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!

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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!

Finders keepers

Sometimes an idea just takes hold and really captures the collective imagination.

#LookForABook is just that – a summer holiday trend where children have been hiding books along with a note for other children to find, creating a giant UK-wide book treasure hunt. Just the kind of thing needed to tempt kids away from the screen and pique their interest.

I loved the idea so much that I was determined for Nunthorpe to play its part – and I enlisted the help of the kids to help me on my mission.

And we were thrilled to hear – via the powers of social media – about two of the children who had found the books we’d hidden!

If you’d like to join in then this Facebook group is really helpful.

Onto this week’s roundup…

Power of three

This week I asked residents three things that they’d like to see happen in Nunthorpe – and there were some fantastic responses.

Many of the things suggested are ideas I absolutely embrace and I’m actively working towards – such as improved cycle paths between Nunthorpe and the North Yorkshire Moors, a new community centre and working together to give young people more to do in our area. 

A new pub was also on many residents’ priorities.

You can see what else was high on the wish list for residents here.

Autumn fun

There’s a lot to look forward to in the Nunthorpe Autumn calendar – from fireworks at the recreation ground on Guisborough Road through to Halloween fun hosted by Nunthorpe Community Council at The Avenue Primary School. 

One thing that I’ve been Googling though is how to make a scarecrow in readiness for the Nunthorpe Scarecrow Festival.

To join in – and to raise funds for Devon’s Dream Team and South Cleveland Heart Fund – make a scarecrow, submit entry with £5 donation and display outside your house for judging from September 29.

The winner will be announced at a scarecrow fancy dress party at the recreation ground on October 5. Good luck!

Visit this page for more details.

To market, to market

It was great to see the recreation field filled with food and drinks stalls – from the quirky Barista Sisters through to homemade cake stalls – at last week’s summer fun day.

Could we look to widen the selection for a Nunthorpe Farmers Market or similar?

There was a fantastic Christmas market last year, hosted by The Naughty Habit on Guisborough Road, and many residents have commented on how much they enjoyed it.

What are your ideas for a Nunthorpe market?

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!

All summer long

Just when we thought summer was well and truly over – it surprised us with a final reprieve.

And it was just in time for Nunthorpe and Marton Playing Field Association’s Summer Family Fun Day on Sunday.

It was absolutely roasting, with so much going on; a plethora of inflatables for the kids, a beer tent for the adults and ice cream for everyone.

I was chatting to Nunthorpe residents, many commenting that it was exactly the kind of event that they’d like to see more of. A big well done to everyone involved.

Without further ado, here are three things to think about in Nunthorpe this week – including big news for Middlesbrough commuters. Here we go!


Easy rider

Could a Marton Crawl puzzle piece have finally fallen into place?

This week Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Conservative MP Simon Clarke and Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston announced a significant step forward for the Nunthorpe Park and Ride.

An ambitious future for Middlesbrough means more people travelling to our commercial centre – and we need to be thinking about our current infrastructure and its ability to cope with a rise in demand. A park and ride scheme could be just the ticket.

I commuted to Newcastle for many years – and chose to take the train or Metro rather than face the monstrosity of navigating a car into the centre. The same goes for trips to York. Why not Middlesbrough?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Future proof

There has been a spate of anti social behaviour in Marton and Nunthorpe, with youngsters throwing eggs at properties. A cause for real frustration and anger for the residents affected. Without a doubt boredom could be a factor. 

The incidents coincide with residents contacting me who are keen to help provide something to do in the area for young people and teenagers, which is something I’d love to support. My children will be teens too in the blink of an eye.

Do you have any ideas or thoughts on the kind of provision we could offer in Nunthorpe?

Book worm

Last week I met the head of libraries and community hubs at Middlesbrough Borough Council, Martin Harvey.

Middlesbrough Central Library was built with a donation of £15,000 from the Scottish-American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, and was opened on May 8, 1912, by Alderman Amos Hinton.

It has a proud history and is now part of a network of just over 20 libraries across the UK to be backed by the British Library.

Martin talked passionately about the library provision provided across the town, our nearest being at Marton Community Hub and Library.

There is so much going on –  from LEGO clubs to coffee clubs to one-off events. And this week I took the kids to make slime… A big thumbs up from them both.

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!

Rail ale

Despite its naughty nickname, Nunthorpe is really rather innocent.

In the early 20th century steel magnate Sir Arthur Dorman made Nunthorpe his home – and the industrialist planned a suburb around the railway station for his workforce.

However he imposed certain ‘rules’ on this new community: shops were not permitted, public houses were not allowed – and homes were not permitted to have house numbers! (I’ve always fancied giving my house a name…).

Could it be that Nuthorpe’s complete void of pubs is rooted in this historical quirk?

This could soon be set to change, and it’s one of my three items for discussion in this week’s blog…

The Railway Cottages, Nunthorpe

Cheers?

Could Nunthorpe could soon have its first ever pub?

The idea has been mooted before, with talk that The Avenue shops could play host.

This application to Redcar and Cleveland Council is for a micro pub at the Railway Cottages adjacent to Nunthorpe Railway Station.

The application states that the Samuel Smith Old Brewery venue would be a “small and simple public house with a focus on cask beer and conversation for entertainment”, that it would draw from walk in trade and is located so that customers can take advantage of train and bus services.

It says there would be no live or recorded music or television, mobile phone use is discouraged and a planning condition restricting such features would be welcomed by the applicant.

When I was out on the doorstep in the run up to the election many of the residents I spoke to said that they would like to see more places to gather in Nunthorpe. Do you have any views on the proposal?

More houses for Nunthorpe?

Grey Towers Village, Nunthorpe

David Wilson Homes/Barratt has applied to Middlesbrough Borough Council to increase the number of houses on the next phase of its Grey Towers Village by 42, taking the previously agreed total up by 70% to 102 homes.

I stood on a manifesto to oppose house building in Nunthorpe without proper consideration for our communities’ needs – including a community facility, fit for purpose GP surgery and thought to the ever-increasing traffic on the Marton crawl.

I’ve had a lot of feedback on the issue, including information from those living on the site who are concerned about issues including the lack of exit and entrance points.

You can read what I have to say on the application here. And you can have your say here – with comments accepted until August 29.

Meet and greet

Tuesday saw another successful public meeting of Nunthorpe Community Council – this time at Nunthorpe and Marton Recreation Club.

There were a number of guest speakers including from Wade Tovey, of OurGreenways, Wendy Dewhirst, from Cleveland Fire Brigade, and Cleveland Police crime prevention officer Gerry McBride who gave some fantastic advice about protecting your home from burglaries.

One of his top tips was investing in one of these clever devices, this one priced at £11.99, which makes it appear that someone it at home watching the TV. Very nifty.

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, August 19 at 6.30pm at Nunthorpe Institute. Make sure to pop by!