Reports from our County Councillors

Posted on 02nd September 2010 | in Community

Worrying times…

The concern over the impact of cuts across the public sector is growing and these are very difficult times for anyone involved in local government. We now know that cuts of the order of £40 million are expected between now and April 2012. Once we have the details of the new Government’s spending review in October the picture will be clearer. Something like 1 in 7 staff who currently work for the County could face redundancy. What that will do to the families involved, to our services and to the wider economy of Northumberland is frightening. It is a tribute to the staff that they are continuing to work under such strain.

A new taxi token scheme came in to force on July 1st. I have spoken to officers about the operation of the new scheme. At the time of the reorganisation only Blyth Valley and Wansbeck still had a taxi token scheme and the remnant of that scheme was threatened in this year’s budget. As a result of public pressure a new scheme was introduced. This will be county wide, but the budget is half what the old scheme was to cover the whole county rather than two districts. The criteria are much tougher and the budget is cash limited. The scheme obviously provides a service for those not able to use buses; I have a copy of the form and the criteria which I am happy to pass on to anyone who is interested.

I attended the presentation of awards to youngsters in the Amble police area who had been nominated by their schools as good citizens. This was the brainchild of Darin Fawcett; it was good to be there and to be reminded that the vast majority of our youngsters make a good contribution to their schools and communities.
On a personal note, by the time you read this I hope to be well on the way to recovery following an operation. On medical advice I will not be attending meetings or holding surgeries until the autumn and for once I intend to do what I am told! I very much appreciate the help and encouragement I have received in recent weeks and I know how lucky we are to have the medical services we have and to live in such a caring community.

Robert Arckless 01665 711938 Robert.Arckless99@northumberland.gov.uk

I am pleased to report that the new extra high netting for the Amble Welfare Park to prevent balls going over the Acklington Road is now with the planning authorities for final approval and hopefully will be erected soon. I helped sponsor this with funds available to me from the County Council.

The local police are also pleased that the crime rate this summer in Amble is substantially reduced and in particular anti- social behaviour is reported as being very low indeed, I think you will agree that is very good news for the town. I believe that the excellent work of the youth organisations in Amble has made a positive contribution to these improvements.

Councillor Arckless and I have promised funds from our members small schemes to carry out upgrading work on the informal lay-bys on Rotary Way at the north end of Amble to create a much needed more formal area for residents and visitors to park and enjoy the view of the estuary of the Coquet and its wild life. It will take some time for plans to be formalised and agreed but I expect that the work will be completed by the spring of 2011.

I am aware of some problems being encountered by local businesses over delays in the purchase of land on the Industrial estate and I have made it my business to exert pressure on the relevant departments at the County Council. I understand that by the time this edition of the Ambler is printed the arrangements for the purchases will have been completed.

As ever I am available to you on 0755414933 and by email jeffrey.watson@northumberland.gov.uk

Jeff Watson

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