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Welcome to edition 138 of eFocus, the email newsletter of your local Lib Dem Focus Team. In this edition we bring you news about:
  • Gateshead leisure centres and pools remain closed;
  • Dunston hotel stripped of licence;
  • Competitions back on at Marley Hill Bowling Club;
  • Orangery reopens;
  • Cancer won't delay - so neither should you;
  • Keep off the track at Tanfield;
  • Beamish reopens;
  • Focus on Facebook;
  • U-turn on Tyne Bridge road changes.
Please feel free to forward eFocus to family and friends and others who may find the contents useful and post it to social media.

Your local Lib Dem Focus Team: Marilynn Ord, Peter Craig, Sonya Hawkins, Chris Ord, Peter Maughan, Vicky Anderson, Jonathan Mohammed and Jonathan Wallace
Gateshead leisure centres and pools remain closed
Dunston Leisure Centre Jul 20
The government announced that pools and leisure centres could reopen on 25th July. However, Gateshead Council has decided to keep boroughs facilities closed during the pandemic.

In a statement, the Council stated: "Our primary concern remains the health and wellbeing of our residents during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"With that in mind, all GO Gateshead leisure centres have been closed since March to help control the further spread of the virus and this will continue to be the case for the time being.

"While we understand this will come as a disappointment to our valued customers, preventing and controlling the spread of the virus to protect lives must be the main consideration."

Any changes to this stance, including a date for reopening will be communicated directly to GO Gateshead members and residents. All Direct Debit payments will remain suspended until leisure centres reopen.

Cllr Peter Maughan said, "The Council is taking a precautionary approach but possible reopening of pools and leisure centres is being kept under review.
Dunston hotel stripped of licence
Gateshead's licencing committee have stripped the Royal Hotel in Dunston of its drinks licence. The decision was taken after it was discovered that customers were served alcohol during lockdown. There was also a number of crime and disorder incidents connected to the hotel.

One took place on Whickham Bank on 1st May when a car overturned after hitting a traffic barrier. The police reported that it was "apparent that the occupants of the vehicle were intoxicated". One of the passengers of the vehicle admitted they had been drinking in the Royal Hotel.

The hotel has a right to appeal the decision.
Competitions back on at Marley Hill Bowling Club
Marley Hill bowls club June 19 (3)
Marley Hill Community Bowling Club returned to internal club competitions on Tuesday 28th July. Further competitions will also take place on 4th, 11th and 18th August (all Tuesdays.) £1.00 entry fee per person per competition. 10.00am. registration for 1030am start.

The Club said, "We look forward to welcoming our members and friends back to the club. Even if you choose not to enter it would still be great to meet up again and enjoy the conviviality of the surroundings now that the Covid restrictions have been eased sufficiently to allow us a degree of normality.

"Restrictions of access to the clubhouse will be in place. Bring your own mask/ face covering if you wish."
Orangery reopens
The Orangery cafe at the Hermitage Garden on Whickham Front Street reopened on Saturday 18th July. Cakes, coffee and scones available! The garden is open 10am-3pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 2pm on Saturdays.
Cancer won't delay - so neither should you!
In terms of health, the nation's attention has been focused in recent months on tackling coronavirus. Other illnesses have not gone away however so don't ignore the symptoms. If you have found a lump on your body, don't delay. Call your GP. The sooner cancer and other illnesses are identified, the greater the chance of survival.
Keep off the track!
Tanfield Railway Oct 15 (8)
The Tanfield Railway are aiming to reopen in August (at the time of writing the opening date is still not known but we will include it in eFocus once it is announced.) In the meantime, equipment, locos and carriages will need to be moved along the track.

Residents are therefore asked for their own safety to walk along the nearby paths, rather than along the track. In a statement, the Tanfield Railway said, "We are very thankful that you have been our eyes and ears during lockdown, but now we must kindly ask, in the interests of safety, please use the nearby footpaths instead of the railway. With your help we can get the world's oldest railway back up and running again safely."

Cllr Marilynn Ord said, "We re looking forward to the Tanfield Railway reopening but in the meantime, please be safe and walk along the paths rather than the track."
Beamish reopens
Beamish Museum pit village Aug 16 (1)
Award-winning Beamish Museum has now reopened. Additional safety and hygiene measures are in place across the 350-acre museum site, with exhibits opening based on COVID-19 safety guidance. Entry is by pre-booked time slot for all visitors (click on this link). 

The new Northern General Transport Bus Depot has also opened its doors at Beamish, helping to preserve transport heritage and engineering skills, along with the century-old Northern name.

Cllr Sonya Hawkins said, "Beamish is one of the top museums in the country and it is great having it on our doorstep. Many jobs rely on Beamish being a success so I encourage everyone to book a visit."
Focus on Facebook
Your local Lib Dem Focus Team have set up 2 Facebook pages to help keep you in touch with local news.
"We are keen to keep residents informed about local issues through our Focus newsletters," said Lib Dem campaigner Jonathan Mohammed, "but the pandemic lockdown meant we have been unable to deliver our leaflets.

Cllr Peter Craig said, "We have doubled the frequency of our email newsletters but the new Facebook pages will help us to keep people informed."
U-turn on Tyne Bridge road changes
Gateshead underpass congestion Jul 20
At last common sense has prevailed and the Labour leadership of the Council has done a u-turn and backed down on their traffic changes in central Gateshead.

Well done to all the residents who signed petitions, wrote to Labour bosses, and made clear that these plans were bad for Gateshead. We are still awaiting the details of what their u-turn will involve.

"Their u-turn has shown that Labour’s claim that they were being forced to do this by central government was simply false," said Cllr Vicky Anderson.

"There are also serious questions about how much money Labour bosses at the Civic have wasted on this so far," said Cllr Chris Ord.

"We have asked how much money has been spent on this so far and will let residents know once we have a response."

Cllr Jonathan Wallace, Leader of the Lib Dem Opposition, said, "The aim of the Council was to reduce air pollution by creating more space for cycling and walking. These are the right aims. But the way Labour went about trying to achieve this was an object lesson in how not to do something.

"Blocking up the Tyne Bridge and the roads around it added to pollution and congestion, the opposite of what needed to be achieved. In addition, Labour's complete failure to carry out any consultation on this project was unforgivable."
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