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!

Help Nunthorpe’s hedgehogs

Tired parents know that play parks can be a saviour.

When you’ve exhausted all options – and the kids are bouncing off the walls – a walk to the park to let off steam can be just the ticket (whilst you take a minute on the bench…).

Sadly our Nunthorpe play parks have lost a bit of sparkle.

But now there’s good news! Read about it in my weekly roundup below.

Play time

Two Nunthorpe pay parks are set for improvement.

With the help of Nunthorpe Community Council and Nunthorpe Parish Council, I consulted with members of the public to look at the next steps for The Avenue Play Park after £10,000 funding was secured by my predecessor Lesley McGloin.

And now I’m thrilled that the new equipment is set to be installed – which includes a new sky carousel and slide – with work commencing September 16. New benches are also on their way to the play park.

The missing Mallowdale Park swings are set to be replaced too, week commencing September 23. This will be welcome news to many residents who have contacted me frustrated about the situation.

Hurrah for hedgehogs

Who doesn’t love hedgehogs?

The kids and I were delighted to spot two of the little fellas on the way home from the Southern Cross. And thankfully both seemed in good health.

But sadly this isn’t always the case – and England’s hedgehogs are at real risk. 

In the 1950s England was home to 30m and this figure is down to just 1m.  The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs report says hedgehogs could disappear for good unless something is done.

There has been a national call for people to bring in their football nets after the RSPCA reported a spike in hedgehogs becoming entangled and seriously injured or killed, a Nunthorpe resident recently freeing one in exactly that situation.

And things could get worse in coming weeks as hedgehogs are on the hunt for food ahead of hibernation, travelling further in their quest for slugs and snails. 

The Government has launched a new road sign to be placed in areas where hedgehogs cross roads – and I’ve requested Nunthorpe is considered.

Where in Nunthorpe do you think is the place most suitable? 

Green machine

Nunthorpe is about to become even greener.

Voluntary group OurGreenways has announced its bid to the National Lottery Community Fund has been successful.

Almost £10,000 will go toward green and healthy projects across Nunthorpe – and I know there are already some great ideas.

If you’re a business that would like to offer matched funding then Our Greenways would also love to hear from you.

I look forward to supporting OurGreenways in its next steps.

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 9 at 6.30pm at Nunthorpe Institute. Make sure to pop by!