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Some of Durham County Council's park play areas are reopening from Saturday 11th July. The Parish Council has agreed to start re-opening fenced playgrounds subject to getting a playground safety inspector from Durham County Council to have a look at the play facilities making sure the children will be safe when using apparatus and playing in the area. The Association of Play Industries' (API) position on the practicalities of the re-opening of public playgrounds as expected by the public is that certain aspects of the guidance, specifically the potential to implement booking systems and the possibility of moving items of equipment, is largely unfeasible. They believe that that there are two fundamental points:

1. The need for a COVID-19 Risk Assessment (RA) approach is an absolute requirement. However, the RA must consider the practicalities of operating an open use play facility. The outputs and conclusions of the RA remain the responsibility of the operator.
2. The guidance is not mandatory, and it is for each operator to make their own judgements on what is practical to implement whilst keeping the risk to a minimum.

The Government's public health guidelines are a considerable challenge not only to Fishburn Parish Council but all operators of these facilities. The Parish Council also needs to be aware of its duty of care both to the public and any staff and contractors. The Parish Clerk is therefore RECOMMENDING that a pragmatic approach with clear information to the public about risks is followed. This is subject to the Parish Council’s insurance company agreeing. It is not feasible for Fishburn Parish Council to provide the following:

  • Provision of Stewards
  • Arrange a booking system
  • Relocate equipment for social distancing
  • Clean equipment daily
  • Provide cleaning equipment
  • Create entrance and exits – two fenced play areas have only one gate.

Fishburn Parish Council will do the following in relation to the re-opening of play areas:
1. Carry out risk assessment including COVID-19 risks
2. Prior to opening carry out safety checks on all sites [Multi Use Games Area - MUGA - is excluded at present]
3. Prior to opening arrange cleaning and repairs where necessary
4. Produce signage/poster (example attached on main page).


MEASURES TO ENFORCE responsible dog ownership in public spaces will be set in place for another three years, following overwhelming support during a public consultation. Durham County Council introduced the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) on dog control in June 2017, which was valid for three years. The following were deemed an offence under the order:

· Failing to pick up dog mess

· Allowing a dog to stray

· Failing to put a dog on a lead when directed to do so by an authorised officer

· Allowing a dog into any fenced-off play area named in the PSPO

From June 2017 to May 2020, there was a 32% reduction in stray dog reports, a 45% reduction in dog fouling, and an 18% reduction in dog fouling warden investigations. 

Earlier this year, the local authority opened a consultation on the extension of the PSPO to address issues of dog fouling, public safety and strays. This came back with 98% of respondents thinking an extension was a good idea. Parish councils were also consulted on the extension, with a small number asking for a variation for their locality to include fenced off play areas which were not included in the PSPO. The PSPO measures have been extended until May 2023. 

Anyone caught flouting the rules can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice by council neighbourhood wardens and police community support officers.

Find out more, including advice for dog owners, penalty information, and more about the council’s #FollowOurLead campaign, at: www.durham.gov.uk/dogcontrol


FISHBURN PARISH COUNCIL has voted to donate £100.00 towards Fishburn Band's fundraising project to raise £900.00 for local care homes, which is on YouTube and Facebook. The link is:


"Fishburn Band, based in the village of Fishburn, County Durham, are - like all music ensembles - currently unable to rehearse or give concerts due to the Covid-19 crisis. As a band firmly rooted in our local community and proud of the great work that goes on in our area, we wanted to do our bit to raise money for local causes that are working so hard to cope with this unprecedented situation.

"At this time of year the band would normally be working hard towards a number of contests, as well as a series of summer concerts and engagements in Fishburn and across the North East more widely. Instead, we hope that you our friends, followers and supporters, will join us in helping to raise much needed funds for local causes on this, our JustGiving page. Then, when we can finally make music together again, we will host a concert in honour of these causes, where money raised - along with proceeds from the concert - will be donated.

"Fishburn and the surrounding area is serviced by a number of care homes, all of which have had to bear the brunt of the Covid-19 crisis and could do with a helping hand at the moment. Your donation will go towards helping these homes continue their work, caring for the elderly and vulnerable, including medical care and wellbeing activities.

"We are pleased to present our first distance banding video - Friend Like Me - produced in honour of our fundraising cause. If you enjoy the video, please consider donating!

"Fishburn Band work at the heart of the local community, giving numerous concerts each year in the village, performing at the annual Christmas tree light switch on, and representing the Fishburn banner at the Durham Miners' Gala. The sound of the band rehearsing can be heard throughout the village on Wednesday and Sunday evenings. The band also perform regularly in the surrounding area of Sedgefield, across County Durham and North East, as well as representing the RMT Union nationally.

"In honour of all frontline workers, Fishburn Band also published a thank you video, featuring the piece 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' performed by Michael Franey (the band's solo horn player) on their recent CD 'One Voice'. You can view the video here: https://www.facebook.com/fishburnband/videos/914367942327055/

"We miss making music together and, whilst we can't wait to get back to the band room, we hope that raising these funds will go some way towards helping the community we love through this crisis".


DURHAM COUNTY COUNCIL'S Head of Community Protection (Regeneration and Local Services) has provided a further update [no. 9] as follows:

Dear resident, Following our previous communication regarding the sinkhole in Clervaux Terrace, I am writing with a further update.

I am delighted to say that the works to reinstate the highway at the front of the properties and repair the back street following the completion of the works by Northumbrian Water are now complete. Works have been completed with social distancing guidance in mind.

We are aware that there is a small amount of fencing works which will need to be completed, but we may not be able to look at completing this work under current government guidance. We will look to complete this as the guidance changes and when it is safe for us to do so.

With regards the repair schedule for house numbers 7 and 8, both properties are secure and the insurers of those properties will look to recommence works when the current government restrictions are lifted.

Should you have any queries, please contact us at fishburnsinkhole@durham.gov.uk.

How do I keep informed?

We will distribute further communications to local residents when we have an update and publish information at www.durham.gov.uk/clervaux.

Thank you

We understand that the sinkhole has caused a lot of local disruption and concern and would like to thank you for your continued cooperation and patience during this difficult period.

Who do I contact if I have concerns?

The overall coordinator for the recovery project is Joanne Waller who can be contacted by emailing fishburnsinkhole@durham.gov.uk or Tel: 03000 261000

10 May 2020ANNUAL REPORT 2020

THE ANNUAL REPORT on what the council has accomplished in the preceding year is normally presented in the month of May at the Annual Parish Meeting, which will not take place this year due to the current coronavirus crisis. The Annual Report  is presented to the electorate by the Chairman of the Parish Council via the website:

The Parish Council has worked throughout the past year to provide residents with the best services possible at a local level. A lot of what we have achieved has been regularly contained in the Fishburn News, circulated free of charge.

Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 issues, parish council meetings are not being held until further notice as members follow the Government’s guidance on the containment of the coronavirus pandemic. Important decisions are being taken remotely. With all the tragic things that are happening in the world and in light of the Government’s introduction of stringent lockdown measures, all events which could lead to a build-up of numbers of people, either as participants or spectators, have been cancelled. The plan for a beacon on the village green to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, or Victory in Europe Day, has been put on hold, temporarily paused, until such time as life returns to some form of normality. The Trustees of Northumbria in Bloom have understandably decided to suspend the 2020 competition and Fishburn’s entry has been carried forward to next year. The second phase of improvement works and gravelling to damaged graves at Fishburn cemetery will commence as soon as such work can start after current restrictions are lifted.

We continuously monitor our expenditure, and examine very closely how and where we spend money. Every project is considered and evaluated in terms of cost-effectiveness, and benefit to the community at large. We have agreed a budget for the financial year 2020/2021 and decided that the current tax levied from residents (the precept) should be raised from £80,359 to £89,000 this year to maintain our current plan of community priorities and to develop several future projects to improve the village.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all councillors, past and present, for giving their time freely in an effort to contribute to the well-being of our village. We currently have one vacancy in the office of councillor.

There has been an enormous effort and a coming together of volunteer organisations within our communities helping residents and organisations deal with issues over this period of closures and isolation as a result of the continuing threat of coronavirus. Over the coming months it is vital that, as a community, we help each other as best we can to get through this time of anxiety, uncertainty, and potential loneliness. Please think about your neighbours and check whether they need help, especially the elderly and vulnerable and those who live alone.

Councillor Andrew Pearson - Chairman of the Parish Council
14th May 2020

09 May 2020VJ DAY 75

VICTORY IN JAPAN was a more muted celebration, in contrast to the jubilation of Victory in Europe Day. Saturday 15th August 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of Victory over Japan Day – the end of all hostilities in the Second World War. While peace arrived in Europe in May 1945, those fighting in the Far East continued until Japan's surrender in the wake of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs.

The Second World War finally came to an end on 15th August 1945, with Prime Minister Clement Atlee's announcement: "The last of our enemies is laid low".

King George VI addressed the nation from a balcony at Buckingham Palace and streets across the nation were filled with people singing, cheering, dancing in scenes which echoed the declaration of peace in Europe three months earlier. Bonfires were lit, fireworks sent soaring into the sky and historic buildings floodlit as the whole country celebrated the news that their remaining troops would soon be returning home.


Due to Covid-19 issues and following the Government’s guidance on the containment of the Coronavirus pandemic, all fenced playgrounds are closed and the public strongly advised not to use the equipment at unfenced sites. The outer gate at the football fields will also remain locked until further notice. This is necessary to ensure social distancing, limit the spread of coronavirus, and protect the health and safety of the community. Making children keep to the recommended two metres distance in a busy playground or play area is difficult and the play equipment gets used by a large number of small hands.


Fishburn cemetery was temporarily closed  to members of the public during the current emergency, except for funerals and burials, following the Government’s Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020.

Speaking at the daily Downing Street press briefing this afternoon [Saturday 18th April 2020], the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, said that he has asked councils to keep open or indeed to reopen cemeteries and graveyards not for people to congregate but to make that private visit and seek solace at the grave of someone they have loved or to privately lay flowers. He said these are small mercies that can make a difference to make these times more liveable and more humane. The main gates at Fishburn cemetery will  be re-opened.

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