Elections to the Parish Council were held on Thursday 6 May 2021. The City of Durham Parish Council is made up of 15 elected Councillors representing three wards.
A copy of the Council’s Committee Membership and roles within each Committee can be found here.
A copy of the Council’s list of adopted representatives on outside organisations can be found here.
Durham South (1 Councillor)
Councillor John Ashby
7 Leazes Place
John is married to Esther and together they have two daughters. John spent his adult life employed in town and country planning.
John holds the degrees 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 admits to a particular interest in architecture, heritage and archaeology – his daughters have been dragged around many ancient sites in mainland Greece and the islands, particularly Crete.
Elvet and Gilesgate (6 Councillors)
Councillor Helen Weston
3 Quarryheads Lane
Helen Weston has lived in the City of Durham for over 40 years and within the parish boundary since 1984. She has two daughters who were educated in Durham, Edinburgh and Cambridge who chose to return to the North East and both live and teach in Newcastle. She also has three grandchildren.
She is married to Michael and they live in Elvet.
Helen was appointed lecturer at New College Durham in 1967 and taught in schools and college for 12 years, moving to part-time and supply work once her children were born. She has served as a governor in the primary and secondary sector and enjoyed being part of a learning community. She has also enjoyed being a member of governing bodies of both primary and secondary schools, and also St. Mary’s College.
Helen believes that sport is vital for improving the health and well-being of both young and old and would like to see the city active in promoting and protecting sports facilities. Still an active sportswoman herself, she has served on the North East Sports Board.
On the parish council Helen sees her role as responding to the needs of local business, the University and the local residents working as a single community, while balancing the interests of all. She believes that our city must meet the challenge needed to thrive in a post-Covid world.
Councillor Helen Weston currently sits on the following Committees on the Parish Council: Finance Committee
Councillor Carole Lattin
1 Malvern Villas,
Carole came to Durham as a university student – and liked it so much, never left. She lived in several areas of the city, raised children here, and worked locally – at New College, and other nearby colleges. She spent 8 years at North Tyneside College as Deputy Principal and 4 years as a national college inspector. She trained as a counsellor, volunteering with Relate and for the last 20 years worked as a counsellor in local GP surgeries. She was elected a Parish Councillor for Belmont 4 years ago, is Vice Chair of Gilesgate Residents Association and on local Patient Participation groups. Her passions are the environment and the health of her community. She is an active member of The Friends of Pelaw Wood. During Covid, she worked with Gilesgate Covid Volunteers, supporting the establishment of the well-being table and food collections.
Councillor Carole Lattin currently sits on the following Committees on the Parish Council: Planning and Licensing Committee and Environment Committee.
Councillor Robert Hanson
St Anne`s Court
Rob came to Durham for the University and stayed for the people and their city. He has lived here for the best part of a decade, teaching politics, economics and ethics at the university, whilst getting his doctorate, and volunteering for the NHS. He got into local politics because he wanted to do good, not just write and teach about it. During his time here as a student and a lecturer, he has volunteered by mentoring individuals struggling with grief, anxiety, and depression, and worked on various programmes designed to make the university work for the city and its people. At the Council Rob is particularly interested in enhancing the future of our high streets, local businesses, and the environment (in particular the river banks).
Councillor Robert Hanson currently sits on the following Committees on the Parish Council: Finance Committee.
Councillor Victoria Ashfield
The Bridge House
Victoria was brought up and went to school in the northeast before taking a first degree at Birmingham University and a master’s degree at Warwick University.
She taught modern languages in the Midlands until 1984 when she moved into Local Government, working first as a school inspector and then, from 1990 until 2003, as a senior officer for Durham Local Education Authority. After retiring from education (as Director for Education for Cumbria County Council) she returned to Durham and re-qualified (at the age of 60) as a Psychotherapist and Counsellor, and worked for several years at Low Newton Women’s Prison.
In 2019, outraged by the May government’s £2bn “bribe” to the DUP, she decided to take political action and stood as a Labour Councillor when the City of Durham Parish Council was inaugurated. She has a passion for social justice and for the environment, and is active locally in a range of groups which are committed to fighting climate change.
She chaired the Environment Committee in the Council’s first term and is currently its vice-chair. She is also a member of the Planning and Licensing Committee and the Finance Committee.
Councillor Victoria Ashfield currently sits on the following Committees on the Parish Council: Planning and Licensing Committee, Business Committee, Environment Committee and Finance Committee.
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 David Freemen currently sits on the following Committees on the Parish Council: Environment, Finance Committee and Business Committee.
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 – one of whom attends Durham Johnston School and the other at University. Richard lives in Durham City, is a vegan and supports all law-abiding animal welfare groups.
Richard’s “day job” is in Redcar as a local government researcher. 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 served as a member of the Ethics Committee at the Department of Psychology at Durham University.
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 Richard Ormerod currently sits on the following Committees on the Parish Council: Business Committee.
Neville’s 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 Esther Ashby currently sits on the following Committees on the Parish Council: Planning and Licensing Committee and Business Committee.
Councillor Liz Brown
c/o City of Durham Parish Council
Office 3 D4.01d
8 Millennium Pl
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 Liz Brown currently sits on the following Committees on the Parish Council: Environment Committee and Finance Committee.
Councillor Nicola Brown
7 Front Street
Nicola was born and brought up in Neville’s Cross, attending Nevilles Cross Primary and Durham Johnson School. Since leaving school Nicola has worked in the hospitality industry, starting off as a waitress at the Pump House (as was) in Shincliffe and then moving on to manage the Head of Steam in Durham and latterly Whitechurch on Church Street.
Councillor Nicola Brown currently sits on the following Committees on the Parish Council: Planning and Licensing Committee and Business Committee.
Councillor Alan Doig
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 Neville’s Cross Community Association.
Councillor Alan Doig currently sits on the following Committees on the Parish Council: Finance Committee, Planning and Licensing Committee and Personnel Committee.
Councillor Grenville Holland
23 Albert Street
Councillor Dr Grenville Holland is married to Olive and has lived in Durham City for 55 years. They have 3 sons and 3 grandchildren. He was educated at Oxford and Yale and joined the staff of the Department of Geology (now Earth Sciences) in 1965. Coupled to his teaching and administrative duties, for the next 40 years Grenville’s research enabled him to work with NASA on the Apollo Space programme analysing Moon rocks (1967-77) and his wider research interests took him to several overseas destinations: the West Indies, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, India, Kashmir and Hungary. He was also invited by the students to become President of Durham University Cricket Club and for 34 years he mentored over 50 Test and county cricketers including 2 England captains, Hussain and Strauss, while their teams won national and international awards. In 1981, when working in Sri Lanka, he became a founder member of the SDP. In 1987 he was elected as a District councillor for the Framwelgate ward and has been a councillor ever since, serving with the County Council (Neville’s Cross division) from 2009 until 2017 and Durham City Parish Council since its inception in 2018. In 2008 he was made Mayor of Durham City.
Councillor Grenville Holland currently sits on the following Committees on the Parish Council: Planning and Licensing Committee, Business Committee and Personnel Committee.
Councillor Elizabeth Scott
Relly Mill Farm
Elizabeth has represented the Neville’s Cross Ward on the County Council since 2017 and was elected as a Parish Councillor in May 2018.
Elizabeth’s 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.
Councillor Elizabeth Scott currently sits on the following Committees on the Parish Council: Personnel Committee.
Councillor Rupert Friederichsen
37 Nevilledale Terrace
Rupert arrived in Durham with his partner Claire and their recently-born first daughter at the end of 2008. His second daughter was born here and through the two kids he has been connected to two of the great schools Durham has to offer. Over the past ten years he worked as a manager in the Newcastle-based global peace education charity CISV International. Having moved to the UK in 2005 whilst finalizing his PhD, he went on to teach Development Geography at Sheffield University (2007-2008) and Environmental Management at Manchester Metropolitan University (2008-2010), followed by tutoring a politics module at Durham University (2010-2011). He completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at Hohenheim University, Germany, from where he also gained his PhD based on fieldwork carried out in rural uplands Vietnam. He is honoured and thrilled to be elected to the City of Durham Parish Council by the residents of the Neville’s Cross ward and is committed to help make Durham city live up to the challenges of the climate emergency, conserving its natural and historic beauty and making it a welcoming and thriving city that works for all.
Councillor Rupert Friederichsen currently sits on the following Committees on the Parish Council: Environment Committee.
Councillor Susan Walker
86 Hastings Avenue
Susan came to Durham in 1984 to study Chemistry, it was here that she met her husband and raised her three sons.
Susan’s working life has been as a researcher at various universities followed by a stint as a stay at home mum. She went on to become a teacher in science and maths for many years, before moving onto a portfolio career including tutoring and acting as a funeral celebrant. This has allowed her to spend more time to voluntary work. Susan is currently a trustee of North East Humanists and of Neville’s Cross Residents Association, she is also an active volunteer for the new Merryoaks Community Hall. In her spare time she enjoys gardening and grows many of her own vegetables.
Susan’s interests on the Parish Council are the environment, planning and licensing she is committed to maintaining Durham as a wonderful environment to live and to work.
Councillor Susan Walker currently sits on the following Committees on the Parish Council: Planning and Licensing Committee and Environment Committee.