Whinfield Residents Association

(Incorporating The Friends Of Beech Wood)


Residents came together on Sunday 17th April 2016 to give Beech Wood a good clean up as part of the 'Big Spring Clean Event' in Darlington. Organised by Whinfield Residents Association incorporating Friends of Beech Wood, and supported by Darlington Borough Council, Volunteers gathered on a glorious Sunday morning and picked up litter in Beech Wood as part of the litter pick event. In total 13 bags of rubbish were collected on the day by our volunteers.

WRA would like to say a very big thank you to all those who took part and supported this initiative. Beech Wood was the main focus of our litter pick on this occasion, but litter was also collected from parts of Barmpton Lane, Whinbush Way, Galloway and the area around Dunrobin Close. A special thanks is due to Pippa Smaling, Parks & Countryside Ranger at DBC, for all her help and advice, and to Cllr Helen Crumbie for both her support and participation.

Some may argue that we pay our taxes and it should be the council's responsibility to pick up our rubbish. However, with the current level of cuts to public spending many local authorities are having to make tough decisions. Unfortunately councils are having to focus on their statutory obligations which may be sometimes just performed to a minimum standard. It is important that our community takes action to think of ways of raising awareness to try to keep our area clean and tidy for everybody to enjoy.

With Darlington Borough Council's proposed cuts to street cleaning throughout our town the current level of street cleaning we enjoy (which includes litter picking, the removal of rubbish the cutting of grass in public areas) is to be dramatically cut or stopped altogether. It is Whinfield Residents Association's aim, therefore, to organise litter picks in our ward on a more regular basis and we would like to reach out and ask for volunteers to help support this initiative.

Litter picking events not only keep our community clean but they can also go a long way in creating a great feeling of community spirit and can help unite our great neighbourhood. Please look out for future organised litter pick events on our website or contact us using our email address for information regarding litter picks.


Microchipping is the best way to be re-united with your dog should they become lost or stolen and from April 6th 2016 it is now a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped and contact details kept up-to-date in England, Scotland & Wales. The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2016 will be enforced by the police, local authorities, community support officers and any other person which the Secretary of State may authorise. If a keeper of a dog is served with a notice to have the dog chipped, they will be given 21 days to do this.  If they do not comply, they will be liable to pay a 500 fine. If you buy a puppy from April 2016 it should be microchipped by the time it is 8 weeks old. As well as chipping, the new law requires you to ensure your contact address and telephone number are correct and up-to-date with the approved database organisation. Failure to do so, and served with a 21 day notice, will also mean you are liable to a 500 fine per dog. It is also still a legal requirement for your dog to wear a collar and tag with your contact details on when in public.

The process of getting your dog microchipped is a quick and easy procedure and does not hurt the dog.  The microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and contains a unique code that matches up with your pet details.  The chip is inserted under the dog's skin, usually around the scruff of the neck, using a needle and takes seconds. Your dog can then be checked for the microchip using a handheld electronic scanner.  When this is waved over the dog's neck, the scanner will recognise the information held inside the chip. Most vets offer a microchipping service and prices range from 10-30. Some dog organisations such as Dogs Trust do offer free microchipping at their centres, but as a charity they appreciate any donations. For further information contact Darlington Dogs Trust at Sadberge, tel (01325) 333114. Other organisations occasionally hold events offering microchipping for free or for a reduced cost - for details of your nearest event visit chipmydog.org. The change in the law will only apply to dogs, however it is still a great idea to have all your pets microchipped as it is the best way of you being reunited with them as quickly as possible should they become lost or stolen.

        (Whinfield Residents Association is not linked to any organisations referred to in this article.)                 Roger

A Litter Pick was held on Sunday 16th October 2016 to tidy up Springfield Park. A great effort by WRA members resulted in six large bags of mixed rubbish being removed.


An award from retiring Town Mayor, Cllr.Tom Nutt, has been conferred for an outstanding voluntary contribution to the local community by a resident.

The recipient of the award, David Currie, from Harrowgate Hill, has for many years devoted much of his own time to single-handedly picking up litter and other rubbish in many parts of the north east of Darlington. The excellent work undertaken by this unsung hero has resulted in cleaner streets and open spaces for everyone to enjoy, and until now has been largely taken for granted.

In recognition of his magnificent achievement, a framed certificate from the Mayor was presented to David Currie by the Chair of Whinfield Residents Association, David Milner, during a short ceremony at the Annual General Meeting of WRA on 23rd November 2016. Members who were present greeted the presentation of the award with acclamation and a standing ovation in appreciation of David Currie's efforts on behalf of the community.

David Currie (R) with David Milner, Chair of WRA

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Whinfield Residents Association has recently learned of two possible opportunities for improvements that residents may want to carry out in Beech Wood in 2017.

The first would be to plant wild flower seeds donated by Friends of the Earth in the wood and could involve children from the local school. The second involves the possibility of obtaining a grant from Banks Renewables, who are building the wind farm above Barmpton. They are making a large sum of money available for local groups to carry out environmental improvements, and it looks as if Whinfield is to be included in the area covered by the scheme. Beech Wood would seem to be an ideal candidate as a project for improvements that people would like to see.

Both of these possibilities are an exciting opportunity to improve our local area, but of course it is fully appreciated that the wishes of local residents living near the wood must also be represented. Friends of Beech Wood members, and anyone else with an interest, your help is needed if full advantage is to be taken of these opportunities. Ideally, WRA needs you to participate in an active Beech Wood Sub-committee in order to come forward with ideas and organise and manage these projects, which also involves having at least one member co-opted to the main WRA Committee.

Please spread the word and come along to the next WRA meeting to lend your support - visit the Meetings page of this website for details of when this is. WRA would also love to hear from you if you would like to email us at info@whinfieldresidents.co.uk .

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