Meeting documents

Area 4 Forum (SBC)
Tuesday 9 March 2004 6.30 pm

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Agenda and Minutes

Democratic Services Officer, Area 4 Forum
Tuesday, 9th March, 2004 6.30 p.m.

Venue: Hackworth Suite, Shildon Sunnydale Leisure Centre, Middridge Lane, Shildon

Contact: Gillian Garrigan 

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 91 K

To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 13th January 2004.



Police Report

A report will be given at the meeting by Shildon Police.


PC A. Lawton was present at the meeting to give details of crime statistics.


It was reported that during the month of February there had been 312 reported incidents of which 76 were crimes.  22 arrests had been made.


The crime statistics were as follows:



Type of Crime  



February, 2004

Domestic incidents


Other assaults


Criminal damage


Dwellinghouse burglaries


Thefts from Motor Vehicles


Attempted thefts



With regard to the work undertaken by PC A. Lawton in relation to the vetting of the tenants of private landlords, it was noted that Councillor Huntington had forwarded a report to the Borough Council’s Lead Member of Housing regarding the need to appoint a dedicated officer to liaise with the Police.



Smoking Policy In Leisure Centres


P.K. Ball, Director of Leisure Services, attended the meeting to give an update on the above.


The Forum was informed that the Borough Council’s Cabinet at its meeting on 8th January 2004 had agreed to adopt a ‘No Smoking Policy’ in the Council’s Leisure Centres from 1st April 2005 and that prior to 1st April 2005, designated smoking areas be provided within the licensed areas of the Leisure Centres.  Cabinet also had agreed that the implications of introducing the policy should be considered by the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee 2. 


In accordance with that decision, designated smoking areas had been provided in all the licensed areas of the Leisure Centre, however, no improvements had been made to the air conditioning to remove the smoke from the atmosphere and reduce the risks of passive smoking.


It was reported that the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee 2 at its meeting on 2nd March 2004, had supported the decision of Cabinet to adopt a ‘No Smoking Policy’ in the Council’s Leisure Centres, however, felt that the ban should be implemented as soon as possible to protect the health and safety of the Council’s employees and the public from the harmful effects of passive smoking.  The minutes of that meeting would be referred to the Council’s Cabinet for consideration.  It was pointed out that if Cabinet decided to introduce the total ban as soon as possible, Leisure Services Department would need approximately two months to consult with its customers.



Sedgefield Primary Care Trust

Update on local health matters.


Dr. A. Learmonth, Director of Public Health was present at the meeting to provide an update on local health matters.


A copy of the report, ‘Achieving Patient Access Targets and Baseline Performance Requirements’ was circulated at the meeting.  (For copy see file of Minutes).


It was reported that the targets with regard to access to a GP within two working days and a health care professional with one working day, had been met in January 2004.  Performance had also improved in relation to waiting times in the Accident and Emergency Departments of the County Durham and Darlington Hospitals and the number of people aged 65 and over vaccinated against flu.  The targets had not been met in relation to the ambulance service responding to incidents within eight minutes and delayed transfers.


Specific reference was made to the development of the out-of-hours service.  It was pointed out that with the implementation of the new GP contract, GPs could opt out of providing out-of-hours services.  Responsibility would then fall to the PCT to provide the service.  The Forum was informed that all the practices within Sedgefield Borough wished to opt out of providing the out-of-hours service, however, a recent survey showed that there were a number of GPs willing to cover some parts of the out-of-hours rota at the Urgent Care Centre at Bishop Auckland Hospital.


It was noted that staff at the Urgent Care Centre would offer advice over the telephone and where necessary, arrange transport to the Centre for patients.


Members of the Forum expressed concern that it was difficult to make appointments to see a particular G.P. as a result of the new appointment systems that had been introduced at a number of surgeries.


Specific reference was made to the proposal to relocate the wheelchair service for the south of the County from Darlington Memorial Hospital to the Pioneering Care Centre at Newton Aycliffe.  Copies of a report giving details of the proposal were available at the meeting for Member’s information. 


A leaflet was also made available at the meeting detailing the plans for the future of the NHS covering Teesside and Easington, County Durham.



The Locomotion: The National Railway Museum


G. Muirhead, Museum Manager, was present at the meeting to give an update on the progress being made in respect of the Locomotion: The National Railway Museum.


The Forum was shown artist impressions and plans of the museum site.  It was noted that numerical signs, resembling railway signals, would be located throughout the site to give visitors of details of their location position and information on exhibits.


Reference was made to the redevelopment of the main hall of the former Sunday School building.  It was pointed out that the Sans Pariel would be relocated in the building by the end of May. 


The new Museum would have state-of-the-art exhibitions that would recount the history of Shildon, i.e. what it was like to live and work in the town. 


The Soho Shed would house the remnants of one of Timothy Hackworth’s locomotives and the Goods Shed would be made more accessible for persons in wheelchairs. 


With regard to the new Collections building, it was noted that exhibits would arrive from mid-April until the end of September 2004.  Many of the exhibits would come under their own steam. There were to be three themes:


  • Transporting people and how technology had changed.
  • Moving freight on the railways.
  • Maintenance of the railways.


With regard to Shildon wagon works, it was noted that two wagons built at the works would be exhibited at the Museum. 


It was pointed out that as the site was quite extensive, arrangements had been made for a 35-seater shuttle bus to run at regular intervals from the former Timothy Hackworth building to the new Collections building.  


Reference was made to the major piece of public art that would be located on the Museum site.  The artwork resembled a hexagonal tower that changed colour on the recejpt of text messages.

It was pointed out that meetings were currently taking place between the commissioning team and the planning officers of Sedgefield Borough Council to agree its position. 


The Forum was also given details of the plans to upgrade Shildon Station, which included improvements to lighting, tannoy system and the installation of CCTV cameras.  It was pointed out that officers of the Council were meeting with the new franchisee to discuss the possibility of increasing the rail services to Shildon, especially in the summer months. 


With regard to signage, it was reported that officers were currently meeting with representatives of Durham County Council to discuss the location of the traditional brown tourist signs within the County.



Shildon Sunnydale Leisure Centre


D. Snowball, Manager of Shildon Sunnydale Leisure Centre, attended the meeting to give details of the facilities and activities provided at the Leisure Centre.


It was noted that there had been 273 visits from children during 16th and 20th February to participate in the holiday activities that included table tennis, football, softplay etc. Similar activities were being planned for the Easter School holidays. 


From April 2003 - March 2004, it was anticipated that there would be 20,000 visits to the Leisure Centre from juniors.


Specific reference was made to the Cyber Café.  It was noted that the facility had not been widely advertised when it had first opened in order to iron out teething difficulties.  The Café was presently closed in view of the works taking place to the front entrance of the Leisure Centre in order to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act.  It was anticipated that the Cafe would be up and running again in April.


Members of the Forum questioned what arrangements were being made to enable disabled persons to gain access to the ground floor.  It was explained that it was not possible to install a conventional lift, however, consideration was being given to the installation of a chair lift.


Members of the Forum asked if consideration could be given to holding parent and toddler sessions on evenings as opposed to mornings.  It was reported that consideration would be given to that request.


Reference was also made to the cost of visiting the fitness suite at Shildon Sunnydale Leisure Centre compared to the suites at Spennymoor and Ferryhill, which had more pieces of equipment.  It was reported that the Leisure Services Department was currently reviewing its pricing policy and discussions were taking place with a private sector partner regarding the refurbishment of the fitness suites within the Borough Leisure Centres.



Date of Next Meeting

Tuesday 4th May 2004 at 6.30 p.m. at Shildon Sunnydale Leisure Centre