Elections to the Parish Council were held on Thursday 3 May 2018. The City of Durham Parish Council is made up of 15 elected Councillors representing three wards:
Durham South (1 Councillor)
Councillor Saul Cahill
54 Cotswold Close
Tyne and Wear
Elvet and Gilesgate (6 Councillors)
Councillor John Ashby
7 Leazes Place
John is married to Esther Ashby and they have two daughters. John has spent his adult life employed in town and country planning.
John has a degree of Bachelor of Science (Civil Engineering) from the University of Leeds and of Master of Philosophy (Town Planning) from the University of London. John took up employment with Durham County Council in the Planning Department in 1966. Various posts of greater responsibilities, broadly to do with strategic policy, led in the final decade to Deputy Director for Economic Development and Planning with an additional wide-ranging role on matters of national, regional and local governance.
John retired in 2002 and has been involved in several planning and community organisations – the Durham Green Belt Group, the City of Durham Trust, the St Nicholas Community Forum, the Friends of Old Durham Garden, the Durham Area Action Partnership, Durham City Centre Police and Community Together group and the Labour Party.
John has a particular interest in architecture, heritage and archaeology.
Councillor Victoria Ashfield
The Bridge House
Councillor David Freeman
90 Eshwood View
David has lived in Durham all his life attending Neville’s Cross school, Durham Johnston school and New College, Durham before going to Leeds University. He has worked in local government in Durham and Gateshead as well as in various government department in the region. He is presently a civil servant at HM Passport Office in the city centre where he is also a union representative. For many years he served in the Army Reserve in the 7th (Durham) Battalion the Light Infantry based at Gilesgate.
He has been a city centre councillor since 2003, first on the previous City of Durham Council and since 2005 on Durham County Council where he is a key opposition councillor. He has particularly focused on planning in the city and has for 16 years been on the council’s planning committees where he has a record of opposing the many poor planning applications in the city. His other main focus has been on preserving the city’s green spaces and play areas. Along with his County Council ward colleague Richard Ormerod he was able to ensure all the area’s 5 play areas were improved and at Wharton Park that a £3million renovation took place.
David will be working to ensure that the parish council is a voice for the people of the city against those who wish to see it changed for the worse such as Durham County Council and Durham University and to ensure that the parish council makes Durham a better place to live and work.
Councillor Richard Ormerod
14 Geoffrey Avenue
Richard moved to Durham from Burnley in Lancashire in 1996, and liked it so much he has stayed ever since!
Richard is married to Amanda and together they have two children who attend Durham Johnston and St Margaret’s schools. Richard lives in Durham City, is a vegan and supports all law-abiding animal welfare groups.
Richard’s “day job” is in Northallerton, in home-to-school transport. He previously worked in the telecommunications, printing and music industries.
Richard has been a County Councillor for the Elvet & Gilesgate division since 2013 and before that was a Parish Councillor in Brandon & Byshottles.
Alongside Cllr David Freeman, Richard has worked hard to get improvements to the area, especially to the play areas and the historic city centre.
Richard is a member of the Ethics Committee at the Department of Psychology at Durham University.
More recently, Richard has taken up a role as a governor at St Oswald’s Primary School in Durham, which is the only state school in his Ward.
Richard is keen to protect the historic city of Durham, whilst ensuring that it has a vibrant future. Richard is particularly keen to assist local small businesses wherever he can.
Councillor Mandy Ross
26 Ferens Park
Mandy was born in Amble, Northumberland and was educated at the Duchess’s School in Alnwick. Having graduated from Newcastle University she came to Durham in 1983 to complete
her postgraduate studies. Her first job was a teaching post at Gilesgate Comprehensive and later at the “new” Sixth Form Centre where she taught the very first lesson. She then went on to
become Head of Faculty and Teacher trainer based at Southmoor Academy in Sunderland.
Following a fatal accident outside the School she helped students run a successful media campaign to reduce the speed limit and introduce traffic calming measures in the immediate
vicinity. Since retiring she has maintained an active role in the local community, she has repeatedly challenged a multi-national delivery company over their flagrant littering of our beautiful city.
In her spare time she enjoys Yoga, Pilates, learning Norwegian and Piano lessons. As a cyclist, she is keen to encourage a safe cycling infrastructure.
Mandy is committed to working with the Parish Council to ensure the unique beauty of Durham is protected. She believes this can be achieved by encouraging thoughtful progress in order to build
a safe, clean environment which can be enjoyed by residents, students and visitors alike.
Nevilles Cross Ward (8 Councillors)
Councillor Esther Ashby
7 Leazes Place
Esther came to Durham in 1966, watched her daughters grow up here and has a teenage granddaughter at a local school. She’s been involved in city council and community activities since the mid 70’s when, as a councillor for St Nicholas Ward, she campaigned for city centre pedestrianisation.
Having worked as a lab technician and veterinary nurse she then graduated as a mature student at Portsmouth Technical College and met her husband on a British Council sponsored student tour to the USSR in 1964. She later studied and lectured at New College and strongly believes in the role F.E. can play in changing lives. As a scientist with postgraduate qualifications in remedial and therapeutic education she taught for many years in schools around the County. She was also, for many years, a primary school governor.
Since retiring she’s been a member of Durham Area Action Partnership’s Forum and City Centre Task & Finish Group. She was a founding member and coordinator for several years of Durham Pointers. She is a long-standing member of St Nicholas Community Forum and believes that community groups like this, properly organised and well informed, need to be valued as the bedrock of local democracy.
Councillor Liz Brown
4 George Street
Liz was born and grew up in Durham City, 200m away from where she now lives. Liz went to University in Manchester where she helped set up a restaurant on cooperative lines in the city centre and got involved in the fledgling music scene. After leaving university, Liz went to London and worked at the BBC. Liz returned to Durham in 1985, married her husband and had four children; all of whom went to Neville’s Cross and then the Johnston schools. At this time, Liz was involved with the NCT and running the local playgroup. Liz then went to Houghall College and gained an RHS diploma in horticulture, set up her own gardening business and worked part time at Houghall Garden Centre for a couple of years. Liz then started work as nursery manager at Lionmouth Rural Centre which works with adults with learning difficulties and mental health problems
Liz has always had an interest in local issues, which led her to stand for election as County Councillor in 2017 and then as Parish Councillor in 2018. Liz likes to think that Cllr Elizabeth Scott and she have made a difference in Neville’s Cross and she hopes to continue doing so.
Councillor Roger Cornwell
40 The Avenue
Roger Cornwell was born in South London in 1947, and moved to Durham in 1972. Three years later he and his partner Jean bought the house in The Avenue where they still live today.
A computer professional, he has worked for Northumberland County Council and BT, and was an active trade union member at a local level throughout his working life, becoming his union’s representative on the Northern TUC. He had a long spell as a lay representative on Social Security Appeal Tribunals till these were abolished.
In 1998 he was made redundant and decided to use his accumulated computer experience and become a website designer. This went well enough for Jean to be able to join him, and they now run around 55 websites, mostly for local small publishers and writers, some of them quite well known.
A member of the City of Durham Trust for the past 30 years, in the mid-nineties he was active in campaigning against a Durham western bypass, and in successful campaigns for a Durham Green Belt. He was also active in the Ramblers. He now chairs the Crossgate Community Partnership and the Durham City Neighbourhood Plan Working Party.
Councillor Alan Doig (Vice-Chair)
4 St Johns Road
Alan Doig was brought up in Castle Eden, outside Durham, and completed a postgraduate course in Durham University’s Politics Department. In 2001, he came back to live in the City where his family still lived. He taught to the University of Teesside and holds an honorary appointment at the Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University. He has been a Board member of the Standards Board for England and still works in the area of public ethics. He is Trustee of the Nevilles Cross Community Association and is currently the Vice Chair of the Parish Council and chair of its Finance Committee.
Councillor Jonathan Elmer
Jonathan has lived in the Durham area for more than 20 years and is father of two children, both of whom attend Durham Johnston School. During this period, he has worked as Countryside Manager for the old Sedgefield Borough Council, Sustainable Development Manager for the old Durham City Council, then as Policy Team Leader for Durham County Council. He left DCC in 2013 as he felt disillusioned by the direction the new authority was taking. Following this, Jonathan set up a company called Democratise Ltd, dedicated to increasing the levels participation in decision making.
Jonathan now works as a freelance ecologist and also works for the Green Party of England and Wales as Field organiser for the North East and East Midland regions. He is a musician playing trombone, guitar and concertina and enjoys playing in a band. He is also a keen naturalist specialising in UK botany and spends much of his time camping / rambling on the lookout for interesting plants and animals. Jonathan cares deeply about environmental and social justice and works hard to create progress in these areas in Durham and further afield.
Councillor Grenville Holland
23 Albert Street
Councillor Carole Reeves
27 Nevilledale Terrace
Carole has worked in publishing libraries and as an A-level languages teacher. Since retiring, Carole has worked as a magistrate and helped to set up the Durham Branch of ‘Keep our NHS Public’. Carole is a governor of the County Durham and Darlington NHS Trust where she is a member of the Strategy Committee. As a Parish Councillor, Carole sits on the planning, personnel and licensing committees.
Councillor Elizabeth Scott (Chair)
Relly Mill Farm
Elizabeth Scott is the Chair of the Parish Council. Elizabeth has represented the Neville’s Cross Ward on the County Council since 2017 and was elected as a Parish Councillor is May 2018.
Elizabeth sits on the Personnel, Finance and Business Committee of the Parish Council. Her professional background is in economic development and she currently runs her own business specialising in emotional wellbeing.
She has lived in Durham for most of her life and currently lives on a small farm on the outskirts of Durham City with her husband and four children. She is currently a Governor at the Durham Johnston school and is the past Chair of the Friends of St Margaret’s school.
Elizabeth is passionate about Durham and wants to see the city become a better place to live and work and is keen to see the local economy thrive. She is also keen to support local organisations who are making a difference in the lives of Durham’s residents and especially those who support the most vulnerable in society.