guisborough Group for the Save the Children Fund, who said: "I want to thank the residents who put out their recycling for collection, the Council workers who make the collections and Abitibi who recycle and donate so much to charities.

"Together we can make a difference to the lives of children who suffer from poverty, disease and fear here in the UK and through-out the world. Thank you all."

Monday, 18 December 2006

Council pride at recycling ranking

Redcar and Cleveland Council today reacted with pride at its position as the second most improved council in the country for the Borough's recycling and composting rates.

Figures from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs show Redcar and Cleveland recording an annual percentage increase of 20.8 to return a recycling rate of 35.7 per cent for 2005/2006, compared to 14.9pc the previous year.

That rate also places the Borough as the top performing council in the North East, adding to its success of becoming a Beacon authority, awarded for its waste management and recycling.

The Council's Cabinet Member for Environmental Improvement Councillor Bob Stanway said: "It was a bold decision to make the changes we have done and today's figures show it was the right one.

"First and foremost, we have a debt of gratitude to pay to the Borough's residents, who, in the main, have supported these changes."

The Council's Director of Area Management Simon Dale added: "The changes have not been easy to implement, but have been wholeheartedly embraced by our workforce.

"But while we are absolutely delighted with these statistics and our place at the top of recycling councils, we all accept there is more to do to get the service as we would like it for the Borough's residents."

An example of the Council's innovative approach is the educational role for refuse workers - not only do the crews pick up recycling and waste, they actively seek engagement with local residents to provide information and advice.

The crews have also come up with a solution to help cope with plastic bottle sacks being blown around amid the English weather.

A pilot scheme is testing a new device to which the sacks can be attached, which will hopefully lessen the number of complaints and reduce the replacement costs.

Friday, 15 December 2006

Free road safety checks

Redcar and Cleveland Council's Road Safety Team, in conjunction with Halfords and Kwik Fit, is offering motorists the chance to have free checks on their car tyres, windscreens and wipers, as well as giving out leaflets on winter driving tips and topping-up their wiper bottles with washer fluid, at three venues next week -at Asda, South Bank on Monday, December 18, Saltburn seafront on Tuesday, December 19 and Marske town centre car park on Wednesday, December 20, all from 10am-3pm.

Wednesday, 6 December 2006

Millions of pounds to deliver hundreds of jobs in the Borough of Redcar & Cleveland

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council is celebrating today having secured £10.9 million of Government funding which will create over 450 jobs and transform business and employment opportunities throughout the area over the next three years.

The money, part of the Local Enterprise Growth Initiative, will be used to increase the number of self-employed in the area by 480 and support the start-up of over 200 new businesses and 8 new social enterprises.

Communities Minister, Baroness Andrews said: "The Local Enterprise Growth Initiative aims to encourage a step-change in economic activity in some of the most deprived areas in England. I am impressed by the huge response to LEGI and the genuinely deep understanding of local issues demonstrated by many bids and the strong role set out for local partnerships in delivering change.

"Following a very tough selection process I am convinced that the winning proposals will be able to make a real difference and drive enterprise forward in partnership with the private sector. LEGI is a vital element in turning around the lives and prospects of some of our most disadvantaged communities in an economically sound and sustainable way."

Councillor Eric Empson, Chairman of the Cabinet, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said: “This is simply fantastic news and we are delighted that we have secured Local Enterprise Growth Initiative funding of £10.9million to invest in our most deprived areas over the next three years.

“Redcar and Cleveland has always been one of the north’s best kept secrets; we have an incredible heritage of world-class industrial enterprise and now the area is establishing itself as a potential world-leader in new energy and recycling industries. This funding provides us with a real opportunity to harness potential and build an exciting and dynamic future for residents.”

Councillor Vera Moody, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: "This is great news. LEGI funding will help local people pursue their talent for enterprise and exploit the opportunities that exist.

"We have worked with our schools, businesses and a wide range of public and voluntary sector organisations to develop proposals to inspire, encourage and support people to start and develop successful businesses which will transform our community.

"We know this will not happen overnight, but with LEGI funding and the commitment of local people and organisations we will make rapid progress."

Working in partnership with public and private sector organisations the funding will provide a targeted programme of business development and support for Greater Eston, West Redcar and East Cleveland residents.

This will focus on four key areas, including:

Enterprise in Education – the funding will provide enterprise co-ordinators in three schools - Eston Park School, Redcar Community College and Freebrough Specialist Engineering College – who will lead a programme of teaching, mentoring and enterprise awareness raising to tap into the potential of young people and generate confidence in their ability to build a thriving business and exciting future for themselves; to support this ‘can-do’ attitude there will also be funding available for budding entrepreneurs to start-up businesses on the school site.

Harnessing the Passion – the north-east can suffer from the perception that the area is lacking dynamism and economic drive – this perception will be challenged. Passion, ambition and ideas can be harnessed and channeled into the creation of thriving businesses. Business development funding will be made available for researching new business ideas and ‘leading light' mentors will provide business savvy with the aim of increasing the number of self-employed by 480.

Enterprise Growth – with the aim of creating 450 new jobs in the next three years, new businesses will be supported in securing business premises, getting involved in the right business networks and taking full advantage of the opportunities on offer to open up supply chains and tender for new business.

Social Enterprise – increasingly public services are now provided by suppliers to the public sector. A new Development Trust will be set up with the aim of creating and supporting 8 new social enterprises over the next ten years, with significant commitment from Primary Care Trusts and the private sector already secured.

Enterprise Marketing – marketing will be undertaken to demonstrate to regional and national audiences that Redcar and Cleveland is an area of massive potential where businesses can thrive. This will boost new investment and interest in the area.

Partners in delivering the programme Alliance & Leicester Bank, Business Link Tees Valley, Chamber of Commerce, Redcar & Cleveland College of Further Education, the Community Network, Eldonians Ltd, Eston Park School, Federation of Small Businesses, Freebrough Specialist Engineering College, PD Ports plc, Langbaurgh Primary Care Trust (PCT), Redcar Community College, Redcar & Cleveland Voluntary Development Agency (RCVDA), Redcar Racecourse, Working Links Ltd, UK Steel Enterprise Ltd.

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Council moves forward with plan for Greater Eston regeneration

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council is set to invite residents from South Bank, Grangetown and the Greater Eston area to have their say on future development in their area.

The Council is set to commission its Greater Eston Masterplan - a key document that will act as a definitive guide and play an essential role in moving forward work to secure major investment and development for the area - investment that has the potential to bring about the provision of wide range of development such as affordable new homes, thriving shops, entertainment, open public spaces and parkland, a new library and healthcare facilities.

Residents will play a key role in developing the Masterplan - the first stage in its development will be consultation with residents, businesses and community organisations. Some of the immediate issues to tackle will be limiting decline in the area and the need for new housing, the redevelopment of Eston Square and the Low Grange Farm, which are currently in private ownership, and establishing what residents want for their future.

Councillor Chris Abbott, Cabinet Member for Housing and Neighbourhood Renewal, said:

“South Bank, Grangetown and the Greater Eston area have suffered a number of years of decline and its now time to stop this trend and look forward; there have been some difficult decisions and a lot of hard work to get to this point but we can now start to talk realistically about building a new future for the area.

“The Masterplan is not just another paper plan – it is a real, working document and an essential tool that will move forward work with developers and investors in the area – this is a plan that will make things happen and that’s why it is so essential that we start by talking with residents and local businesses to find out what they want the plan to deliver for them.”

Christmas lights ceremony now on Friday

The Mayor of Redcar & Cleveland, Councillor Mary Ovens, will get her Christmas wish granted - and switch on Redcar's festive lights in a rearranged ceremony on Friday, December 8.

Galeforce winds forced organisers to abandon Sunday afternoon's planned programme of entertainment in the build-up to a switch-on.

But now, even though the illuminations have been glowing for shoppers throughout the week, Councillor Ovens and Father Christmas, who moved into his grotto on Monday, will team up for another ceremony.

They will be helped by one of the Talent 2006 competition winners, nine-year-old Nicole Taylor from Coatham Primary School.

Councillor Ovens said: "I was so disappointed the weather ruined all the hard work that had gone into Sunday's ceremony, but I'm delighted we can reorganise another switch-on."

The planned switch-on is now set for 4.30pm on Friday by the Town Clock as Councillor Ovens tours the town to judge its Best Window Display.

Library on the move

Brotton library will be turning over a new leaf when the brand new facility opens within the new Freebrough Specialist Engineering College in the New Year.

There may be a few tears when the existing library in Brotton High Street closes for the last time on Saturday, December 16 but it will be cheers all the way when the new library opens its doors on the first school day at Freebrough on Monday, January 8.

There will be longer opening hours at the new library, and, in an innovative move, the library service will be providing services to pupils as well as the public.

Redcar & Cleveland Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism Councillor Dave Fitzpatrick said: "We are very confident that library users will be delighted with their fantastic new library.

"Not only will it be providing better facilities for local people but it will also be open for longer. We hope that people will come along and see for themselves what a tremendous improvement it is."

The staff, too, are looking forward to the move. Librarian Diane Lonsdale said: "We're all really excited at the prospect and can't wait to open the new library.

"We're looking forward to the opportunities to get move involved with the young people in Brotton, but we have also been working hard to encourage our existing users to come and have a look - we're sure they will be as impressed as we are with it."

The 3,000 leaflets informing borrowers of the imminent move also explain that bus services X3 and X4 stop close to the new library entrance.

Advice is also given for Brotton borrowers for the gap between the old library closing and the new library opening, with the chance of taking out extra books, while renewals can be made by phoning any Borough library or going on to the libraries web page, through

Children put the focus on long lasting homes

Residents, who have lived for decades in prefabricated bungalows, originally built to last ten years, have been the focus for budding photographers in a fascinating exhibition that traces the homes' history.

The 30 photographs and a collage to celebrate the longevity of the 36 bungalows in East Meadows, Marske, which were built in 1947, will be unveiled at Marske Library on Wednesday, December 6.

Coast & Country Housing, working in partnership with Redcar and Cleveland Council's Library Service, created the project which involved young people from the library's Reading Group and nearby Errington Primary School.

Photographer Tony Griffiths hosted two workshops with the young photographers, while professional artists Kathryn Wren and Margaret Hayden worked with another group to produce the collage, thanks to £2,000 funding from the Museums Libraries and Archives Council North East.

The Council's museums curator Alan Pearce, who will present certificates to all the children involved, will accept a DVD of a permanent photographic record of the East Meadow homes to be stored at Kirkleatham Museum.

Coast & Country Housing's Director of Regeneration and Development Anna Gibson said: “The bungalows have served a close-knit community of residents for several decades longer than intended since they were erected to provide emergency housing after the Second World War.

"However, they can no longer be brought up to modern-day standards economically and the residents have worked very closely with us to design a replacement development that we are sure will become as cherished and popular as the prefabs.

“I congratulate the children and artists involved in the collage and photographic exhibition, ensuring that this important era of social housing has been recorded so creatively for the reference of generations to come.”

Resident Mrs Thelma Peacock said: "The children have worked very hard and we were thrilled to talk to them and show them round our bungalow. It’s exciting for us to be part of the history being recorded and we are looking forward to viewing the exhibition.

"At first I was concerned about the proposals but Coast & Country Housing have consulted with us and have kept us involved in the process. I realise that the new homes will be much better than at present and I am looking forward to moving."

The Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism Councillor Dave Fitzpatrick said: "The young people have done a terrific job and I'm sure they've also learnt a great deal about the homes."

Monday, 4 December 2006

High Street lights switch-on is victim of galeforce winds

The switch-on of Redcar High Street's Christmas lights was a victim of yesterday's galeforce storms.

Redcar's Town Centre Manager John Partridge took the decision to cancel the event, which included performances from talent contest winners and Santa's parade, at lunchtime when the high winds prevented organisers from erecting the main stage in front of the Town Clock.

He explained: "We were concerned about the safety of people gathering in the High Street and bringing the parade down to an area that was getting increasingly stormy. It seemed to be the focus of very strong winds."

Redcar and Cleveland Council's Mayor Councillor Mary Ovens had been looking forward to her civic duty of switching on the illuminations. She said: "I'm extremely disappointed, but given the dreadful weather, it would have been completely unsafe."

Mr Partridge added: "A lot of people had put a lot of time and effort into planning the afternoon and we're particularly disappointed for the winners of our Talent 2006 competition who have been prevented from performing."

The lights are now in operation and Santa's Grotto, open for the first time today, Monday, December 4, will now be open every weekday afternoon from 12.30pm-2.30pm, Saturdays from 10.30am-3.30pm and Sundays from 1pm-3pm. Admission, which includes a gift from Santa, is £1.

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

A dramatic close to Titanic exhibition

One of the most successful exhibitions in the 25-year life of Redcar's Kirkleatham Museum, Titanic: Honour and Glory, completes its six month stay with a dramatic final weekend on Saturday and Sunday, December 9 and 10.

Redcar and Cleveland Council's Museums Service has been delighted at the response to the highly popular and successful national touring exhibition, which has seen over 32,000 visitors come to view the emotional story since its opening on July 1.

The Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism Councillor Dave Fitzpatrick said: "It has been a fantastic success and I'm delighted we can provide a fitting finale for its final weekend."

The true love story of Henry Samuel Morley and Kate Louise Philips, that inspired the blockbuster movie, will be told in a unique illustrated talk, entitled Love of the Sea, throughout the weekend, from 10.30am-5.30pm.

Visitors can also "Be Kate For The Day", with a rare opportunity to have their photograph taken wearing the 'Heart Of The Ocean Necklace', worn by actress Kate Winslet in the movie. There is a £3 fee for the photo.

There will also be a prize raffle, offering a replica of the necklace, with the lucky winner drawn before the close of the exhibition on Sunday. Tickets are £1.

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Council's anger over Labour's Race Course stance

Redcar and Cleveland Council's leader Councillor Eric Empson has today condemned the Authority's Labour opposition for its "irresponsible" stance against Lord Zetland's vision for the future of Redcar Racecourse.

And Councillor Empson is calling on the Council to expel Labour from the membership of its multi-party Redcar Racecourse monitoring group.

Councillor Empson expressed his concerns as a question and a motion were delivered for debate at a meeting of the Council at Eston Town Hall on Thursday, November 30 which clearly breaks the Group's mandate to be an information-gathering forum first before making any decisions.

Councillor Empson said: "We have not decided to support a move to Dunsdale because we don't know the facts - and neither does the Labour Group leader Councillor George Dunning.

"We are behaving as all responsible politicians should behave, doing our best for the town, and until all the facts are known and we have a proper opportunity to talk to Lord Zetland, no-one knows the negotiating issues.

"However, we are being constantly bombarded by Councillor Dunning's irresponsible behaviour, which is blatant electioneering. In my view, it can have only one outcome - Redcar will be left with nothing and there will be no new course, either, because Lord Zetland will become completely disenchanted with our Council.

"So I believe it is time to act and say, We did believe the Labour group could act as a responsible opposition, listen to the facts, start a sensible debate and move forward. But they are absolutely incapable of doing that so the sooner we eject them from the monitoring group the better. And I can assure everyone that Councillor Dunning's motion will not succeed on Thursday."

Councillor Dunning's motion says: "This Council is concerned at statements made following the emergency general meeting of the Redcar Racecourse board on November 3, in particular that new board chair, Lord Zetland, is committed to future closure of the current Redcar racecourse, development of this whole greenfield site and proposed relocation of racing to a mega-course on green belt land at Dunsdale, near Guisborough."

A question from Councillor Mark Hannon to Councillor Chris Abbott, Cabinet Member for Housing and Neighbourhood Renewal, asks: "Can he explain why he is supporting the relocation of Redcar racecourse to Dunsdale when it is a successful community facility, which is improving in its racing programme, improving its financial performance and improving its diverse range of activities for the surrounding community and neighbourhoods of Redcar."

Councillor Abbott retorted: "The antics of the Labour councillors could lose us racing in Redcar forever. We lost the opportunity of top-class motor racing at South Bank some years ago because of their dogmatic, head-in-the-sand attitude.

"21st Century spectators demand first class sporting facilities. The present arrangements will not sustain racing in Redcar much longer. We must keep our nerve and remain open-minded. We have to be more ambitious for Redcar and welcome the opportunity to discuss ways to keep racing local."

Enchanted wood destroyed by vandals

An enchanted wood which was created in Kirkleatham Woods in Redcar, by Cleveland Fire Brigade’s Prince’s Trust team has been wrecked by vandals just hours after it was opened.

The Brigade’s Princes Trust team has been working hard for 5 weeks with local schools, colleges and a local sculptor to create an enchanted wood in Kirkleatham Woods, which is managed by Redcar and Cleveland Council's countryside section, for the public to enjoy. The grand opening took place on Friday 24 November only to be vandalised later that evening.

The team had raised money through various fundraising activities including a talent contest and raffle and they were also given a grant from the National Lottery. The total cost to create the area was over £4000.

Metal posts which guided you through the specially created area have been ripped out from the concrete, which kept them in place, some of which have been stolen. Animals which were specially made have also been ripped away and stolen as well as graffiti on the benches which were custom made.

Karen Duncan, Prince’s Trust Team Leader said: “The team and I are devastated that vandals have come along and destroyed all the hard work we have put in over the past few weeks. This was meant to be a place for people to enjoy and I am disgusted that anyone would want to come along and wreck it.

“The animals that were specially created by youths at a local engagement programme called Fairbridge been stolen, we have found some of the metal posts that guide you through the area so we will be able to put them back in place. There was also empty beer cans and cider bottles all over as well as other litter and graffiti.

“We have reported this act of vandalism to Cleveland Police and are now looking at the cost of restoring the enchanted wood.”

A police spokeswoman confirmed they had received a report of vandalism in Kirkleatham Woods, she said: “We are keen for anyone with information to come forward and tell us who was responsible for the damage caused. This new community facility had been created after a lot of hard work by local children and young people and it’s devastating to see it ruined so soon after opening. Anyone with information should contact Cleveland police on 01642 326326 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111”

Redcar and Cleveland Council's Cabinet Member for Rural Affairs Councillor Graham Jeffery said: "I'm absolutely disgusted - this is a crime against the people who use the wood and the people who have worked hard to create it. The Police take this type of crime very seriously and have a number of ongoing operations to tackle this problem throughout the Borough."

Thursday, 23 November 2006

Redcar Police District set for major change

Cleveland Police Officers and staff have begun operations from a brand new building in the Borough of Redcar and Cleveland designed for 21st Century policing.

Old stations at Redcar and South Bank will eventually close with the switch to the new district headquarters - a purpose-built complex on Kirkleatham Business Park.

The move is part of a £38million project that will also include a major police headquarters at Middlesbrough. Work there is in the final stages.

The Business Park development will replace Redcar’s 24-hour front desk service but the new HQ has much improved facilities for the public. A privacy screen will ensure that people wanting to discuss matters in private at the front desk will not be overheard.

Other facilities on the site include six cells, monitored by CCTV for safety and security reasons; a lecture theatre for training and even a dedicated major incident suite.

District Commander Supt Ian Richards said: “We have facilities here that in the past we could only dream about. This building allows us to bring virtually everybody under one roof.

“The latest technology has been incorporated in the design which gives us among many other things a video link room and electronic pads in the custody suite which can be signed by prisoners doing away with a lot of paper.”

He added: “The buildings in South Bank and Redcar that are to close have served us well in the past, but this is the face of the future and new Town Police Offices will ensure we retain a police presence in our communities.””

From Monday December 11th a new South Bank Office, on Normanby Road at the junction with Hampden Street, will open to the public and from December 18 the new Redcar Town Office, next to the old police station will also open.

Both these buildings will continue to provide a front desk service to the public. The opening times for these buildings will be published in due course.

The postal addresses for the new buildings are as follows:-

1. Redcar & Cleveland HQ
Troisdorf Way
Kirkleatham Business Park
TS10 5AP

2. Redcar Town Office
Lord Street
TS10 3JP

3. South Bank Town Office
2 Hampden Street
South Bank

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Coalition ensures safe journeys to school

Redcar and Cleveland Council has reassessed the walk to school for some children attending Freebrough Specialist Engineering College and they will now have transport provided when their new school opens in the New Year.

The decision means that children from Carlin How and Skinningrove will benefit from home to school transport to Freebrough Specialist Engineering College when the doors of its new building open to students at Brotton on the first day of the new term in January.

The Council's Cabinet Member for Education Councillor Steve Kay said: "We are now in a position to inform parents that we can offer free home to school transport for more children going to Freebrough in January."

The decision follows a review of the walking route to school after the Council had ruled children living in Carlin How and Skinningrove could not claim free school travel.

Councillor Kay explained: "I have had representations from Brotton ward councillors Val Miller and Kay Walker and Loftus ward councillor Dave Fitzpatrick, who all asked for the walking route to be reviewed on safety grounds.

"Following our reassessment we can make home to school transport available to the children concerned. We are now in the process of writing to parents to explain the decision and hope that pupils can all look forward to the excitement of attending the new school in a few weeks."

Friday, 17 November 2006

Grangetown wins the Big Lottery

Grangetown Primary School has issued heartfelt thanks to thousands of local residents who helped it win a £50,000 Big Lottery Fund prize to build a new playground.

Headteacher Carl Faulkner said: "We could not have won without the support of so many people. We're so grateful for their backing. It's great to have won the Lottery!

"We're hoping to start building work just after Christmas and hopefully the whole project will be ready for the summer term, with a formal opening on our Family Learning Day, Friday, June 29.

"To win so soon after receiving our excellent Ofsted report is a double celebration for the school. The money is the perfect reward for the efforts of our staff, pupils and the local community in making the school the success it is today."

The school went head-to-head with a Tyneside environmental project in a day-long public text vote on Wednesday, before an anxious wait until the announcement on Tyne Tees TV's North East Tonight news programme last night (Thursday, November 16).

Now the school plans to give its 70-year-old playground a facelift with the introduction of new sports facilities, shelters, displays and an innovative learning environment. Plans are in place to make some of the facilities open to the local community.

Redcar and Cleveland Council's Cabinet Member for Education Councillor Steve Kay said: “I'm delighted that the school has won. The planned playground improvements will deliver a range of new facilities for dozens of schoolchildren and local community groups.”

South Bank Drop In

People living in South Bank can find out more about the Renewal Plan and how it affects them at a drop in session.

It has been organised by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council in partnership with South Bank Tomorrow and will take place on Monday November 20, at Golden Boy Green on Normanby Road in South Bank from 1pm until 8pm.

The community has been and still is involved in the consultation process and visitors will be able to view a series of display panels explaining what the Renewal Plan is, the area affected by the plan, what the current state of play is regarding house acquisition and relocation assistance available to residents, as well as future plans for the area.

The event will be held in the main hall and a meeting room is available for any residents who want to hold private discussions.

The Cabinet Member for Housing and Neighbourhood Renewal, Councillor Chris Abbott, said: "This event reinforces the Council's commitment to the local community. It shows that we are working with residents to give them a better quality of life in a better environment."

The Chairman of the South Bank Housing Strategy Steering Group, South Bank ward Councillor Ian Jeffrey, said: "This is a really good opportunity for people to find out more about the renewal plan and how it affects them."

Interpreters will be at the event, which will also be attended by representatives from the Council's waste and recycling department.

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Libraries hosting help and advice on keeping warm this winter

Libraries across Redcar and Cleveland are hosting information sessions to offer help and advice for keeping warm this winter.

The Borough's Warm and Well initiative can undertake benefit checks and home energy efficiency surveys, with the chance of accessing grants for energy efficiency measures and discount insulation schemes.

We want to ensure that people who might struggle with their heating bills this winter get all the help and advice available to help them cope.

Library dates and times are:

Wednesday, November 22 - Marske, 12.30pm-2pm.
Thursday, November 23 - Loftus, 2pm-5pm.
Friday, November 24 - Saltburn, 2pm–4pm.
Thursday, December 7 - Brotton, 1.30pm–4pm.
Tuesday, December 12 - Grangetown, 10am–1pm.
Friday, December 15 - Guisborough, 10am–1pm.
Monday, December 18 - South Bank, 10am–1pm.
Wednesday, December 20 - Redcar Central, 10am–1pm.

For more information about the Warm and Well scheme, call 01642 777976 or e-mail,

Grangetown Primary School wants your support today

Grangetown Primary School wants your support today (wed) in a text vote to win a £50,000 Big Lottery Fund prize to give its 70-year-old playground a facelift with the introduction of new sports facilities, shelters, displays and an innovative learning environment.

The school is one of two organisations shortlisted for the cash prize as part of the Big Lottery Fund?s People?s Millions contest to be shown as part of Wednesday's Tyne Tees news bulletin from 6pm.

Voting opens at 9am and closes at midnight.

How to vote: Text TTTV 2 to 63330 or phone 0870 243 4702.

Monday, 13 November 2006

Redcar Town Clock restoration is complete

The time is right for Redcar's Town Clock to come under the spotlight when a £230,000 refurbishment of the 93-year-old building is officially unveiled on Thursday, November 16.

Children from the town's primary and secondary schools will tell the story of the King Edward VII Memorial Clock in a performance of music and dance in the High Street, starting at 4pm.

Then Redcar and Cleveland Council's Mayor Councillor Mary Ovens and the chairman of the Friends of Redcar Town Clock Vera Robinson MBE will switch on the lights at around 5pm to illuminate the clock from dusk to dawn.

The town's most famous landmark now has a fully-restored clock tower and clock mechanism as well as the return of its chimes with the fitting of a bell, discovered in store at Redcar's Kirkleatham Museum.

Panels, created by children from four primary schools - Coatham, Ings Farm, Zetland and Wheatlands - have told the history of the clock tower, erected by public subscription in 1913 as weeks of specialist work has been carried out. The panels will now form a mobile exhibition, touring libraries.

A leaflet, telling the clock's history and the project's story, is now being produced, along with interpretative panels to be erected in two of the tower's four arches.

The involvement of children in the work was a key element of levering the majority of funding, £148,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, while the Northern Rock Foundation supplied £20,000 with the Council providing a total of £40,000 after matching the Friends' £10,000 starter from its public appeal three years ago.

The Mayor said: "‘It is wonderful we have been able to restore this lovely building which has stood at the heart of the town for so many years.

"The clock is Redcar’s most famous landmark and I know the town’s residents will be delighted it has been enhanced and conserved for many years to come."

The Friends' chairman Vera Robinson said: "When the Friends of Redcar Town Clock undertook to save this listed building I had no idea of the tremendous support we would get from the townspeople.

"Now, four years after the public appeal was launched, the restoration is complete, signalling that Redcar people do indeed care about their heritage and the clock’s future is now secure."

Monday, 6 November 2006

Winning the fight against flytipping

Residents of Redcar and Cleveland have given their enthusiastic backing to a Borough-wide initiative aimed at winning the war against flytipping.

The Council’s Clean and Green team launched its BOYD – Bring Out Your Dross - scheme in April, covering the Borough’s 22 wards on a rolling programme.

With one ward to go - Coatham, starting on Monday, November 13 - staff has visited 10,444 homes, collecting a total of 247.95 tonnes of rubbish and unwanted items, including 60 gas bottles, 83 batteries, 190 tyres, 253 fridges and 399 television sets.

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Improvement Councillor Bob Stanway said: “The success of the BOYD scheme and our two civic amenities has helped to bring down the reports of flytipping.

“Unfortunately those who persist in flytipping are costing the Council Tax payers of the Borough huge expense.

“But, under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, we have the power to investigate flytipping and, where identities can be proved, we will prosecute."

In the 12 months between April 2005 and March this year, the Council received 4,929 reports of flytipping. In the following six months, from April to September, 2,223 incidents of flytipping were reported – leading to a predicted reduction in flytipping by up to 500 less incidents this year.

The Council faces the dilemma of sorting dumped rubbish from flytipping – a dumped black bag at the side of the road is flytipping, a dumped black bag in an alley is classed as waste collection.

Councillor Stanway said: “I would encourage residents of the Borough to take pride in the Clean and Green aspects of the environment and make more use of the facilities we already provide.

"Contrary to many reports flytipping is down in this Borough because of the pro-active approach we now take."

Who's got the Redcar X-Factor?

Young people across the Borough of Redcar and Cleveland are being urged to bring their own cheerleaders to auditions that offer them the chance to show off their talents when Redcar's Christmas lights are switched on next month.

Redcar and Cleveland Council's Mayor Councillor Mary Ovens will be chairman of the judging panel in the church hall at Christ Church, Coatham on Friday, November 10 and Saturday, November 11, in X-Factor style auditions, when entries are invited to bring along family and friends for support.

Councillor Ovens said: "It's going to be a busy couple of days and I'm really looking forward to it, maybe I'll turn into the new Sharon Osbourne!"

There will be rehearsals for Key Stage 4 pupils and college and university students on Friday from 5pm-7pm, then a talent show, starting at 7.30pm.

On Saturday, the day starts with rehearsals for Key Stage 2 students, from noon-2pm, then their talent show from 2pm-4pm, before rehearsals start for Key Stage 3 students, from 5pm-7pm, then their talent show, from 7.30pm-9.30pm.

The winners from each age group will be part of the lights switch-on on Sunday, December 3, when they perform on the High Street stage, starting at 2pm.

Tuesday, 31 October 2006

Shopmobility returns to Redcar

Redcar and Cleveland Council has entered into a new partnership with a voluntary organisation run by local disabled people to ensure Redcar Shopmobility is back in business for users in time for Christmas shopping.

The Redcar and Cleveland Real Opportunity Centre (ROC) has secured Council funding for the next 18 months to revive the service, formerly run by the Redcar and Cleveland Disability Access Group (DAG), which was forced to close its doors on the Esplanade in September due to lack of funds.

The current Shopmobility members have all been notified about the good news and recruitment for staff is now underway.

The Council's Cabinet Chairman Councillor Eric Empson said: "Council officers and ROC have pulled out all the stops to get Shopmobility up and running before Christmas.

"As well as financial support, we are also helping with some equipment and building maintenance and repairs. Council departments are pitching in to get things moving on a safe and sound basis."

ROC Manager Jane Reast explained: "This is a busy and challenging time for ROC and our first priority is to get the doors open again.

"The Council has recognised the value of voluntary sector work and the public and economic benefit this partnership can bring. It has listened to local people and responded very positively. DAG has done a great job and given us a platform so we can develop."

ROC's other work will include a day resource newsletter and organising the Disabled People's Partnership Board, which will complement and enhance the Information and Shopmobility service.

Monday, 30 October 2006

Redcar & Cleveland Compact

Guidelines for a new method of working, which can cover local public bodies and the voluntary and community sector in Redcar and Cleveland, will be outlined by a national expert at an awareness-raising day on Wednesday, November 1.

Mark Blake, the project manager for the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, will address the meeting at Belmont House, Guisborough, organised by Redcar and Cleveland Council, which is applying compact principles across the Authority.

The Redcar and Cleveland Compact is an overarching agreement between 28 local public bodies and approximately 450 voluntary and community sector organisations which sets out working arrangements and what they can expect from each other.

The Council's Compact Champion, Councillor Chris Abbott, said: "We are fully committed to embedding the Compact principles into Council policy and procedures."

For more information, contact the Council's Business Planning and Development Officer Tracy Calvert on 01642 444241 or email

Fireworks Night on the Stray

Redcar's Fireworks Night will switch to The Stray for a sparkling display on Sunday, November 5, starting at 6.30pm.

The 30-minute extravaganza, between Redcar and Marske, will mean the Coast Road will be closed to traffic from the Zetland Park roundabout at Redcar to the roundabout at Marske from around 5pm to at least 30 minutes afterwards.

Organisers will be setting off the fireworks from the grassed area near the car park close to the Redcar Stray toilets, firing over the sea.

Huge new effects are planned, with fireworks rising to 1,800 feet and spraying as wide as 1,200 feet, building to a spectacular finale.

Spectators will be guided to two viewing areas either side of the firing zone, accessed from either Redcar or Marske.

Three 26-seater buses start a free shuttle service from the Majuba Road car park at 5pm until 6.15pm, with one free bus operating during the same times from the car park opposite Marske library. Return journeys will start at 7.15pm until 8pm.

Parking will be available in the usual town centre car parks.

Friday, 27 October 2006

Three new schools are first class

More than 2,000 children in Redcar and Cleveland will mark the start of an educational era next week when three brand new schools simultaneously open their doors.

Pupils at Bydales Specialist Technology School in Marske, Gillbrook College in South Bank and Sacred Heart RC Specialist Science College in Redcar, will return from their half term holiday on Thursday, 2 November to study in new state-of-the-art buildings as part of a £155million project.

The new schools are the latest of five new schools to be built in Redcar and Cleveland in just 18 months thanks to a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract. In April 2006, 600 pupils at South Bank Community Primary and St Benedict’s RC Primary School moved into new buildings as part of the project, co-ordinated by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.

Councillor Steve Kay, Cabinet Member for Education, said: “Next week is a momentous week for Redcar and Cleveland and I am delighted to see three more first rate schools being made available to more than 2,000 pupils. The creation of five new schools in such a short space of time is testament to the commitment of both the council and local schools to continue to improve the education of our children and young people.”

Built by Carillion Regional Building and designed by RyderHKS architects, the three new schools each boast the most up-to-date learning facilities. The new buildings each include auditoriums and drama suites with hi-tech sound and lighting equipment, e-learning rooms to seat up to 60 pupils, music suites complete with recording studios and sports facilities installed to Sport England standards. A viewing platform has also been created at Bydales School to enable pupils to map ships and study birds, gaining educational benefit from the school’s coastal location.

All three schools also use the latest biometric finger scanning technology to support their school meals services. Each mealtime, pupils will use finger scanning technology to enable them to claim a school meal. School meals are pre-paid at the start of a day, week or term, minimising the need for pupils to carry money to school.

Headteacher of Bydales Specialist Technology College Tony Hobbs said: “We are all extremely excited to be moving into such a modern building with first rate resources that will undoubtedly be an excellent learning environment for our students.”

Pupils from all three schools have played a central part in finalising the layout and designs of their new buildings. Earlier this year, students attended a council-run design workshop to give their views on landscape proposals, furniture designs, room layouts and test out some of the information technology (IT) and drama equipment.

Headteacher of Sacred Heart RC Specialist Science College Pat Hibbert said: “Our new situation will enable us to deliver the curriculum more effectively in a building which we can enjoy. We very much look forward to the new half term.”

The opening of the schools will come just two weeks after Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council was given the green light to increase education for 16-19-year-olds with the creation of over 500 places at Eston Park School, Gillbrook College and Nunthorpe from September, 2008.

Headteacher of Gillbrook College John Anthony added: “As we move into a new successful future for Gillbrook College, our fantastic new building represents a resource that will enable us to continue to develop an excellent learning culture in which our students can excel and achieve their personal goals. The recent confirmation of our post-16 status and the imminent construction of the collaborative post-16 centre will offer increased and accessible educational choice to students on their doorstep.”

The students will be spending their first week being inducted into a range of new processes and facilities within the building. Formal openings of the building will take place at a later date.

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Council calls for urgent talks with Racecourse Board of Directors

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, Councillor Dave Fitzpatrick, has put forward a Council motion to call for the Board of Directors of Redcar Racecourse to enter into urgent private discussions with representatives of the Council to ensure that racing in Redcar continues.

The request has been made in response to recent media reports which suggest that the future of Redcar Racecourse may be under threat.

Cllr Dave Fitzpatrick, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, said: “As a Council, we have not received any direct communication from the Racecourse regarding any future plans.

“This Council is concerned at press reports that there may be a threat to the continuation of racing at Redcar. This Councils calls on the Board of Directors of the racecourse to enter into urgent private discussions with representatives of the Council to ensure that racing in Redcar continues.

“Racing is so important to Redcar; the Racecourse has been a leading attraction to Redcar since 1875 - it is part of our town, our history, our identity, and we feel, an essential part of our future - and we will do everything in our power to ensure that this important attraction and the opportunities it represents for the future of Redcar are not threatened.”

The Mayor has called a special Council meeting of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council on Thursday 2 November at 2pm at the Town Hall, Eston, to approve the motion and discuss the future of Redcar Racecourse before the Extraordinary General Meeting of Redcar Racecourse shareholders on 3 November.

New Chairman of the Yorkshire Ridings Society

Chris is the new Chairman of the Yorkshire Ridings Society.

Members of the Society's Executive Committee, met last night in the Black Swan, York, to select a replacement for one of the Society's founder members, Roland (Colin) Holt of Fenwick, near Doncaster, who died in April.

Chris said: "It is a real honour to follow Colin Holt as Chairman of the Ridings Society. It was a sad blow when we lost Colin In April but the Society carries on with the same enthusiasm that has kept it going for more than 30 years.

"I feel proud that members have placed their trust in me as the person to continue the good work that Colin started. Some of these members have travelled to York, from all parts of the County, six or eight times year, in all weathers, to meetings and have kept the Society alive and thriving since 1974."

Roger Sewell, of Goole, who last year completed a charity walk around the boundary of real Yorkshire, is the new Vice Chairman.

The Yorkshire Ridings Society campaigns for recognition of the continuing existence of the Ridings of Yorkshire, never abolished, in spite of numerous local government changes that created new administrative counties and lately new unitary authorities.

Members campaign for Yorkshire to be used as part of the postal address in all parts of the historic County. For the real County to appear on maps alongside local government administrative areas and have been active in restoring and erecting signs on the real boundaries of Yorkshire.

The Society invented Yorkshire Day in 1975 and the event is now celebrated, on August 1st each year, in many towns and villages across the real County.

A former member of Cleveland County Council, Chris took a controversial stand as a member of the County Council, actively campaigning for its abolition and its replacement by four unitary authorities, with boundaries along the River Tees - the traditional boundary between Yorkshire and Durham.

The County Council and the administrative county of Cleveland was formally abolished on 1st April 1996. Chris saw this as the catalyst for regaining recognition for the area south of the Tees to be part of Yorkshire for all cultural, ceremonial and sporting and postal purposes. This ambition was partly achieved in 2003 when Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council agreed to recognise its status as part of Yorkshire and decided to use Yorkshire as part of its postal address.

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Cool fun on Redcar High Street for half term

Cool fun will arrive at Redcar High Street this half term with Borough’s first ice rink thanks to Redcar and Cleveland Council.

Opening tomorrow, (Wednesday, October 25) the all-weather synthetic polished surface will be open to skaters 10am-9pm daily until Sunday, 29 October with a £3.50 fee per session.

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, Councillor Dave Fitzpatrick, said: “The whole town is really excited about the arrival of this ice rink.

“I’m not a very good skater but I will definitely have a go, it’s a fun way to keep fit and spend time with the family”

The rink will hold up to 90 skaters at a time and organisers have a store of 144 pairs of boots with sizes ranging from suitable for those aged three year olds, up to adult size 13.

Construction of the 12 metres by 18 metres rink started on Monday, October 23.

Leaflets with 50p off coupons have distributed across the borough, each coupon is valid for up to four people.

Monday, 23 October 2006

Coatham abuse has to stop

Posted by Glynis:

On Saturday I was helping to deliver a letter to residents of Coatham on behalf of Josie Crawford, our friend and fellow Lib Dem Councillor. Josie, like us, has had a dreadful time putting up with abuse from certain protestors who do not want a superb leisure and housing development at Coatham. Josie has suffered more than most because she lives close to the site and by helping deliver the letter I was showing my support for her.

These protesters have gone way beyond what is considered to be reasonable and have mounted a campaign of abuse, allegations and scare mongering against members and Council officials that has caused great distress and has wasted so much time. It has got to stop.

None of the allegations and the 1001 conspiracy theories have stood up to scrutiny. They have all proved to be exaggerated nonsense.

As soon as I started to deliver the letter in High Street West out came the lead protester who started bellowing at me in the street: "We don't want this through our letterboxes." "She's a liar." "Your husband's a liar." I simply carried on and ignored the man. They can give it out in spades but if anyone dares to answer back they can't take it.

I post Josie's letter below:

A personal message from Councillor Josie Crawford

Ward Councillor for Coatham

20th October 2006

Dear Coatham Resident.

I have lived in Coatham for 37 years and I have been privileged to serve as its Ward Councillor since 2003. Where I live, the people know me. They know how passionate I am about Coatham.

They, also, know I don’t lie and I am always open and honest about what’s on my mind. This is an open letter and personal message from me. It has not been instigated by anyone other than myself.

As your Ward Councillor, I have to represent the views of all local residents. I work very, very hard to get all of these views and concerns listened to in a constructive and influential way.

There are people who are worried about the proposed development at Coatham. They are worried about the housing, about the change and what might be lost.

As the proposal began to take shape, I openly shared my own views and my own concerns. I have, also, worked hard to fulfil my duties as a Councillor and put forward all views to represent all Coatham residents, and still continue to do so.

I could never have stopped the application from happening. The ball was set rolling long before I was elected, but, believe it or not, Coatham residents have actually influenced what has gone into the final application.

With your support, Irene Curr and I have fought for better pool facilities, the height of the flats on the front to be lowered, the retention of a dance floor, more seafront parking, better footpaths to the seafront and better viewpoints for the homes on High Street West. We were successful in achieving these.

I, have also, offered to meet Coatham Ward protesters to hear their views and concerns at a time and place convenient to them when there was still the opportunity to influence the planning process. My offer was ignored and I never received a reply.

Finally, I went to a massive effort to bring together a Council Scrutiny meeting to scrutinise openly the development proposals for Coatham. This was a crucial meeting that could have significantly influenced the final master plan. It came to nothing, because it was wrecked by loud and unrelenting verbal disruption by a protestor. This meant that many members of the public who, also, wanted to ask questions were unable to do so during the meeting.

This meeting was so important. It was wrecked. I was so angry, because it had taken so much time and effort to actually get the meeting together.

It was at this point I decided the spokesman for the protestors was actually sabotaging any real efforts to influence the planning application and I became increasingly concerned by the method of protest. I openly decided I would not stand by the protestor any longer. This decision saddened me, as I had hoped, together, through reasonable debate, we could influence changes to the final plan.

I cannot support those who think that spitting at me in the street, shouting at me in public, making abusive and aggressive telephone calls to my home, and sending me unpleasant e-mails and letters, is, an effective method of protest.

Many residents who are angry and worried about the development have approached me. They have been reassured once I have explained what is really happening, explained what work has been done to influence the planning application and what still can be done to represent their views on Coatham and on other issues.

I’ve been called ‘spineless’ and ‘an absolute disgrace’ as a Councillor. I am not spineless. I am angry and disappointed. I will not associate with those who cannot conduct themselves in a rational manner and enter into proper debate to be heard. To earn respect you have to show respect.

I have been disgusted at the way that certain protestors have used the proposed Coatham development to attack personally, individual Council officers. The officers are simply getting on with their job. They are responsible and professional persons. I write for them as much as myself. They are hard working and committed.

The Protest has now gone far beyond the Coatham Enclosure issue. It is now also an attack on the Council and its Officers. This is another reason why I cannot show my full support for the protest group even though I share a personal common viewpoint.

Unfortunately, the most vocal protestors won’t be able to fulfil any of the promises they make to anyone, because they have ignored the real opportunities offered to them to influence the development through discussion and debate.

Because I have been so unsettled about the direction and manner of the protest and the consequent pressure imposed upon me, I had considered resigning from my post as your Ward Councillor. This is however not a path I now choose to follow.

I am extremely proud to be representing yourselves and working on your behalf and shall endeavour to continue to act as your representative to the very best of my abilities.

Yours sincerely

Josie Crawford

Friday, 20 October 2006

Bright future guaranteed as Council clinches street lighting deal

REDCAR and Cleveland Council is predicting a very bright future for the Borough's residents after agreeing a £46million project to replace, upgrade and add to its street lighting stock.

Over 15,000 columns will be replaced - 85 per cent of the existing stock - and another 3,457 added in a phased programme across the Borough over the next five years, with a £1million a year maintenance budget in place for a further 25 years.

The Council has appointed David Webster Lighting, based in Hertfordshire, as its preferred bidder, through the Government-backed Private Finance Initiative scheme, with £21 million from the Government backed up by a £1 million a year maintenance commitment over the next 25 years from the Council.

The Council's Cabinet Chairman Councillor Eric Empson said: "This is a massive investment that has been waiting to happen for a very long time and will undoubtedly be endorsed by every one of our residents. The new columns will cut out 'light pollution' in many locations, which will mean the sky and the stars can be seen in all their glory.

"We are very pleased to announce that a major national company, David Webster Lighting, will be the preferred bidder for the project and, subject to successfully completing contract negotiations, will be delivering this vital service over the next 25 years."

The company's managing director Bertrand Richard said: "We look forward to working in partnership with the Council on this prestigious and exciting project to deliver a first class lighting service to the people of Redcar and Cleveland, creating safer and better-lit streets."

Councillor Empson, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, Development and Infrastructure, explained: "Our surveys show the importance the public places on street lighting, with its rating as the third most important service, behind waste collection/recycling and street cleaning.

"What the public may not realise, but we have acknowledged for some time, is that the majority of our lighting stock doesn't meet the European standards and thousands have now passed their 25-year life expectancy.

"We've even discovered that the space between them is too much - that's why we're not only embarking on a replacement programme, but also putting in thousands of new columns."

A contract is expected to be signed and sealed in the next few months, with work ready to start next Spring following consultations with residents and the Police to determine priority areas.

Tuesday, 17 October 2006

No pool closures in foreseeable future

A leading Coalition Councillor today insisted that there are no plans to close any of East Cleveland's three swimming pools at Loftus, Saltburn and Guisborough.

Fears that the pools could be under threat have surfaced amid negotiations by the Council to choose one of three companies who tendered for the contract to manage the Borough's leisure centres.

Concerned users and user groups have wrongly linked the suggestion in one of the tendering documents that an Olympic 'super pool' could be built in East Cleveland to imminent closure of existing swimming facilities.

The Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism Councillor Dave Fitzpatrick said: "I can categorically state that this Council has no intention of closing any pools for the foreseeable future.

"We will still continue to subsidise the leisure facillities by around £1 million a year and are looking to increase this investment in the future."

He explained: "I can also confirm that there has been a suggestion from one of the organisations tendering for the contract to manage our leisure facilities that they should build an Olympic 'super pool' in East Cleveland and lose the swimming element at the sports centres in Loftus, Saltburn and Guisborough.

"As this is an official tendering document, we are legally bound to consider all its contents and that is why we are also keen to take on board the views of users and user groups. I'm more than happy to talk to all interested parties."

Councillor Fitzpatrick added: "People are jumping to conclusions, but nothing has been decided. What we need to be doing is finding and analysing as many opinions as possible from all areas of Redcar and Cleveland.

"And we need to broaden people's minds - this isn't about the future of swimming in the Borough, it's about all our leisure provision and there is absolutely no suggestion that that will be reduced."

Monday, 16 October 2006

Council gets Sixth Form go-ahead

Redcar and Cleveland Council is today celebrating the go-ahead for creating a sixth form with two brand new centres to be built at Nunthorpe and Eston.

The Office of the Schools Adjudicator has approved the proposal for post 16 education for Eston Park School, Gillbrook College and Nunthorpe, with a September 1, 2008 implementation date.

The adjudicator, Dr Elizabeth Passmore organised a public meeting at the City Learning Centre last month to debate the issue with parents, school representatives, governors and representatives from further education providers.

Now, in her judgement, Dr Passmore said: "The increased choice in provision, the convenience of location that the additional sixth forms would provide and the development of the 14-19 centre would be of such benefit to pupils that this outweighed any possible disadvantages."

The Council's Cabinet Member for Education Councillor Steve Kay said: "We were quietly confident that we would get a positive result after all the support from staff and parents at the public meeting.

"I would like to thank all the staff at the schools and the Children Services' Department for all the effort they have put in to winning our case. We look forward to becoming an authority providing post 16 education in collaboration with the schools involved, colleges and the Learning and Skills Council."

The proposed collaborative 14-19 centre, split between Nunthorpe and Eston, will provide approximately 550 places. The Council has made a £9.6million bid to the Learning and Skills Council, which has been given approval 'in principle' by the LSC's National Committee, based on a commitment to work in partnership with existing further education providers, Prior Pursglove College and Redcar and Cleveland College as well as work-based trainers.

Councillor Kay added: "Our proposed centre is completely in line with Government thinking. It will not be an elitist institution but will provide vocational as well as academic education."

Ice Rink brings cool fun to the High Street

Redcar and Cleveland Council is bringing cool fun to Redcar High Street this half term with the Borough's first ice skating rink.

The rink, an all-weather synthetic polished surface, opens Wednesday, October 25 till Sunday, October 29, open 10am-9pm daily with a £3.50 fee per session.

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism Councillor Dave Fitzpatrick said: “We are pleased to welcome the ice rink to the Borough.

"This will be a great temporary addition to the High Street which will hopefully draw visitors to the town. If the rink is a success this half term we may look to bring it back on a regular basis.”

The rink, which measures 12 metres by 18 metres, will be sited in front of the Town Clock and be big enough to hold up to 70 skaters at a time. Organisers have a store of 144 pairs of boots with sizes ranging from suitable for three to four year olds and up to adult size 13.

The rink, hired by the Cheshire-based company, Ice Magic, will be lit by existing street lights and halogen lights with a barrier around the perimeter. Work on erecting the rink starts on Monday, October 23.

Scaffolding currently surrounded the clock tower as part of the £260,000 restorations, close to where the rink will be situated, will be removed next week in advance of the rink's construction.

Schools, offices and shops have already been targeted with the distribution of 50,000 leaflets by the Council's Events Team, each with a 50p off coupon, with each coupon valid for up to four people.

Friday, 6 October 2006

Persimmon Homes facilitates new Public Footpaths at Coatham Links

Following the recent submission of detailed plans by Persimmon Homes to create a landmark £80m mixed use development at the Coatham Links site in Redcar, minor excavation work is now set to continue to facilitate the creation of public rights of way around and in across the site.

Currently, a comprehensive planning application from Persimmon Homes is being considered by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council for the development of new residential, leisure and entertainment facilities at Coatham Links. The planning application is subject to extensive information including environmental assessments and a full site investigation report.

As part of the extensive consultation which took place prior to the submission of the planning application, residents raised concerns regarding the public rights of way at the proposed development site. Consequently, minor engineering works are being undertaken on site to facilitate the creation of a new network of footpaths on the existing site. The minor excavation work required to create the footpaths on site does not require planning permission.

Further concerns raised by local residents recently have related to the existing ground conditions at the Coatham Links site, therefore Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council have been instrumental in ensuring that correct procedures are followed to guarantee best working practice is undertaken at all times.

In line with these working practices, as from Monday (9th October), Encia Consulting, experienced specialist surveying consultants have been commission by Persimmon Homes to conduct small scale investigations at each point where excavation works will be taking place for testing purposes. Material removed from the site will be tested for any degree of potential ground contamination.

Any work undertaken by contractors at the Coatham Links site will only be allowed once a full risk assessment has been prepared to the satisfaction of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council. The council will then allow contactors on site under license. Any works will be carried out in accordance with an agreed method statement and all health and safety guidelines.

Persimmon Homes Regional Projects Director, Peter Jordan said, “Persimmon Homes takes seriously all aspects of professional working practices across its regional development sites and always ensures that contractors are provided with up to date information on all aspects of the development process.

“We have listened to the concerns of residents and are currently undertaking work that will provide an extensive network of new and improved rights of way across and around the Coatham Links site.

“As a homebuilder with many years of experience in the development of brownfield and greenfield sites, we are skilled in dealing with any issues regarding ground contamination, which is a common factor in regeneration projects up and down the country and the North East in particular with it’s industrialised past. “

Housing is a vital part of the Coatham Links development

Peter Jordan, Persimmon Homes Regional Projects Director has defended the need for housing as part of the Coatham Links development at Redcar:

“The housing at Coatham Links is fundamental to securing the necessary financial backing and grant funding to bring leisure facilities to this site. The funding and market requirements for all aspects of this development have been meticulously investigated and Persimmon Homes is confident that the current plans represent the best way, and in fact the only way, to create the high quality state of the art leisure and sporting facilities that Redcar deserves.

“Housing is not only vital to the funding of the project but is vital to the future of the town. Research shows young adults leaving is set to become a major issue in Redcar, with a large percentage of the economically active population expected to move away during the course of the next 5 years. Taken as a whole, the Coatham Links project is a vital part of the change needed to regenerate the town and reverse this trend by providing a new range of housing, employment opportunities, leisure and sporting amenities for present and future residents of Redcar.”

Persimmon Homes Refutes Flood Risk Rumours at Coatham Links

The following is a statement from Persimmon Homes, Redcar & Cleveland Council's partners in the Coatham Links Development:

Persimmon Homes is in the process of addressing a recent objection raised by the Environment Agency regarding flooding risks at the proposed Coatham Links development, with a new onsite flood risk assessment designed to address the recently updated Environment Agency guidelines on flood prevention.

Concerns have been raised by the Environment Agency regarding a heightened flood risk posed to housing and leisure facilities at the proposed £80m Coatham Links development. The site is subject to an extensive planning application from Persimmon Homes currently under review by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and subject to extensive environmental assessments and a full site investigation report.

The Environment Agency registered a holding objection to the planning application for Coatham Links due to a perceived flood risk at the seafront development. Following liaison with the Environment Agency, Persimmon Homes are confident they can satisfy any concerns regarding provision against potential flooding on site.

Persimmon Homes carried out initial flood risk assessments at Coatham Links on advice given by the Environment Agency, relating specifically to the area of Redcar. The Environment Agency is currently updating this advice and consequently Persimmon Homes will be modifying the flood risk assessment for the Coatham Links site to meet with all current Environment Agency recommendations.

Persimmon Homes regional projects director, Peter Jordan, said:

“Prior to the planning application being submitted, all guiding principles available on flood risk assessment were taken into account in devising appropriate strategies to deal with any flood threat onsite. Consequently, we agreed to raise the level of the site to an appropriate height to be capable of dealing with any potential flood risk. This is a normal procedure at any development site located close to a large water source.

“Under proposed new guidelines to be issued by the Environment Agency for this area of Redcar, the renewed flood risk assessment may require slight amendments to the raised levels along with other works to cope with any flood potential. In light of this, Persimmon Homes is acting on the potential concerns of the Environment Agency and will be modifying plans accordingly to the satisfaction of all available guidelines.”

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

Eric Empson calls for an end to political bickering over the Coatham Links development

Liberal Democrat Councillor, Eric Empson, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, Development and Infrastructure has sent an open letter to local MP for Redcar, Vera Baird QC, calling for her to display real political leadership in ensuring a fair and open determination of the planning application for the Coatham Links development.

Councillor Empson, who is also Chairman of the Cabinet, said: "I have sent the letter in response to my increasing concerns that party politics are jeopardising the determination of the planning application for the development at Coatham Links.

"It does not help when the Labour Group switch sides only four days after the very same members voted publicly to support the scheme at a recent meeting of the Joint Strategy Committee."

In the letter, Councillor Empson openly challenges Ms Baird's recent support for the protesters against the development of housing and leisure facilities at Redcar and for their call for a Public Inquiry into the current planning application, suggesting the Council should itself call for an Inquiry.

He sets out: "As a lawyer with planning experience you know we cannot do this.

"Firstly, it is a matter for the Planning Committee acting independently and the Cabinet cannot take such a decision.

"Secondly, we cannot predict with any certainty what decision the Planning Committee will take. If they are minded to refuse then there is no point in an inquiry If they are minded to grant permission then it goes to Government Office for a decision on whether to hold an inquiry.

"It would be absurd for the Planning Committee to say we are minded to approve but by the way hold an Inquiry anyway because we need some political public relations.

"I am fully aware of the political motivation of much of the activity surrounding the proposed development at Coatham Links.

"It is in the interests of opposition party members to delay the decision on the proposed development - even when they support it in principle. Much of the public argument and scare-mongering surrounding the proposed development on Coatham Links is generated by these interests.

"I am now publicly asking for VeraBaird MP to put a stop to the party political wrangling and support local councillors in determining the planning application in a right and proper manner.

"The present scheme is the only show in town for the next five years that can bring real regeneration to Redcar. It should not be thrown away just to score party political points. The decision should be made on solid grounds, not on an unfounded assertion that the Council may not have the money it says it has.

"We might not be in this position if Vera Baird had not refused to speak to leading Council members for the past twelve months.

"We all owe this opportunity to bring about a fair and open debate to the residents who elected us to represent them and we owe it to the future regeneration of Redcar".

Monday, 2 October 2006

Busy bulky waste service

Redcar and Cleveland Council is carrying out an average of almost 300 bulky waste collections a week - and expects the busy service to continue in the run-up to Bonfire Night.

The Council is urging residents to get rid of unwanted rubbish using the service, which charges £5 for standard jobs and £10 for an 'express' service, which promises collection within seven days.

Latest statistics show that between October last year to September this week, a total of 13,739 jobs were completed - 9,233 standard and 4,506 express, an average of almost 300 per week.

The Council's Cabinet Member for Environmental Improvement Councillor Bob Stanway said: "All residents have to do is call our Call Centre on 08456 126 126 to arrange a collection. This is just one of the ways we are working with residents to provide a cleaner, safer, greener borough.

"We're also delighted to note that the number of flytips has reduced, compared to the number we had received at this point during 2005/06."

Figures show from April 1 to the end of August, there were 1,750 flytipping reports, down by just over 800 for the same period last year.

"We will be working closely with the Fire Brigade and Coast & Country Housing in the run-up to Bonfire Night to reduce the potential for deliberate fires."

Redcar & Cleveland Primary Care Trust established

Redcar and Cleveland Primary Care Trust (PCT) was established today and its boundary is fully co-terminus with that of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.

This new PCT covers the area previously covered by Langbaurgh PCT - Redcar, Marske, Saltburn, Guisborough, Skelton, Brotton and Loftus - and now includes the council wards of South Bank, Eston, Teesville, Grangetown, Ormesby and Normanby, which were previously covered by Middlesbrough PCT.

The information on this website dated prior to October 1st 2006, relates to work done by the dis-established Langbaurgh PCT.

The day-to-day primary care health services - ie, GPs, dentistry, pharmacy and optometry will remain unaffected by this change, as will all community services, such as district nursing, health visiting, physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

All services in, and based at, the three Primary Care Hospitals in Guisborough, Brotton and Redcar also remain unaffected by the change.

The reason for the change followed a national consultation, Commissioning a Patient-Led NHS, which took place at the end of 2005 and the beginning of this year.

NHS Chief Executive David Nicholson said: "The new PCTs coming into effect today represents the culmination of months of hard work and consultation.

"The extra investment we have seen in the NHS over the last few years has reaped real improvements, but we need to do much more. We need to create an NHS that delivers better services for better value. PCTs are at the very heart of making this vision a reality. Our commissioning needs to be responsive and innovative, using services that patients want, in the place and time that they want them, whilst making the most of every penny spent.

"To do this we will need to engage and listen to the public. We will need to motivate and involve staff at all levels, nurture talent and develop leaders from a broad range of backgrounds.

"The move to fewer, more strategic PCTs - more closely mirroring local government boundaries - means we are better placed to make this happen."

Friday, 22 September 2006

At last progress towards improving the unmodernised part of the Closes estate

Coast & Country Housing have issued the following notice to residents of the Closes Estate:

Consultation Event – Thursday 28th and Friday 29th September at Newcomen School Redcar – 10am to 4pm

Coast & Country Housing are committed to improving both the homes and the environment of the Closes estate.

We value your ideas and are keen to find out you views about the area.

Please come along to the above event and be involved in shaping the future of your estate.

In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, parts of the estate were modernised and improvements made to the layout and the environment of the estate.

The properties improved during this period are currently undergoing Investment work to bring them up to Decent Homes Standard.

We now want to concentrate our efforts on the older unmodernised part of the estate and bring about lasting improvements to the area.

A number of partners are on board to help us work with residents to deliver these improvements.

· DKS Architects
· Groundwork South Tees
· Tees Forest

Your views are essential to this process!

We look forward to seeing you on the 28th and 29th September at Newcomen School

Every Household from The Closes who attends the event will be entered into a prize draw for £50.00 Marks & Spencer Vouchers

We need your views on how we can improve the Estate!

Wednesday, 20 September 2006

'Easy' access to Council services

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council launches ‘It’s Easy’ – a Public Access campaign - tomorrow (21 September) to promote the seven easy ways in which local residents can contact the Council and access its services.

These seven easy ways, which include new and improved technology, include Viewpoint webcams, by phone, One Stop Shops, the Council website, i-plus kiosks, by letter and through the A-Z Guide to Council Services.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of how easy it is to get in touch with the Council by phone on a single contact number 0845 612 612 6 (standard rates apply); at our network of One Stop Shops at Guisborough, Redcar and Eston as well as the mobile One Stop Shop bus which travels throughout East Cleveland and Nunthorpe.

The campaign also demonstrates how the Council is embracing the use of modern technology to bring access to services for residents who can now speak directly with confidential advisors using a Viewpoint Webcam available at 11 libraries in the Borough.

Also available is the i-plus kiosk network – an interactive screen and keyboard available in Brotton, Marske and Ormesby libraries, Lingdale Village Hall and at Redcar High Street.

Residents can always contact the council by letter addressed to one of the four main council buildings or via the website at

In the past few weeks, the Council has also published its first-ever A to Z Guide to Council Services which has been distributed to every household in the Redcar and Cleveland area.

The launch coincides with the arrival of ‘Adshel’ posters to promote the campaign across the Borough which each feature a member of Council staff. Also being launched is the ‘It’s Easy’ contact guide which is available at libraries and Council offices.

Cllr Glyn Nightingale, Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources at Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said: “We are getting out into the local community and getting in touch with local residents in libraries, high streets towns and villages as well as delivering information about how to access Council services to each and every home across the area. Above all, we are not just sitting back waiting for residents to come to us.

“In the past three years, we have considerably increased the ways in which residents can contact the Council to access our services and our staff are trained to deliver consistently high standards of customer service using a variety of methods to communicate with residents, including Typetalk and new technology.

“As a Council providing key local services, residents expect us to be responsive to their needs and deserve the best services possible that are accessible in the most convenient way possible.

“We have worked hard to ensure residents can contact us in a variety of ways – some have been in operation for the past two years, some are new services using the latest in technology – now we are promoting these services to residents to make sure that the greatest number of people are aware of them and able to use them in the most convenient manner for them.”

The Public Access Viewpoint webcams have been launched in partnership with Redcar and Cleveland Mind, The Junction, Citizens Advice Bureau, Cleveland Police (Domestic Abuse) and Women’s Aid.

Thursday, 14 September 2006

Environment Agency reveals flood plans for east Redcar

Residents from east Redcar will have the opportunity to see how the Environment Agency plans to improve flood defences in The Stray area of the town.

They are invited to find out more at an Environment Agency open day on Tuesday, September 26. Staff will be answering people’s questions at Laburnum Road Library in east Redcar from 3pm to 7pm.

Earlier this year staff outlined the main flood defence plans for the town but this month’s event is for people in east Redcar to see how the scheme will benefit them.

Project manager Phil Welton said: “We held an open day in March to show the public the main proposals for the town but at the time our plans for The Stray had not been finalised.

“We have now had time to assess the options for The Stray and we are coming back to people to show how we want to tackle flooding in their area.”

The proposals for The Stray include repairing and replacing the timber groynes, reinforcing the slopes that stretch from the promenade to beach level, and filling gaps in the wall including a 150-metre stretch by the paddling pool.

Residents will have the opportunity to comment on the proposals and staff from Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, who have been working with the Environment Agency on the scheme, will also be at the open day.

Once feedback has been received and the plans have been finalised, the Environment Agency will seek approval for funding.

The scheme is due to be funded by the Environment Agency, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council.

Redcar is at risk of flooding during storms and also from coastal erosion at a rate of 40 centimetres a year. The sea wall has been damaged by storms and the slopes are starting to break up in places.

Tuesday, 12 September 2006

Response to Coatham protesters exaggerated claims

Printed below is a report issued to members of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council by the Council's Chief Executive, Colin Moore. It is in response to the seriously exaggerated claims about contamination made by objectors to the Council's proposed leisure and housing development at Coatham Enclosure:

"Persimmon is being advised by experts in these fields and the advice they have received has been submitted to the Council as part of their planning application.

"Two separate but related issues need to be addressed here. There is the issue of contamination of the site as a whole and then the allegation of sand being removed that is two and a half times the safe level for mercury, lead and arsenic."

The Site as a Whole

"The issue of contaminated land is an issue for all developments throughout the country. Some degree of contamination is to be expected on all brown field sites. That is why a thorough examination of this site has taken place and a report submitted as part of the planning process. The issue then is the nature of remediation required.

"The examination done for Persimmon by Encia Consulting is thorough, detailed and highly responsible as should be expected from a respected national house builder dealing with public authorities.

"The first headline from the report is that there is nothing on this site that presents any danger to existing uses. The issue is with “made ground”, that is soil imported or existing reworked. It goes on to say “This made ground contains sporadic, slightly elevated concentrations of some metals including arsenic, copper and zinc. These are considered to present only a slight risk to the proposed development.” The report goes on to discuss the remedial work necessary for the development to go ahead. This will be implemented in the final scheme and independently scientifically validated

"In other words the whole site does not have contamination but only parts of it. Where there is contamination it is only slight. There is no danger to anyone walking across the site or playing golf. There is a slight risk to new residential development if remedial measures are not taken. The view of Persimmon is that this is one of the cleanest sites they have had to deal with.

"I will now go into the detail of exactly what is on the site.

"Out of twenty samples tested there was one finding of Arsenic at two and a half times the Soil Guideline Value (safe in layman’s terms). It was found at 2.6metres depth. It was in unusual soil of brick and ash. For this to be a danger to health you would have to dig down 2.6metres (8 feet 8 inches) and somehow eat the brick and ash. You would probably have to do this repeatedly to have any affect on health. The 95 percentile analysis of all samples is at 21.2 parts per million, or just over the Soil Guideline Value (SGV) of 20 parts per million, this is the measure used to assess whether the site is contaminated.

"There is only one sample where mercury is above the SGV at 1.4 metres depth and is way below the two and a half times level claimed. All other samples are well below mercury’s SGV of 8 parts per million.

"For lead there are two samples slightly above the SGV, one at 1.4 metres depth and the other at 2.6 metres depth being the same site of brick and ash as the arsenic anomaly. However when taken as a whole the concentrations encountered present negligible risk.

"In conclusion this leads to the best technical advice being that there is no danger to existing users and only a slight danger to a residential development, which can easily be remediated."

Removed Sand

"The key allegation is that McAlpines, in laying out a public footpath, have removed sand that is contaminated at two and a half times the safe limit for arsenic, mercury and lead. This is nonsense. Such inorganic contaminants as are known are well below the surface in made ground. They have only been identified in two locations over an area of 4.5 hectares (45,000 square metres). In addition the elevated concentrations were only found at depth (the shallowest being 1.4metres). There is therefore no basis for the claim that the sand removed is contaminated with arsenic, mercury and lead. The material removed by McAlpines is wind blown sand from the surface."


"One trial pit found one trace of one metal in one place at two and a half times the safe limit in deep unnatural soil. To extrapolate that into three metals being at that level in blown sand on the surface elsewhere on the site is an argument that cannot be sustained and is unscientific.

"There is no more significant risk to human health in the near surface deposits at Coatham than anywhere else on industrial Teesside and certainly not such as to require special measures in terms of its current use."

The report prompted the Leader of the Labour Group, Councillor George Dunning, to include the following in an email sent to all members of the Council: "I have to say on behalf of the Labour Group that we have had reassurances from top officers on the allegations of contamination at Coatham Common."

Also in an email to all members of the Council, Chairman of the Cabinet, Councillor Eric Empson wrote: "I am sure that my colleagues, and all right thinking Members of this Authority, are completely disgusted at the posturing and pontificating of people who have no interest in the future of Redcar and Cleveland."

Friday, 8 September 2006

Public rights of way on Coatham Enclosure

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council has given permission to surveyors to mark out a number of routes on land at the Coatham Enclosure and surrounding area in Redcar, intended to be used as public rights of way.

The Council is responsible for the maintainance and promotion of public rights of way and recognises the importance of maintaining public access throughout the Borough.

Surveyors and contractors have made a start marking those routes which will be completed next week.

More information on public rights of way are available on the Council's website at

Thursday, 7 September 2006

Penguins back after 'Atonement'

Redcar's seafront penguins have been safely returned to their Esplanade patch as the town returns to normal life after the summer excitement of becoming 'Hollywood by the Sea.'

The penguins had been carefully lifted from their habitat and kept in protective storage while the area was totally transformed into 1940s Dunkirk for filming scenes for the eagerly-awaited adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel, Atonement.

Redcar and Cleveland Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism Councillor Dave Fitzpatrick reflected on an amazing few months for the town and said: "The penguins must be the only members of our community who haven't been enthralled by what's gone on!

"Of course, it's difficult to work out just how much interest and income the filming has generated for the Borough, but the publicity and marketing value must run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. Now we've got to see if we can repeat it."

Redcar's Town Centre Manager John Partridge said: "The effect of the filming on the town centre was incredible - visitors came to see the set being built, to watch the filming itself and then to look at the set before it was dismantled."

The town's Tourist Information Centre on the Esplanade enjoyed probably its busiest-ever week, coping with 350 visitors in the week before filming, then an incredible 750 during the filming. Callers included people from all over the United Kingdom, many to watch family members among the 1,000 extras.

Mr Partridge explained: "The town certainly enjoyed one of its busiest Augusts for many years as people wanted to see the transformation of the seafront into 1940s Dunkirk and then came into town for food and drink and other shopping.

"All kinds of businesses benefited from the film as they provided the film makers with everything from car valeting and hairdressing to food and vehicle fuel.

"Town centre shops reported higher than average sales, car parks were full and Redcar became the place to visit for a glimpse of 'Hollywood by the sea'."

The Regent Cinema, used for a fight scene and adapted as a French bar, has two souvenirs - the mirrored bar itself and two illuminated art deco fan-shaped facades.

And manager Neil Bates is looking forward to next year, too, with the prospect of a regional premiere. "I'm sure there'll be a Leicester Square premiere, but I'm also pretty certain we'll get one of the regional premieres. I'm confident enough to be ordering the red carpet."