‘Let’s focus on the future’

Coun Rob Crute pictured outside Blackhall library.
Coun Rob Crute pictured outside Blackhall library.
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A COUNCILLOR in a village that has lost a number of vital services through budget cuts is calling for a communal show of strength.

Coun Rob Crute wants villagers to show the spirit of mining days and rally together.

Blackhall has been a major victim of funding cuts over the past year, with the loss of Glendale House care home, a number of vital bus services, the temporary closure of Blackhall Youth Centre for maintenance and Blackhall library under threat because of Government cuts.

But Coun Crute, who represents Blackhall, Hesleden, Station Town and Hutton Henry on Durham County Council, says residents should look to a positive future.

Councillor Alan Cox, who is Coun Crute’s fellow ward representative, appeared in the Mail last week blasting the loss of services.

He said the situation is setting some ex-mining villages back at least 50 years, potentially leading to similar conditions left after the local pit closed in the 1980s.

He said Blackhall “was already at the bottom of the pecking order” and hit out at the coalition Government for not recognising the North-East’s struggle.

But Coun Crute said: “The county council’s local development framework, which guides regeneration and development over the coming years, has developed a settlement hierarchy which identifies Blackhall as secondary only to the main towns throughout the entire county.

“I feel that the people I represent deserve to know the problems that face us as a result of these Government-imposed cuts, but they also deserve to know that their representatives are working hard together to keep services in our communities wherever possible.

“I would suggest that we invoke the spirit of the fight-back against the pit closure and fight as one to keep services in our communities.”

Coun Crute said a new play area will open in the spring and developments are well underway to provide a drop-in session for young people in the village’s Welfare Park.

He has put a resolution to county council members to ensure that the library service will continue across the county for a minimum period of a year to ward off the threat of imminent closure of the service nationwide.

Coun Cox had also highlighted the loss of Station Town Community Centre in recent months.

But Coun Crute said he has worked closely with officers from the East Durham Area Action Partnership (AAP) to ensure that a replacement community group is established.

Coun Cox had also described how people wanted reassurances about the future of the University Hospital of Hartlepool.

Coun Crute said he has ensured, via Blackhall Labour Party, that the Easington Constituency Labour Party passed a resolution demanding the retention and replacement of all services at the hospital.

He has also taken part in a letter-writing campaign organised by the Save Our Hospital partnership to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley and has asked that the trust’s proposals for a new hospital at Wynyard be referred to the county council’s scrutiny committee.