Reports from our County Councillors: Nov/Dec ’10

Posted on 03rd December 2010 | in Heritage & Tourism , Northumberland County Council

Councillor Jeff Watson

As I write this report on Remembrance Sunday I cannot help but think about our armed forces serving now and in the past. The amount of people who turned out in Amble today to pay their respects at the wreath laying service was a credit to the town and proves that residents appreciate what our services do for us.

The County Council is now deeply engrossed in trying to put together a budget that meets Central Government requirements and maintains front line services. There is no doubt that it will be very difficult to come up with solutions which are fair and acceptable to the political parties and council tax payers. I will as usual take a non -party view and do my best to ensure that the interests of residents of the Amble area are taken fully into account before any decisions are made. To that end I am attending discussions about various subjects and will be attending consultations on parking, street trading and other relevant issues likely to have an effect on the town.

Although I have not been directly involved in the discussions regarding the possible closure of Druridge Bay Middle School (the school is not in my ward) I have expressed concern as to the possible effect on Amble Middle School of a large addition of pupils and the traffic issues that may arise on Acklington Road,I will pursue this concern if the decision is taken to close Druridge Bay School.

I would like to take this opportunity to say that I hope you all have a happy and good Christmas this year despite the difficult times we are all in and assure you of my continued determination to represent your interests in 2011.

I am as ever available to you on 0755414933 and by email at
Jeff Watson

Councillor Robert Arckless

The County Council will not know its Budget settlement for next year until early December but the indications are not good.  In September the County Executive identified an extra £10 million of cuts for the present financial year at the request of the Government and these have just been agreed by Council.  There has been an immediate impact on the careers advice service which has had its budget halved and that cut has been passed on to the voluntary organisations like the Amble Youth Project – surely this is not the time to be removing support for those who are looking for work!

Cuts in the 2011 budget of up to £45 million are being mentioned – and the implications are frightening. There will be year on year cuts of 7% in the County budget over the next four years.  The situation is very worrying and the impact on our communities will be unavoidable.

Many of you will be aware of the consultation which is now underway regarding the possible merger of Amble Middle and Druridge Bay Middle Schools.  There is a serious problem regarding falling numbers of pupils in many parts of Northumberland.  No decisions will be taken until the New Year but it is important that the views of parents and communities are taken into account. I hope to meet the new heads of Amble Middle and Amble Links First and Councillor Watson and I intend to arrange a meeting with the Executive head of the new Federation of schools;  we need to work together to secure the best we can for all of our young people.

By the time you read this Christmas will be almost upon us.  I hope we can all enjoy it and I wish you all the joys it can bring; maybe the New Year will be a better one than we realise.

Robert Arckless
Telephone 01665 711938

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