Reports from our County Councillors

Posted on 18th October 2011 | in News , Northumberland County Council

Since April 2009 council housing in our area has been managed by Homes for Northumberland, a company established by the C.C. who retained ownership of the housing. I am currently Chair of Alnwick area strategic board of HfN.

A “value for money” review commissioned by the County Council suggests that by taking the management of council homes back savings could be made and services for tenants protected. Council officers are supporting this idea and the issue is now under consideration. Because of my involvement in HfN I will not be allowed to take part in this decision.

I have concerns; the suggested savings are very vague. This has caused great offence to staff and board members at HfN. Tenants are being brought in to the process late and the timescale is very short.

Whatever happens most of the HfN staff will continue to do the jobs they do now. I am worried that relationships will be damaged and this will have an impact on services in the future.

I accept the Council faces huge financial pressures. I think everyone involved would agree that if savings can be made and a good service continues then they need to be examined. The Council has a legal obligation to “consult” tenants. This does not mean a ballot, but the council is proposing to write to all tenants.

Tenant representatives in the management of their homes is important. If Councillors decide to take this idea forward, I urge them all to consider the issues carefully and make their views known when they are given the opportunity.

I continue to press the case for progress on the proposal for the Library to be used as a focal point for a number of other community services. This is a complicated business and involves a number of different departments of the Council. Work on the detail of a scheme is now under consideration and I have been promised that things will start to move in November. Since the Amble office has now closed the matter is even more urgent.

Robert Arckless
Telephone: 01665 711938


Sat 5 Nov and 3 Dec at Amble Library 10 – 11am  and  Fri 25 Nov at Hauxley Village Hall 6 – 6.45pm

I  was most disappointed to read in the Gazette that the new play area at the Welfare had been “wrecked”. I think this was a huge exaggeration. It is disappointing to see the litter and the paint spraying but I would certainly not say the area had been wrecked! The article does not help improve the name of Amble as a tourist destination and does not create a positive image. Many people are trying to make Amble a pleasant place to live in and are clearing litter etc. but we must still keep trying to educate our children to act responsibly and respect the town.

The lack of street lights at the rear of Wellwood Street has been causing problems for some time. I have a solution that does not cost a huge amount of money and I am currently in negotiation with the lighting department of the County Council to have the work carried out.

Concern has been expressed about Acklington Road and the increased number of children crossing the road. I have tried in the past to get some sort of traffic slowing obstructions, or a crossing but have been unable to do so. It would make sense for motorists to take notice of the increased hazard and take extra care when driving on this particular road.

Finally, I sincerely hope that by the time you read this the councillor vacancies in Central ward will have been filled without an election being necessary. No election would be required if there were only two candidates. However if more than two people decide to stand then an election would have to be called with the considerable cost being paid by the Town Council.

Jeff Watson
Telephone: 077554114933

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