Welcome to Nunthorpe!

Hi! How are you all?

It’s been a little while since I last updated this blog – and so much has been going on.

As a community we’ve really pulled together through the Covid crisis and it’s been an absolute pleasure to help run our volunteer relief effort. Thank you so much to those who’ve taken part, helping provide our neighbours with a vital lifeline.

We’re also a big step closer to our new GP surgery, with more information set to be released very soon. The launch of a huge community consultation is also imminent, taking on board how you’d like to see Nunthorpe develop. So many people have helped move these crucial things along including Simon Clarke MP, the parish council, community council and other community leaders.

Today I wanted to update you on my Welcome to Nunthorpe pack – which was one thing that I promised to introduce prior to my election last May. The first draft is ready for you to download and digest! I’d also love your input to help improve the pack.

The pack is designed to help new residents navigate our area and it’s also available to current residents too. If you’d like a physical copy then please just drop me a line at mieka_smiles@middlesbrough.gov.uk.

I think I’ll leave it there for now.

Take care,

Mieka.

A village green for Nunthorpe?

Nunthorpe is known for its beautiful green spaces – and yet many of us feel as though they’re under threat.

House building continues and more families are choosing to live in our corner of the world.

That’s why I would like to see our special green spaces protected for future generations – and one way to do this is through village green designation.

The green area opposite The Avenue shops is a lovely focal point for residents’ enjoyment – from hosting community fetes to dog walking – and I have proposed to Mayor Andy Preston and senior officers that it would be an ideal candidate for village green certification.

But to make it happen I need your support! You can read more about my proposal – and how to offer feedback – here

Slow it down

Nunthorpe Village is one of my family’s favourite places.

During my campaign I endorsed increased pedestrian safety for the route between Nunthorpe Village and The Treebridge. As a result I have proposed reduced speed limits through the village. 

Astonishingly, the speed limit off the A172 to the village road is currently 60mph and 30mph through the village. The proposal is the take this to 40mph and 20mph respectively. I have also asked for signage to make clear that pedestrians may be using the road and that there is no path.

A bit of grit!

It’s still a bit chilly out…

And with that in mind several residents on Matfen contacted me concerned that, despite the gradient of their road being quite severe, it had been taken off the priority gritting route.

After raising this with leading officers and a fellow exec member I have had the route reinstated. Residents have been informed of this and been warned that it may be removed again if parking prevents the gritter from gaining access.

Clevegate crossing

I have applied for money from the Members Small Scheme Allocation for a safe road crossing on Clevegate following a number of near-misses, including a mum being injured by a vehicle in the run up to Christmas. 

The scheme is an annual programme where councillors can apply for funding between £5,000 and £15,000. Results on bids should be due in around March.

If you have any concerns, issues, ideas or suggestions please don’t hesitate to contact me either via the Nunthorpe Matters Facebook page, via mieka_smiles@middlesbrough.gov.uk or on 07938119858. My next ward surgery will take place on Monday, February 24 at 6.30pm at Nunthorpe Institute. Make sure to pop by!

Nunthorpe 2020

A new year, a new decade and time to turn a fresh new page.

It’s a great opportunity for renewed motivation to work towards all the things you want to achieve.

As ward councillor for Nunthorpe there are still so many things I’d like to achieve during my time representing the area.

One thing I’m always keen on is hearing your hopes for our area. What are the things you’d like to see change or improve in Nunthorpe?

Here is an update on some of the things I have been up to recently to make progress in our area.

On the road

Speeding and parking are big issues in Nunthorpe, both topics raised time and time again with me.

Along with Nunthorpe Community Council, Nunthorpe Parish Council and my fellow ward councillor Jon Rathmell, we have been busy looking at ways we might be able to tackle such issues in the area.

We recently had a round table discussion with the council officer responsible for Middlesbrough’s roads and the police.

As well as more frequent and varied speed awareness operations, there will be more double yellow lines in areas which are dangerous to park.

We are also working hard to set up a Community Speedwatch scheme, where residents can help make drivers aware of their speed. If you’d like to help please let me know.

Step to it

I’m one step further to establishing a walking bus in Nunthorpe.

This is where parents can drop their children at a designated point and volunteers will walk to school with pupils.

This week the road safety officer at Middlesbrough Council has approved my suggested route for the walking bus and will be hosting a meeting to brief volunteers.

If you can spare an hour on a Friday morning to help then I’d love to hear from you.

Tweet tweet

Feeding the birds is a pleasure for many – and something I’d like to encourage in Nunthorpe’s green spaces.

Do you have any ideas where we could host a bird feeding station?

I posed the question on my social media, one suggestion being the wooded area at The Avenue play park.

It’s a timely topic with the RSPB’s #BigGardenBirdWatch taking place at the end of this month, its aim to conduct a nationwide bird survey.

To join in visit this link.

If you have any concerns, issues, ideas or suggestions please don’t hesitate to contact me either via the Nunthorpe Matters Facebook page, via mieka_smiles@middlesbrough.gov.uk or on 07938119858. My next ward surgery will take place on Monday, January 13 at 6.30pm at Nunthorpe Institute. Make sure to pop by!

Oh what a night!

It was an historic night for Britain – and for Nunthorpe.

Nunthorpe helped to re-elect Conservative MP Simon Clarke for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland with an absolutely stonking majority, turning his 1,000 lead to 12,000!

The other half of Nunthorpe also has its first EVER Conservative MP in the shape of Jacob Young. I’ve known Jacob for a long time and I’m confident him and Simon will work their socks off on behalf of Nunthorpe and its residents.

Without further ado – here is what I’ve been up to for our area.

Christmas is coming!

It was a real privilege to be asked to do a reading at St Mary’s Carols Service by candlelight. It was a beautiful service and it was lovely to see lots of familiar faces belting out festive tunes.

It’s a Smiles family tradition to attend the crib service at St Mary’s – and it’s become so popular for families that this year there will be two! Here are the details.

Funding news

Fantastic news for Nunthorpe Community Council after it was given its financial contribution from Middlesbrough Council.

I helped the organisation receive the money for this year and last – totalling £1,500.

It means that our community council is now on a sound financial footing and able to continue its fantastic community events, such as the carol service taking place on Thursday – and there’s mince pie and tipple involved

Walking Bus Update

We now have a clutch of keen volunteers and a proposed route for our walking bus trial at Chandlers Ridge Academy.

We propose that it will take place once a week to test the initiative.

If you are willing to volunteer your time – around an hour on a Friday morning – then please do get in touch.


If you have any concerns, issues, ideas or suggestions please don’t hesitate to contact me either via the Nunthorpe Matters Facebook page, via mieka_smiles@middlesbrough.gov.uk or on 07938119858. My next ward surgery will take place on Monday, December 16 at 6.30pm at Nunthorpe Institute. Make sure to pop by!

Knock knock…

Is it really December already?

That’s crept up quickly – and here in Nunthorpe it means plenty of festive fun to be had with friends and family.

There has been so much going on in recent weeks. Here I pick out a couple of highlights from our area.

Who’s there?

I am often out knocking on doors and delivering leaflets on my home road of Mallowdale. And last week I was joined by none other than Sajid Javid, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

He knocked on doors and got into discussions with residents ahead of the General Election on December 12. A visit to remember!

In loving memory

Bob Mullen was a much loved Nunthorpe resident who held this community at his heart.

On Saturday friends and family gathered to remember Bob by planting trees, organised by his fellow ‘Grumpy Gardener’ David Leyland.

It was a beautiful morning and a fitting tribute to a special man.

Green machine

Wade Tovey of Our Greenways held a community meeting to discuss Our Greenways’ winning bid for £10,000 lottery funding.

It was fantastic to see Nunthorpe schools, groups and organisations come together to talk about ambitious plans for our area – from days of celebration with a green theme through to possible outdoor gym equipment. More information as this exciting project develops. 

If you have any concerns, issues, ideas or suggestions please don’t hesitate to contact me either via the Nunthorpe Matters Facebook page, via mieka_smiles@middlesbrough.gov.uk or on 07938119858. My next ward surgery will take place on Monday, December 2 at 6.30pm at Nunthorpe Institute. Make sure to pop by!

Team Nunthorpe

It’s a real privilege to be ward councillor for Nunthorpe – and more so than ever over the past month.

From our fireworks extravaganza to astonishing poppy tributes – our area has pulled together and done us proud.

First and foremost, a big thank you to the community groups and volunteers who have made our events so fantastic. And another thank you to those residents who have supported and enjoyed them.

Here are three Nunthorpe things to keep you updated.

Lest We Forget

Nunthorpe is known for its annual poppy displays.

It’s a source of real pride for residents – and visitors never fail to be impressed.

This year was no exception. We had an array of stunning displays across Nunthorpe, including at the war memorial, churches and the train station.

Young and old came together for the blessing of the poppies at the train station, and we visited Nunthorpe Oaks Care Home afterwards. 

An amazing Nunthorpe effort.

Roll up, roll up!

We’ve had a fantastic run of events in Nunthorpe.

But they don’t happen without fastidious planning and volunteers.

As well as being a Nunthorpe ward councillor, I’m a community council member and parish councillor too. It’s a great way to keep your finger on Nunthorpe’s pulse.

For more information about becoming involved visit the Facebook pages here and here.

Rest assured

After reports of antisocial behaviour on The Avenue in Nunthorpe, I felt it really important to act quickly and reassure residents.

Police agreed to step up patrols in the area and also sent out a letter to those living nearby to inform them of the increased activity and how to report further incidents.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you are aware of antisocial behaviour taking place in your road – and together we’ll tackle it.


If you have any concerns, issues, ideas or suggestions please don’t hesitate to contact me either via the Nunthorpe Matters Facebook page, via mieka_smiles@middlesbrough.gov.uk or on 07938119858. My next ward surgery will take place on Monday, November 18 at 6.30pm at Nunthorpe Institute. Make sure to pop by!

On your bike!

Nunthorpe is located at the gateway to one of the most stunning parts of the UK.

We are just minutes away from the North York Moors National Park, an area acclaimed worldwide for its beauty.

This week I’ve been focused on increasing access to the park for Nunthorpe and Middlesbrough residents.

Wheels in motion

One of my key aims for Nunthorpe is to see a Nunthorpe to North York Moors cycle way.

I called for a meeting with stakeholders to get discussions for a Nunthorpe to Great Ayton route off the ground.

It was great to get key players such as Sustrans, who look after the National Cycle Network, around the table at the North York Moors National Park HQ to move the idea forward.

There was real support for the plan which I think would benefit Nunthorpe and Middlesbrough in so many ways  – increasing tourism to the town, helping to tackle health inequalities through exercise as well as reducing traffic and having a positive impact on our environment. It’s a win win.

I will be keeping residents – who are also keen on a re-opening of the Nunthorpe to Guisborough route – updated on any progress. 

On the radio

It was great to be invited onto Community Voice FM last week to chat about my role as Nunthorpe ward councillor and executive member for culture and communities for Middlesbrough Council.

I set out some of my key aims for Nunthorpe, such as fighting for improved infrastructure in the face of a deluge of house building in our area.

Hosts Anne Woodcock and Martin Peagam couldn’t have been more welcoming and I’d love to visit again. You can watch the interview here at about 23 minutes in.

Little monsters

Halloween is just around the corner – and I’m delighted as a member of Nunthorpe Community Council to be helping plan our Under 10’s Halloween party Spooky Nunthorpe.

Fun on the night will include a disco, fun games and and fancy dress.

You can get your tickets from Premier Stores on The Avenue, £3 per child. But be quick!

If you have any concerns, issues, ideas or suggestions please don’t hesitate to contact me either via the Nunthorpe Matters Facebook page, via mieka_smiles@middlesbrough.gov.uk or on 07938119858. My next ward surgery will take place on Monday, October 21 at 6.30pm at Nunthorpe Institute at The Avenue Primary School. Make sure to pop by!

Doctor, doctor

There are a few things that were at the very top of people’s wish lists for Nunthorpe when I was out campaigning.

And one issue that was consistently mentioned was a new Nunthorpe GP surgery.

As we all know, Nunthorpe is growing.

The current GP surgery, on Guisborough Road, has served my family very well – God knows at one point there was barely a week that went by with a toddler and a newborn when I didn’t need something.

But…with our increasing population, we need a better facility.

I’m happy to discuss progress on this in this week’s round up.

Call the doctor

The number of patients served by Nunthorpe Surgery has increased by 20% in the last five years, leaving the patient roll close to being full.

MP Simon Clarke arranged for those calling for a new Nunthorpe doctors surgery to tackle this increased demand to sit around the table in a meeting last week.

It was great to hear the dedication of those involved – and offer any help we could provide in taking the scheme to the next stage.

Dr Stewart Findlay, of South Tees CCG, confirmed that he would be making a positive recommendation to the CCG Board to approve the business case for a new surgery at its December meeting. Excellent news!

You can read more here.

Tree-side

I believe trees are vitally important in Nunthorpe – and part of what makes it such a beautiful place to live.

I was really concerned when I discovered that 12 trees were to be felled to the rear of Whernside.

After arranging a meeting with Middlesbrough Council department heads I found out that this was due to a historical decision to pollard the trees, which unintentionally damaged them. The trees are now structurally compromised and I’ve been assured that they must be taken down.

As there are mixed feelings about the scheme, I arranged for a Middlesbrough Council officer to attend a meeting on site and answer any questions or concerns from residents.

The meeting on Friday went well and I’m happy to now report that I have gained assurances from the council that there will be two trees planted for every tree lost – and you can see the proposal attached.

The numbers in black are the proposed locations to mitigate against the loss of the 12 Whernside trees. Those with red numbers are part of the Dixons Bank reinstatement.

As always please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Last orders

Well – it looks like we’re one step closer to a pub in Nunthorpe.

I know that there is a real mix of opinions on this, particularly those who will live close to the venue.

Out on the doors on the run up to the election, more places like this were what many would love to see here.

I think as long as it’s done responsibly, if it gets the green light, it will be somewhere we can all enjoy that causes little issues for those living close by.

If you have any concerns, issues, ideas or suggestions please don’t hesitate to contact me either via the Nunthorpe Matters Facebook page, via mieka_smiles@middlesbrough.gov.uk or on 07938119858. My next ward surgery will take place on Monday, October 7 at 6.30pm at Nunthorpe Institute. Make sure to pop by!

Double tree

Trees are part of what makes Nunthorpe a beautiful place to live.

And during this time of year it’s more stunning than ever, with the sun setting through an array of different coloured leaves.

But I think we could do better – and see Nunthorpe become even more leafy.

Read on to see how you can help.

Any questions

I’ve asked council officers to pause the felling of 12 trees to the rear of Whernside.

I strongly feel that each and every tree is important and wanted to make sure that there was very good reason behind the decision.

I met with officers who explained that the trees are compromised due to a historical decision to ‘pollard’ the trees.

Before the work goes ahead I have asked that officers meet with residents to answer any questions about the scheme and talk about what we can do to mitigate the loss of trees.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Map it

Friends of the Earth is campaigning to double the amount of trees in the UK, with trees playing an incredible role by removing emissions from the air around us.

But despite their importance, just 13% of the UK’s total land area has tree cover compared to an EU average of 35%.

I’d love to see us double the amount of trees we have in Nunthorpe – but first we need to know how many trees we have!

Could you count the trees in your road? Email me with your road, the amount of trees and let’s start a Nunthorpe tree map.

The show

We have some fabulous places on our doorstep.

This weekend we popped along to the Stokesley Show.

The weather was beautiful, and thousands came out to enjoy the day.

Did you go? What were your thoughts?

If you have any concerns, issues, ideas or suggestions please don’t hesitate to contact me either via the Nunthorpe Matters Facebook page, via mieka_smiles@middlesbrough.gov.uk or on 07938119858. My next ward surgery will take place on Monday, September 23 at 6.30pm at Nunthorpe Institute. Make sure to pop by!

Team up – and clean up

Have you ever been out litter picking?

If you have then you know…it can get a bit competitive.

The kids and I joined in with Nunthorpe Community Council’s bi-monthly Team Up to Clean Up event, supported by the amazing Community Champions Middlesbrough.

Read about its latest event and more in this week’s round up.

R.I.P. Bob

I still can’t believe that Bob won’t be at the end of the phone when I need to delve into the history of Nunthorpe or a finer point of planning law.

Quite simply, Bob Mullen is a man whose loss will be felt by so many. And his impact on our community forever felt.

Friends and loved ones have got together and written a tribute to Bob that speaks volumes. He was one of a kind. You can read it here.

The litterati 

Litter-picking is good for the soul.

It sounds daft – but it gets you out in the open, doing something productive and those endorphins flowing.

By the end of the session today, the kids and I were pushing each other’s litter pickers away to get the chunkiest bits of rubbish.

As well as teaching children how damaging litter can be, it develops pride in communities, makes places look tidier AND helps clock up those steps.

Fantastic.

If you’d like to know when the next Nunthorpe litter pick takes place then keep updated here.

A bit of sparkle

Nunthorpe’s last community fireworks event certainly went off with a bang, with well over 1,000 people turning up to celebrate at Nunthorpe and Marton Recreation Ground.

This week I have been involved in planning for this year’s efforts – and I know November 9 will be an event to put into your calendar.

If you have any concerns, issues, ideas or suggestions please don’t hesitate to contact me either via the Nunthorpe Matters Facebook page, via mieka_smiles@middlesbrough.gov.uk or on 07938119858. My next ward surgery will take place on Monday, September 23 at 6.30pm at Nunthorpe Institute. Make sure to pop by!