Myself and Lynne Rynn were recently successfully selected as the councillor candidates for Coatham for Labour. Now we are officially on the ballot we would like to go through our pledges we will be pursuing if we are returned as councillors.
We have made seven pledges and will go through each of these over the coming days and weeks
No.1 Parking & Permits
Over the Winter and Spring we have been speaking to Coatham residents and collating your top concerns in the ward. Issues around parking came up as one of our priority subjects and so we have made a pledge on it.
Whether it was inputting information into the parking permit system, cars parked inconsiderately or no enforcement on your street, parking came up time and time again.
However, the biggest parking complaints by far were not being able to get parked close to your own house because of vehicles visiting.
We have already been challenging the policy with little success but we are determined and will be elevating our efforts internally and across the council. It won’t be easy to change this policy but it is within the law and therefore wholly achievable.
Cllr Carl Quartermain – “The difficulty we have is small roads, lots of cars and a parking policy that doesn’t work for residents. It is such an important subject myself and Lynne have made a pledge, to challenge the council’s current policy so residents are treated as the priority. What we have in Coatham is certain residential streets have very limited parking spaces and because it is such a popular place to visit, they are continually filled.
“Sadly, with limited enforcement, out of town visitors are parking unchallenged, while visitors of residents stay parked up all day and overnight even though they are only permitted to short stays. This often means residents are having to park a long way from their homes and even on other residential streets. This is creating tension and residents are fed up of it.”
Lynne Rynn – “We have spoken to many residents regarding parking and have learnt just how frustrating this problem is to them. Some have mobility issues, are disabled, elderly and even young mums and dads struggle to get close to their house with weekly shopping and young toddlers. There is nothing in place to help them.
“The council policy on Visitor Parking Permits advises that these are for ‘short stay and not to provide free all-day parking for friends or relatives’. However, these are only guidelines and therefore unenforceable. This needs to be reviewed, so residents come first and if we are elected on May 4th it will be at the top of our list of issues to challenge.”
The Labour leader & Group back our pledge!
Labour vow to put residents first with parking
Redcar & Cleveland Labour Group have vowed to put residents first when it comes to parking following a survey that puts parking disputes as one of the top local concerns. As parking issues remain unsolved across the Borough we vow to overhaul the resident parking policy within the Borough.
Coatham councillor candidates Carl Quartermain & Lynne Rynn spent time over the Winter and Spring speaking to residents and collating their top concerns in the ward. Issues around parking came up as a priority issue. Whilst other Councillors face similar parking issues across their wards.
Labour Group Leader Alec Brown pledged to tackle this issue head on if Labour take back control of the council, he said
“Carl & Lynne are a absolutely right to be challenging the council on this policy which quite frankly is not fit for purpose. I have seen their efforts continually get batted back and I have experienced being rebuffed on this myself in previous years. The approach from the Council is one size fits all, when it clearly does not.
“What is clear to me is that this is a borough-wide issue. Certain streets require a specific set of rules when it comes to parking because of the limits and this means putting residents first. As leader of the Labour group, we pledge to overhaul this dated blanket approach on parking adopted by Redcar and Cleveland Council.
“We must tackle the parking issues for our residents AND for our visitors across the Borough. We need a policy that is fit for purpose, and a plan to match a borough with high aspirations of being a popular visitor destination. Labour in administration will make this happen.”
No.2 Alley Gated Communities
When Labour was elected in 2015, Carl was instrumental to ensuring a budget was provided by the council, for an alley gating programme in Coatham. This was successfully carried out along the railway corridor throughout the term of the four year administration and continued to fruition.
From 2019, new alley gating submissions, not on the railway corridor in Coatham, were stopped by the Independent Group running the council. A new “scoring criteria” was created that would rip up Coatham plans and would favour other areas of Redcar & Cleveland. This saw the budget for alley gating going elsewhere right up to today.
If elected Carl & Lynne will dust off the original plans, put a review on the scoring criteria and will look again to bring new secure alley gated communities to Coatham.
Carl has created a trust fund to support existing and future alley gated communities in Coatham for the purchase of greening, cleaning and security.
Cllr Carl Quartermain – “Talking to residents around the ward it is clear there is still a strong appetite for alley gates in Coatham, in areas that have back alleys. Residents are fed up of fly tipping, dog fouling, urinating, vandalism, pick up van drivers looking over fences, anti-social behaviour, crime and arson. Lynne and I, will do all we can to relaunch the Labour initiative that was so successful here between 2015 to 2019. We will put in the work required to create more alley gated communities wherever they are wanted.”
Lynne Rynn – “The alley gates that have already been installed on terraced rows along the railway track corridor have proven to be a real success but are not without there problems. Once installed these communities will require support with advice, security, cleaning and greening. As Labour councillors we will ensure residents can contact us regarding these issues and that funding is available to support and create safe, communal and relaxing spaces.”
No.3 Cleaner Coatham
Street cleaning has long been a problem in Coatham. The staff work hard but there aren’t enough of them and the hours they work are restricted. As a consequence litter, fly tipping and dog fouling are regular occurrences that require continuous reporting for clearance.
Carl & Lynne have spent recent months pursuing clean up requests and preventative measures. This includes continual clean ups of dog mess around Coatham school which was a disgrace and where school children are often walking hand in hand, away to their school outings.
Dog fouling has become such a problem for our residents, that a recent survey saw it as being the 2nd biggest issue in Coatham. However, it largely goes unpunished and takes continuous reporting to be cleared up.
Carl Quartermain said, “The Enforcement Department have only 2-6 officers monitoring the streets at any one time in the whole of Redcar & Cleveland. As such, over the past four years, under the Independent Group running our Council, only a handful of fines have been issued in Coatham for dog fouling, fly tipping and littering. It is not good enough.”
Lynne Rynn said, “The council departments tasked with clean ups and enforcement are understaffed and underfunded. Labour in power have announces they will review the street clean department schedule and targets, will create focused clean up squads and will ensure enforcement officers are provided the tools to be able to produce more fines to those causing these offenses.”
No.4 Town Deal and Redcar Railway Station
Redcar needs investment. In 2017, Labour created a Redcar Masterplan as part of an ambitious £635m+ Area Growth Plan. This was published in March 2018. £180m of this plan was identified for Redcar and Coatham projects. The vision included plans for the town centre, Majuba, Station Road, the seafront and Redcar Railway Station. The Redcar Masterplan, which now includes completed projects, was the inspiration for the £25m Redcar Town Deal that is now moving forward. The £25m plan, while most welcome, is vastly smaller from the aspirations Labour had.
Lynne Rynn said, “As a member of the public it has not always been clear what the plans are. The plans get updated but aren’t always announced. Since the project was announced it has reduced due to increased costs and spiraling inflation. This meant for example, the plans to improve the housing at the Southern end of Station Road (near to the railway station), have been shelved. When was that clearly announced? Never.”
Carl Quartermain said, “£350million!That is how much Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council has lost in spending power over the past 13 years. That’s enough money to fund 14 Town Deals! The £25m received is welcome but is a fraction of the money lost to what was already a deprived area.
“Coatham Councillors were sadly not invited onto the Town Deal Board, so we either wait for communication periodically or, as I do, keep contacting the officers for the latest information. It’s not ideal as the plans have and will change and this isn’t always communicated. I had to complain to have the website updated after it remained static from its inception. The public must always be consulted and informed.”
A funding bid written and submitted by Redcar & Cleveland council to redevelop Redcar Railway Station, has been successful. The funds will come from the “Redcar Growth Fund” (£4.5m) and the “Welcome to Fund” (£1.45m) were secured by Labour in 2018. Another bid for £50k from the Railway Heritage Trust could therefore make this a £6m project.
It has been a very frustrating and slow process which has dragged on since 2015, when Carl acting as Cabinet member over Culture and Tourism initiated an acquisition of the station when he directed the council to take ownership of it from Network Rail. The plans were written up and costed and set out as part of the “Redcar Gateway Projects” within the “Redcar Masterplan Vision”. The whole process eventually took seven years, whereby the council secured a 145 year long lease to redevelop it into a vibrant, local venue with ticketing, retail, café, business and event space. Work is beginning now and the station is expected to be opened for early 2025.
If elected on May 4th, Carl & Lynne will continue to make sure the public hear about progress, developments and alterations to the Town Deal and Redcar Railway plans. If Labour become the administration, they will requests seats on the Town Board and will share transparently what is going on with the residents and businesses of Redcar & Cleveland.
To view the latest on the Town Deal click here:
Carl & Lynne’s Pledges for Coatham – No.5 Seafront Access
South Gare Access
The southern mouth entrance of the river Tees is part of a breakwater constructed in 1888 and sits within the Coatham Ward. It is a remote sand swept landing that holds incredible sea views, a long way from the beating pace of the town. It is home to a lighthouse built in 1884, fishing vessels, shacks & huts and is where many a twitcher, cyclist, traveller and walker can be found enjoying their leisure. There is only one access road in and out. This is the port authority’s (PD Ports) private road that has been openly used by the public since its creation over 130 years ago.
In recent times the South Tees Development Corporation (STDC) was set up to clear the steelwork land adjacent to the South Gare. Having set up Teesworks, the STDC are now disputing the port authority’s (PD Ports) access rights to the road. They want to take ownership of the South Gare access road and are taking their argument to the High Court to seek a declaration that PD Ports do not have a legal right to access their own land.
Carl & Lynne are opposed to the STDCs hostile action against PD Ports. If elected they will do all they can to protect the South Gare historic public right of way, along this private road. They will want written legal assurances that the South Gare will remain accessible to the public now and for future generations to come. The South Gare is a historic right of way and the public want it to remain so.
Lynne Rynn said, “The Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen has provided warm words on Facebook and in the media to assure the public that access rights will be unaffected. However, there is no legal documentation within this case that guarantees this. Warm words are nice but they can’t be relied on and don’t stand up to legal challenge.
“Even if the intention is genuine, which is questionable considering the interest to bring BP to this location, these words wouldn’t be future proofed beyond the current Tees Valley Mayor. This leaves the South Gare public access vulnerable to development, if the STDC win the rights, any time from now, and into the far distance future.”
Carl Quartermain said, “This is not an insignificant case and will cost the tax payer over £2m. PD Ports will have to find around the same amount to defend their historic position. If the High Court finds in favour of the STDC, it casts doubt over whether the private road will ultimately remain open as a public right of way.”
“We cannot rely on warm words from Ben Houchen as confirmation that this route will remain open to the public. You simply have to ask yourself, why is it so important for the STDC to take ownership away from the port authority, who have managed this land since the 1880’s, so much so that they are willing to spend over £2m of our money to argue their case – just to keep it as it is. That simply makes no sense at all.”
Redcar Beach Access
Coatham’s seafront is being transformed. Across the Majuba Road area, there is construction going ahead for an external plaza, with bench seating and a lit canopy. There will be space for pop up vendors and events and a water sport base to host activities including windsurfing, kiteboarding, walking, horse riding, running and cycling. There will be crazy golf and a new hotel.
Recently, with Labour support, Redcar secured it’s first brand new beach wheelchairs to support disabilities. While this is great news, access to the beach itself will still be tricky. Disability access has for far too long been restrictive to those with mobility issues. For all beach users wanting to get on the beach, access to it between the caravan park all the way to the bandstand access point, can be difficult.
Carl Quartermain said, “Access to the beach for wheelchair users is so restrictive it is discriminatory. The most westerly edge of Majuba car park is the one of the most accessible points of entry. This is shared with dog walkers, horse riders and bathers but is very soft sand and therefore no good for wheelchairs or anyone with mobility issues. Travel Eastwards alongside the seafront wall there’s a ‘gap in the wall’ with a makeshift ‘climbing frame’ if you’re brave enough. Not ideal even for the most active person. It’s not good enough and needs investment.
Lynne Rynn said, “From TunedIn, access to the beach improves but only if you are physically capable. The access at TunedIn has ‘broken’ steps with no handrail. Further East, at the bandstand, there are revetment wall steps but no disabled access point. Further still the Turner’s St slipway can be hit or miss as to its condition and is not considered safe access for mobility users. The only proper disabled access is between the Regent Cinema and The Beacon, but most of the year this is inaccessible as it is clogged up with sand and rubble, having been designed badly. This does not get serviced without being requested.”
Should Carl & Lynne be elected on May 4th they will work with the council and residents on a plan to improve beach access points along Redcar’s seafront from the Westerly edge of Majuba towards the Stray and will campaign to receive the funding to implement the plans.
Pledge No. 6 coming Soon…
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