Row over council's 'blatant disregard' for parishes

First published in News
Last updated

A COUNCILLOR hit out at his own authority’s ‘blatant disregard’ for rural wards during an outspoken speech at a parish meeting.

Joe Kelley, Liberal Democrat ward member for Hurworth on Darlington Borough Council, was speaking at the annual meeting of Hurworth Parish Council on Thursday (May 1).

He said: “It is not often, as ward councillors, we are given the opportunity to speak freely about this rural ward and its parishes.

“On this occasion, I would like to talk about one of the biggest challenges facing the borough, being that of transport.”

The borough council removed subsidies for Arriva services to villages around Darlington as a result of budgetary pressures.

Coun Kelley added: “Since the removal of subsidies, the night-time number 12 stopped in January 2012 and the day-time number 13 stopped in January 2013, effectively isolating a lot of the rural villages.

“Darlington Borough Council is one of only three councils throughout the country to cut funding completely.

“This shows how blatant its disregard for the rural wards, where a bus service is essential for those unable to drive, either because they are too young or too old.

“It has also meant the one-car families have had to become two-car families out of necessity, which of course then has the knock-on effect of having too many cars and not enough space to put them, leading some people to park on village greens.”

Coun Kelley and colleagues were able to show the district council enough evidence of the need for rural bus services, which led to a replacement for the number 20 service being launched last September.

Council leader Bill Dixon said: "We endeavour to treat every ward the same, but some wards have different issues.

"Perhaps Coun Kelley wants to have a word with his own Government, which took away all the subsidies for rural transport."

The leader disputed Coun Kelley's claim that Darlington was one of only three councils nationally to cut funding entirely.

Coun Kelley said the replacement bus service welcomes about 1,000 passengers per month.

He added: “Unfortunately, this still does not make it sustainable. It is hoped more people will use the service over the summer.

“This will mean it has sufficient funding to see it run until September 2015, when it is hoped more funding will be found.

“In the meantime, I am trying to help set up a cycle path to connect the town safely to the villages, which will enable teenagers to safely partake in after-school activities without having to rely on their parents.

“I am also working with Stephen Metcalf, of Tees Valley Transport Brokerage, to see if we can work with groups in the ward who want access to transport at a reasonable cost.”

Comments (6)

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11:55am Wed 7 May 14

behonest says...

Another example of what many of us have been saying for quite a while.
Darlington Labour Council keep increasing our council tax by the maximum permitted, but continue to cut our essential services too.
Another example of what many of us have been saying for quite a while. Darlington Labour Council keep increasing our council tax by the maximum permitted, but continue to cut our essential services too. behonest
  • Score: 11

6:22pm Wed 7 May 14

Spy Boy says...

Here's a novel idea! Vote them out of power. Forget the colour of the rosette, these people are more right wing than the Tories. They are in it for their own ends and not yours. They have continuously made a mess of everything that they have taken on. They are self absorbed and self centred. Kick them out for good. The whole tower of power that is our Town Hall has failed this town for years. Kick them out. Things can only get better without them.
Here's a novel idea! Vote them out of power. Forget the colour of the rosette, these people are more right wing than the Tories. They are in it for their own ends and not yours. They have continuously made a mess of everything that they have taken on. They are self absorbed and self centred. Kick them out for good. The whole tower of power that is our Town Hall has failed this town for years. Kick them out. Things can only get better without them. Spy Boy
  • Score: 6

8:22pm Wed 7 May 14

Teesflyer says...

Unfortunately this is typical of DBC which seems to operate as a throwback to the 70's Labour style of assuming that everyone that lives outside of the "Town" are rural Toffs and there to be targeted for any petty minded, jealous and spiteful decision. Not everyone in the "villages" votes Conservative but DBC are too scared to let even the discussion about a fare system be considered and will continue to manipulate the rules regarding boundary changes to protect their position.
Unfortunately this is typical of DBC which seems to operate as a throwback to the 70's Labour style of assuming that everyone that lives outside of the "Town" are rural Toffs and there to be targeted for any petty minded, jealous and spiteful decision. Not everyone in the "villages" votes Conservative but DBC are too scared to let even the discussion about a fare system be considered and will continue to manipulate the rules regarding boundary changes to protect their position. Teesflyer
  • Score: 6

8:48pm Wed 7 May 14

359282 says...

Just a continuation of the way in which DBC is providing fewer and fewer services.... Last man out of Darlington , please turn off the light !
Just a continuation of the way in which DBC is providing fewer and fewer services.... Last man out of Darlington , please turn off the light ! 359282
  • Score: 4

4:48pm Thu 8 May 14

RealLivin says...

I disagree with DBC on most things but for my council tax to go to subsiding buses is not what I want when we are lacking services that DBC should provide. What should happen is Arriva and others who want lucrative routes in the town should only be given them if they run services on these less profitable routes. Why should the bus companies get rich while we are subsiding these routes, they dont want us to "Break a bus drivers heart" but the companies are willing to do so if the route is not profitable.
I disagree with DBC on most things but for my council tax to go to subsiding buses is not what I want when we are lacking services that DBC should provide. What should happen is Arriva and others who want lucrative routes in the town should only be given them if they run services on these less profitable routes. Why should the bus companies get rich while we are subsiding these routes, they dont want us to "Break a bus drivers heart" but the companies are willing to do so if the route is not profitable. RealLivin
  • Score: 2

4:43pm Mon 12 May 14

settheworldonfire says...

How about this......Cut Arriva contracts and allow another company to bid for the service areas as long as they include a decent rural service......
If they have a 1000 passengers a month that would be a decent profit....
How about this......Cut Arriva contracts and allow another company to bid for the service areas as long as they include a decent rural service...... If they have a 1000 passengers a month that would be a decent profit.... settheworldonfire
  • Score: 1

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