Elvet & Gilesgate Ward

We are proud of what the Parish Council has been able to achieve since its creation in 2018 while not imposing any increase in the precept.

Victoria Ashfield as chair of the Environment Committee has:

  • led on abolishing the use of diesel fuels in the Market Place;
  • campaigned to improve Air Quality;
  • supported e-bike deliveries from the Indoor Market;
  • supported the County Council’s bus station proposals to make transport healthier and safer;
  • led on getting 300 trees and 7,000 bulbs planted; and
  • worked to have the Council committed to being carbon neutral by 2030.

John Ashby as vice-chair of the Planning Committee has helped to:

  • comment on the County Durham Plan which has now been passed and gives us much more control over undesirable development in the City;
  • create the Neighbourhood Plan which is up for referendum on Thursday 6 May – please vote YES to make it the extra local planning protection for the Parish;
  • support planners and landlords to develop accommodation above shops to reduce rent costs to businesses; and
  • work with the County Council, the Students Union and landlords to provide a minimum guaranteed quality for rented houses and to improve the environment for everyone.

Both have enthusiastically supported activities of other Committees and the full Council such as:

  • investing in city-managed Neighbourhood Wardens to respond immediately to issues;
  • cleaning up pavements in North Road and Claypath and the gardens of socially managed flats;
  • creating Christmas and business frontages awards to brighten and celebrate the city in winter;
  • taking local democracy into local schools where we have held Council meetings;
  • funding the re-cycling of “hard-to-recycle” items though all our schools; and
  • investing in a project to reduce single use plastics.

Victoria Ashfield

I have lived in this ward since 1993. My children went to school in this City and I loved the continuity of education which inspired them to go into higher education.

I was thrilled to be elected as a Parish Councillor in 2018 to try to improve our city. I have worked with many residents’ groups and understand that what we all want is for a safe and peaceful environment and a clean and green city and well-planned developments which will be enabled if the Neighbourhood Plan is accepted by the referendum.

On the Parish Council we all work cross-party as we all have the good of the city at heart and I am proud of the achievements we have made in our first term. 

John Ashby

I am John Ashby, married to Esther and lucky enough to have lived in Durham City for the past 55 years.   

I was grateful to be elected to the new City of Durham Parish Council in 2018 because I wanted to help be a voice for Durham City and to seek a balance between city centre activities and residents’ quality of life.   

I believe that the Council has been remarkably wide-ranging and innovative in tackling many of the detailed local issues in the City. 

We have been a harmonious set of Parish Councillors, and I hope to be allowed to continue working on your behalf.   

I especially ask that you vote yes in the Neighbourhood Plan referendum on 6 May.

John Lowe

I spent my working life in adult education with my final post being Academic Registrar at New College Durham.

I was a trade union representative and elected national president in 2005.  I’ve lived in Durham City since 1989 and have been very involved in local residents’ groups including the Area Action Partnership, Durham University Residents Forum, Sidegate Residents’ Association and the City of Durham Trust which I currently chair.

I played a very active role in the consultations about the County Durham Plan and even more so in the preparation of the Durham City Neighbourhood Plan.  My main reason for standing in this election is to help the Parish Council to take the Plan forward.   In particular, I want to ensure that the voices of residents are heard when planning issues arise. 

Declan Merrington

In 2017 I began volunteering with my college in local schools to raise aspirations in state schools.  

Since 2018 I have been Lead Mentor, organising and taking charge of the scheme. I’ve also been involved as part of an advisory board for Durham University, advising how the University can be more inclusive to first-generation, state-schooled and local students.  

In November 2020 I was successfully elected to the University Labour Club Exec.  Previously I have been elected to roles such as First-Generation Scholar Ambassador, as well as the undergraduate rep for my college. 

I feel as someone local to the North East, and also a University student, I would provide a refreshing face to the Parish Council and help to bridge the gap between locals and students.