Millfield & Thornholme Focus Team
Working hard and getting things done for Millfield, Thornhill, Pallion, Eden Vale and the City Centre.
Local councillors Andrew Wood, Julia Potts and Niall Hodson form the Lib Dem Focus Team in the Millfield and Thornholme area of the city. The keep in touch with residents across the area with their regular 'FOCUS' community newsletter.
Andrew, Julia and Niall work together to run campaigns to improve things around the area and across the city. If you have any issues in your area which you would like to talk about please get in touch.
Councillor Julia Potts
Councillor Andrew Wood
Local news and campaigns
Article: Jul 22, 2021By Niall Hodson
Lib Dem councillor Niall Hodson is raising concerns about the future of an award-winning light art installation at Sunderland's railway station, following the announcement last week that the station will be undergoing major refurbishment work.
Plans announced by Sunderland City Council last week include the reopening the closed platforms, which is currently home to 'Platform 5', a moving illuminated artwork designed and installed by the renowned Jason Bruges Studio.
Article: Jun 18, 2021By Niall Hodson
100% of questions submitted by councillors in Sunderland ahead of a meeting next week have been blocked by Civic Centre bosses - prompting fury from elected representatives on Wearside.
All questions submitted by councillors from all four political groups at Sunderland City Council - Liberal Democrat, Labour, Conservative and UKIP - have been rejected by Civic Centre bosses.
Article: Jan 13, 2021By Niall Hodson
We're backing the Sunderland Echo's 'Shot in the Arm' campaign to make sure that all local pharmacies across Sunderland, Washington, Houghton and Hetton can take part in the COVID vaccine roll out.
Wearside Liberal Democrats leader Niall Hodson said:
"Having one of the new national vaccine hubs at the Centre for Life in Newcastle is fantastic for the North East, but we need to make getting the jab as easy as possible for as many people in Sunderland, Washington, Houghton and Hetton which is why the Shot in the Arm campaign is so important.
Article: Dec 1, 2020By Niall Hodson
Commenting on news that Debenhams are set to close all their stores Sunderland city councillor for Millfield and the City Centre - and Liberal Democrat group leader - Niall Hodson said:
"This is devastating news for all those who work at Debenhams and will be a huge blow for our city centre.
"Debenhams is the only large department store left in Sunderland and has been a key part of our city centre shopping offer. This will leave a huge retail unit at the heart of the town standing empty.
Article: Nov 3, 2020By Niall Hodson
Wearside Lib Dems are calling on the Government to allow local pubs and breweries to sell beer to take away during the lockdown in order to save local businesses from permanent closure.
Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Sunderland City Council and councillor for Millfield Niall Hodson is questioning the Government's plan to ban take-away beer and cider during the four-week closure.
Article: Oct 23, 2020By Niall Hodson
Lib Dem councillors on Wearside say that Nexus' decision to close travel shops and force people to sort passes, permits and travelcards online will make life harder for vulnerable people.
The decision by Tyne and Wear transport body Nexus to close all six of their travel shops across the area - including the office at Park Lane Interchange in Sunderland - should be reversed according to city councillors on Wearside.
Article: Sep 15, 2020By Niall Hodson
Wearside Liberal Democrats are calling for an extension of the Government's furlough scheme until the jobs market is "ready to bounce back" in the wake of "staggering job losses" across the country.
With 8.3% of people now relying on Universal Credit across the Sunderland City Council area the Party claims that extending furlough would help "stop this crisis getting even worse" and protect jobs for the future.
Article: Jul 16, 2020By Niall Hodson
As Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed he is considering moving the House of Commons to York whilst the Palace of Westminster undergoes renovations, opposition Lib Dems in Sunderland have renewed calls for Parliament to be moved to Wearside instead.
The Government had previously suggested moving the House of Lords to York, as part of an effort to reconnect politics with voters outside of London.
Article: Jul 14, 2020By Niall Hodson
Lib Dem councillors on Wearside have written to the Government to ask them to ditch their plans to move Government jobs to York - and choose Sunderland instead.
Senior Cabinet Office minister and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove has confirmed that the Government are looking to move civil service jobs out of central London.
Article: Jul 8, 2020By Niall Hodson
Local councillors in Sunderland have hit out at revelations that the Government are going to end free parking for NHS staff.
During the coronavirus crisis, NHS staff have been able to park at Sunderland Royal Hospital and other hospitals across the region without having to pay.
The charges were dropped so that nurses, cleaners and other hospital staff could get to work without extra charges or hassle.
Article: Jun 25, 2020By Julia Potts
Residents living in controlled parking zones across Sunderland are being reminded to apply for, renew and display parking permits as restrictions come back into force on 1st July.
The permit zones stopped being enforced during the coronavirus lockdown, and applications for new permits were suspended.
Article: Jun 23, 2020By Niall Hodson
A key access route to University Metro station from Thornhill and Ashbrooke is due to re-open after a 6 month closure.
The subway under Durham Road which links University Metro station and Sunderland University's City Campus with nearby Thornhill and Ashbrooke has been out of action since January 2020 after it was hit by a massive arson attack.
Article: Jun 12, 2020By Niall Hodson
Responding to news from the Government Office of Science that the coronavirus reproduction (R) rate may have risen above 1 in regions of England, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Sunderland City Council Niall Hodson said:
"With such a variance in reproduction rate of coronavirus across the UK, we desperately need joined up efforts to deliver an effective test, trace and isolate system.
Article: Jun 9, 2020By Niall Hodson
Decisions about new housing estates and other developments in Sunderland won't take into account local people's views because key decision-making meetings will now be held during the day when people are at work.
Sunderland City Council's Planning and Highways Committee (East) will be responsible for considering planning applications across the Sunderland area - but Labour councillors chairing the committee have decided that meetings will be held during the daytime at 2pm and not in the evening at the usual 5.30pm slot.
Article: Apr 24, 2020By Andrew Wood
The Crematorium in Sunderland may soon have video conferencing capacity to allow people to virtually attend funerals, as Council staff look into the feasibility of setting up the facility.
Having video conferencing facilities installed at Sunderland's Crematorium, situated in Bishopwearmouth Cemetery between the city's Hylton and Chester Roads, would allow people to take part in funeral ceremonies remotely.
Funerals are currently being restricted to close family members only, in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
The move comes after Lib Dem City Councillor Andrew Wood put the suggestion to the Council's chief executive.
Commenting, Millfield and Thornholme Councillor Andrew Wood said:
"Whilst the restrictions on attending funerals are completely understandable, it doesn't make it any easier for those family members and friends who are unable to attend - whether that's due to social distancing rules or because they are unable to leave the house to travel to the crematorium.
"I'm really encouraged that Sunderland Council has taken the idea for video conferencing on board, and hope it is something that can be set up swiftly.
"Whilst of course this isn't the same as being able to attend in person, I hope it can give friends and family some small comfort from being able to view funeral ceremonies remotely."
Article: Jan 29, 2020By Niall Hodson
Commenting on tonight's fire at the historic Simpson Street School building in Deptford, local Lib Dem councillor for Millfield Niall Hodson said:
"A big thank you goes from people in Millfield and across Sunderland for fighting to save this beautiful and important part of Sunderland's history.
"It's one of the last remaining historic buildings in Deptford, and there was a fight to save it from demolition when plans for the new dual carriageway that is currently under construction through the area were drawn up.
Article: Oct 17, 2019By Niall Hodson
A local councillor has questioned the announcement that Sunderland Council wants to build new shops on the site of the former Crowtree Leisure Centre, saying it could be the latest in a string of broken promises about redevelopment of the area.
Liberal Democrat councillor for Millfield and the city centre Niall Hodson said redevelopment of the former Crowtree Leisure Centre site was long overdue.
Article: Sep 26, 2019By Niall Hodson
Local Liberal Democrats have slammed the Tories as "heartless," after revealing Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust paid £6,206,769 in interest on outstanding debt over the last five years.
Former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron warned taxpayers money being spent "lining the Government's coffers instead of training more doctors and nurses" was "an absolute slap in the face to all of us that rely on the NHS".
The figures from the Department for Health and Social Care, uncovered by a Liberal Democrat Freedom of Information request, revealed £607,404,854 worth of interest on outstanding debt was paid by over NHS Trusts to the Department for Health and Social Care in the last five years.
According to calculations by the Liberal Democrats, that money could have paid for 22,000 Nurses, 13,850 Clinical Psychologists or 6,700 Consultants.
The same statistics also show that the NHS Trusts, which service a local area or specialised function to deliver aspects of healthcare, paid almost £63m of interest on outstanding debt in 2013/2014. In 2017/2018, it dramatically rose to over £205m.
The revelation reinforces concerns from the National Audit Office which warns "the underlying financial health in some trusts is getting worse", despite the Government's commitment in the NHS Long Term Plan to "reducing year-on-year the number of trusts and CCGs individually in deficit, so that all NHS organisations are in balance by 2023/24."
The Lib Dem Leader on Sunderland City Council, Niall Hodson said:
"While hard working doctors and nurses are being forced to work with insufficient resources, it's frankly heartless that the Conservatives have starved Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Foundation Trust of over £6 million.
"If the Conservatives were actually giving our hospitals the funding they need then health trusts wouldn't be forced to run a deficit in the first place."
Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron added:
"That taxpayers money is being spent lining the Government's coffers instead of on training more doctors and nurses is an absolute slap in the face to all of us that rely on the NHS.
"People deserve better, and the Liberal Democrats demand better. That is why Liberal Democrats are committed to a transformational investment in public health with a modest penny on income tax."