Reports from our County Councillors: March/April

Posted on 14th April 2011 | in Heritage & Tourism

Well the budget has been decided and the outcome for Amble is perhaps not so bad as we might have imagined, I doubt many residents will notice a difference in the services they receive from the council maybe just a little tightening of control and grant funding. That isn’t to say that costs have not been cut  it’s just that they are the sort of costs that are not obvious to the ordinary resident, so maybe in these difficult times it is not altogether bad that we have trimmed our expenditure and kept the  Council Tax at its current level.

The state of our roads is still a concern to me and I am very pleased that the road between Warkworth and Amble (Rotary Way) is to be resurfaced in the next financial year, of course that does not mean it will be done shortly, just sometime before April 2012. when I hear the confirmed date I will report it in the Ambler.

Unfortunately the plans for the Library and its development into a hub are still not complete but I can assure you that this development is a priority for the Council’s Social Services and it will be one of the first schemes to be actioned and will  probably be a pilot scheme. I must admit to being a little frustrated by the length of time the Council is taking to develop these schemes and I have made my feelings known to the officers concerned, maybe we will see a little more urgency as a result.

With the coming of spring and light nights our young people will be venturing out more than they did in the cold winter, could I suggest to parents that they encourage their children to attend some of the Amble youth projects sessions, they will be in a safe and controlled environment where they can relax and at the same time be made aware of some of the pitfalls of life.

As ever I am available to you on 07754114933 and by email at jeffrey.watson@northumberland
Happy Easter to all readers.

Jeff Watson

The County’s North Area Planning Committee has approved the supermarket application. This is a controversial issue and there are passionate objections from some residents. I regret that the whole issue has been so divisive and I wish it had been possible to work together to resolve some of these matters.

Much has been said about better sites being available; I have no doubt that alternative sites would generate controversy too.  I believe that the present site is the best available because it is the nearest to the existing town centre.  It gives the opportunity to halt the loss of trade which had a dramatic impact in recent years.  The lack of parking is a long-standing issue and the provision of a substantial car park must help the situation.

There are dozens of conditions attached to the planning approval and there is an agreement (Section 106) which offers the opportunity for a substantial investment in the town centre. This plan includes a pedestrian link and I believe it will improve that area of Amble. I want to see the legitimate concerns of residents addressed as part of the planning conditions. I believe this development will be good for Amble and as it goes ahead it will be important to ensure that promises made are delivered and the planning conditions are adhered to.

IFCAs – what’s in a name? For twenty years I have served on the Northumberland Sea Fisheries Committee.  In April this will be replaced by a new Northumberland Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority, one of ten in England with the job of balancing conservation issues and protecting and enhancing our fishing industry. I was appointed Chair of the new IFCA during the transition period and attended a meeting with the Fisheries Minister to which all ten IFCAs had been invited.  Our fishing fleet is in crisis and concerns on quotas, discards and the impact of new conservation measures were raised.  I hope the new IFCAs will have a positive impact and use their powers to the benefit of coastal communities and the fishing industry which is so vital to the well-being of Amble. There are massive challenges ahead.  I hope we will be able to make a real difference.  I know it will not be for want of trying.

Robert Arckless    Telephone: 01665 711938

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