Monday, November 30, 2009

Rigwood House enjoys its first ever Winter Wonderland

Nearly 200 people attended an event at Rigwood House as it hosted its first ever Winter Wonderland - complete with a polar bear, the Snow Queen's bicycle, trolls and spooky music.

The impressive outdoor show took place in the dimly lit woods surrounding the house, and consisted of various story-telling and performance-based pieces by trolls and tree sprites.
For many, the highlight of the evening was a life-sized polar bear, which is part of a performance by Bjorn and Ursula from Los Kaos. The realistic polar bear is on its way to the Sage Gateshead and will also appear on the Paul O'Grady show in the run up to Christmas.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

View plans for Saltburn Valley Gardens Playground

Plans for a new playground in the Saltburn Valley Gardens will be on view at the town's library on Monday, November 30, from 2pm-5pm, with work due to start within weeks. The Council has received £1.1m from the Government's Playbuilder programme, with the funding from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) via PlayEngland, to complete 11 new play sites by March next year and 12 more by March, 2011. Now the Council has invited The Children's Playground Company Ltd to organise an awareness session for everyone interested in the Saltburn scheme, including the Friends of Saltburn Valley and local schools. Visitors will see the plans for the facility, which will spread from the Cat Nab car park to the Donkey Field, including a zip wire, slides, climbing nets and water-based play. The Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism Councillor Sheelagh Clarke said: "These play areas won't be the conventional type - they are being deliberately designed to offer opportunities for challenging play. So we're looking for some really different concepts."We also want to emphasise we are determined to ensure the play spaces will be designed to enhance the natural settings and environment."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Improvement work at leisure centre

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council is continuing its refurbishment programme for the Borough's leisure centres, lining up major improvement works for Saltburn Leisure Centre. The work is a mix of essential maintenance and improvements to the Centre's two pools, Energy Club and indoor bowling facility. It will mean the temporary closure of the Centre from Monday, November 30 - the last swimming session will be on Sunday, November 29 - reopening on Saturday, January 2. Managing director Paddy Corcoran explained: "We have opted for a December closure because statistics show it is the quietest time of the year. It's also been necessary close the whole building simply because of the volume of work that needs to undertaken and principally because we have to replace the centre's boilers. The work at the Saltburn centre, which opened in November, 1973, will upgrade the swimming pool chemical management system, re-grout both the adult 25m and baby pools and carry out extensive electrical work. It will also replace the bowls carpet in the dedicated bowls hall and improve the temperature controls of the Energy Club, converted from the Centre's squash courts.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Learning Campus officially opened.

Popular author and ex-school inspector Gervase Phinn spent a day at the new Saltburn Learning Campus leading writing workshops before officially opening the £15m building.
His visit marked the completion of the super campus, now home to almost 1,000 pupils, from primary children at Saltburn Primary to secondary students at Huntcliff School. Mr Phinn said: "I am very impressed with what I have seen. The school is cheerful, welcoming and all this has a massive effect on learning. It's an outstanding environment and thoughtfully designed, very modern and will serve the area well for generations to come."

The 500 Huntcliff students saw their new facilities develop on the same site over 15 months before moving in September last year, with all their major requests met - wide corridors, light, airy classrooms, all equipped with interactive white boards and computers.

Headteacher of Huntcliff School Ruth Mayes said: "We moved out of a 50-year-old school in July 2008. We've entered an exciting new era with school buildings fit for the 21st Century and are already feeling the benefit of the superb open spaces and access to ICT."

The 420 primary school pupils crossed the road this September to start lessons in the new building which links the primary school and its 39-place nursery with Huntcliff School and a children's centre with 40 daycare places.

The official opening ceremony saw Gervase Phinn unveil a foundation stone before completing a book-signing session. Mr Phinn then entertained an audience with anecdotes about his work at an evening performance.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A glass is raised...!

The first pint of the inaugural Saltburn Beer Festival has been pulled, with the vicar giving the event his blessing.
The Rev Guy Donegan-Cross had the task of drawing the first ale from the cask as the finishing touches were put to the festival in the hall at Emmanuel Church.
With 22 brands available, beer lovers were in for a treat with special glasses, a speciallycommissioned bottled beer and a display about the pier and other local history.
Many of the beers had an ecclesiastical theme, including Bishop’s Farewell, Monks’ Gold and Matins.
The festival also included live music from Fat Medicine on the first evening and a trio of musicians the following night. The event was held in the church hall in McNay Street.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Development Plans approved

A controversial plan to develop a prominent Victorian building has been approved.
Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council planning committee passed plans by a nine to three majority to build on land surrounding Brockley Hall, part of a conservation area.
A four-storey building containing 22 sheltered apartments will be constructed on the site, while a three-storey extension and single-storey sun lounge will be added to the hall.
The vote was met with exasperation from opponents of the plans who attended the meeting in Marske Leisure Centre.
The proposed development site is opposite the Valley Gardens and the war memorial.
David Knowles, of Saltburn Civic Society Steering Group, said: “At 15m in height, with a blocky construction, the development would dominate the immediate townscape. The design of the building is at odds with its Victorian neighbours. The development will erode Saltburn’s individuality and distinctiveness. This granting of planning permission for one development sets a precedent for subsequent applications, which could further damage the longterm image and prosperity of Saltburn. The open space at Brockley Hall contributes to the unique character of the town, providing an important setting for its historic buildings. We are obviously extremely disappointed. We have to ask who the councillors are representing here. Over 300 letters have been written and a petition with more than 1,000 signatures has been handed in, yet the plans were still approved. The only councillors who rejected the bids were from Saltburn, so what does that tell you? The people of Saltburn do not want this to be built.”
Another Saltburn resident added: “The council says that the new buildings won’t spoil the area surrounding this beautiful hall. I’d like to know how many of them have qualifications in design; they clearly know nothing. But who am I to say, I’m just a resident of Saltburn and clearly that doesn’t count for much.”
After a visit to the site, the chairman of the planning committee, Coun Brian Hogg, summed up the concerns which residents had brought to him.
He attempted to address them, but did concede that the Saltburn Civic Society Steering Group, which had played a large part in the protest, should have been more involved in the process.
In supporting the application, Coun Billy Ayre said: “The Victorian heritage of Saltburn is very important, but what would we be saying if we rejected this? That we can never build in Saltburn, that when buildings deteriorate over time we cannot restore them? We have to move with the times, otherwise what will be left for the future generations of the town?”
The planning committee passed the plans with a number of caveats, which included the forbidding of any windows being made from UPVC and the preservation of a downward pipe on the outside of the hall.

Friday, November 06, 2009

War Memorial at Risk

On the eve of Remembrance Sunday, MP Dr Ashok Kumar called for urgent repairs to be carried out on Saltburn’s war memorial.
Calling on the community, councils and local organisations to join forces to take action he warned that the historic war memorial, which is listed by English Heritage, is described as being officially at risk.
English Heritage says the memorial, near the town’s Glenside, has a “cross with open joints and cracking in its west arm. The surrounding paved area and retaining walls have suffered from subsidence and corrosion is affecting the bronze sculpture.”
The memorial, unveiled in November 1920, two years after the end of the First World War, is an arts and crafts-style obelisk with a bronze sculpture by Sir William Reynolds-Stephens, one of the founder members of the Society of British Sculptors and its president between 1921 and 1929.
Dr Kumar said: “I recently signed a House of Commons early day motion on the need to ensure that we look after our war memorials as monuments to those who have fallen in past wars, and those in the Armed Forces who face danger on active service today. The repair problems facing the Saltburn cenotaph are comparatively minor at the moment, but if they are not addressed, the monument will continue to deteriorate in the salty sea air which I guess is the cause of the corrosion. I feel that, at this time, as we move towards Remembrance Day, all of us representing the local community need to come together to see if we can formulate an action plan to both secure funding for the repairs to the memorial and to start to implement these repairs in time for the 2010 service. To that end, I will be inviting both Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and Saltburn, Marske and New Marske Parish Council to join with me to see if we can devise ideas on how to make this actually happen.”
David Knowles, of Saltburn Civic Society’s steering group, said: “This is the kind of project that the society would be interested in, which is why people are working hard to get the group up and running. There are quite a few similar issues across the town and we would hope to be able to work with English Heritage and the council to protect landmarks.”
Coun Sylvia Szintai, cabinet member for the environment, said: “The council is aware of the need for repairs to a number of war memorials across the borough. We are in discussions with English Heritage about repairs for listed memorials, such as the one in Saltburn, and are looking at ways to fund these.”

Discolouration explained.

The reasons behind the discoloration of water running through a Saltburn stream is to be explained in a number of information boards.
Saltburn Gill Action Group (SGAG) has been working closely with the Environment Agency to develop ways of remedying the problem.
The two interpretation boards aim to inform people about the causes and effects of the ochre colouring to the water.
Jim Wingham, chairman of SGAG, said: "There have always been examples of rust coloured liquid at various points in the area, with the most serious example occurring in Skinningrove. In May 1999 a sudden break out in Saltburn Gill caused the stream to turn red brown in colour.
Since that time the stream has continued to be one of the most heavily polluted in the country. The pollution consists of iron oxide, or ochre, which, while not being poisonous, stifles almost all forms of insect and plant life. So as well as being unsightly, Saltburn Gill has become more or less dead."
The group has spent the last three years working alongside the Environment Agency to draw up plans to solve the problem.
The new boards have been erected in the Cat Nab car park in the town.