Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

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Friday 21 February 2020

On Monday I was honoured to attend our former leader Bob Gibson OBE’s funeral and wake. It was a sad occasion but a fitting send off for Bob, who served the Borough so diligently for more than 30 years. My thoughts are with Bob’s family and friends at this difficult time.

Prior to the funeral I caught up with Margaret Waggott, Assistant Director of Admin, Democratic and Electoral Services, for a briefing and Cabinet pre-agenda meeting. I also met with Neil Mitchell, Private Sector Housing Team Manager, for an update on our ‘targeted action areas’. These action areas help tackle issues associated with poor property management by some private sector landlords within Central Stockton and North Thornaby.

On Tuesday I met with Richard McGuckin, Director of Economic Growth and Development, in preparation for next week’s Place Select Committee meeting. Councillor Nigel Cooke is unable to make the meeting on February 24 due to work commitments, so I am attending in his absence. The agenda next week includes looking at Community Services and Economic Growth and Development Services overview reports.

Later on Tuesday afternoon I joined our Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall and the Council’s Managing Director, Julie Danks, for our regular fortnightly catch up. Getting together every two weeks is a good way to keep up to date with all the latest Borough-wide and Council issues. I have also caught up with other ward councillors throughout the week, helping me understand any issues they may have.

On Thursday I attended our Special Cabinet meeting, where reports were presented to discuss Council plans for the town centre and new office accommodation, as well as the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP). You can remind yourself of the Council’s vision for the town centre by visiting the news section of our website (

After a busy few weeks, today I have taken advantage of a quieter diary to catch up on Council paperwork in the office.

I am looking forward to spending some time with my family at the weekend and we are all hoping for some better weather after the effects of Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis.

I will be keeping a close eye on Middlesbrough’s game away at Barnsley, which is now a crucial fixture after a string of poor results. Boro haven’t won since New Year’s Day and defeat against Luton last week has left the side worryingly looking over their shoulder. Victory over Barnsley could put some much-needed distance between Boro and the relegation zone, so I am keeping my fingers crossed for a positive result.