Reports from our County Councillors Dec 2011 – Jan 2012

Posted on 13th December 2011 | in Heritage & Tourism , Northumberland County Council

The Alcan closure announcement on the same day that youth unemployment reached record highs was a painful reminder of how fragile the economy is. Alcan is Northumberland’s largest private sector employer and the impact of its loss will be felt far beyond our local communities.

Failed efforts to save the former Cheviot Foods factory show that such a loss has dramatic consequences, for the individuals directly caught up, the service industries involved, suppliers and the loss of buying power. In the case of Alcan there will be a direct impact on the County Council since the company was the largest business rates payer. Alcan was recognised as a good employer with a good apprenticeship system.

Youth unemployment has been a problem in our area for years. Cuts to funding and changes introduced nationally to alter the focus of support from all youngsters to targeted groups will not help.

In Amble the Youth Project continues to provide support and advice to young job seekers, as does the Development Trust for a wider range of clients. Neither receives any funding from statutory agencies. I am seriously concerned that the demise of development agencies like One North East makes the possibility of giving support  even more difficult. I am sure the will is there to make a difference, but I doubt that will be enough.

I am supporting efforts by Amble Town Council to improve connections provided by our bus services; there is a review going on and I am pressing the case hard to get a direct link on to the Radcliffe and Links estates to Alnwick which has been greatly missed since the end of the 420 service.

This year more than most we all need the boost the Christmas season can bring. My warmest wishes to all; one thing is for sure, the Jubilee and the Olympic Torch coming to Warkworth and Amble should mean we have a memorable 2012.

Robert Arckless
Telephone: 01665 711938

I am writing this on the 14th November and as I sit here I cannot but think of the Remembrance Day services held yesterday in Amble. It was tremendous to see so many people turn up on a not very pleasant morning to honour our service personnel of today and of the past. I saw veteran ex-servicemen and women of the second world war as well as young people of Amble such as the Girl Guides paying their respects to those from the town who made such great sacrifices for us all to live in the freedom we currently enjoy.

I have at last managed to arrange for some extra street lighting to be erected at the rear of Wellwood Street and Councillor Arckless has agreed to part fund the project along with me.

I am aware of the problems we have been having with the speed warning sign as you drive into Amble from Warkworth and my concerns have been communicated to the Camera Safety Partnership who control them. Hopefully we will see these warning signs more operational than they have been and continue to warn (rather than prosecute) those who forget they are entering a 30mph area.

The fence along the side of the footpath on Rotary Way between Amble and Warkworth is in need of repair and as it is a high profile tourist area I am in negotiation with N.C.C. to have the work  done before the spring.
Can I take this opportunity to wish all residents of Amble a very happy Christmas and a successful New Year and hope that next year will be better for the town’s employment opportunities  than this one has been.

I am available to you at

Please note a change of phone number 07802 385367

Jeff Watson

Notes from the Little Shore: Remembrance


Photo by Shaun McNiell

It is 4 pm on Monday 14th November – the day after Remembrance Sunday and three days after what we used to call “Armistice Day”.  The mood continues on a high tide of many shades of deep grey and a total silence. No passers-by on the waterlogged sands, no busy dogs, no black-headed gulls, (now whitened, ready for snow) no cars on Bay View, and an empty sky.  Yesterday’s memorial mood continues.

For an immigrant Southerner it is always now a small shock to recognize those long flat Northumbrian beaches. There, surely, rather than by the Calais ferry, they would have come in 1941. Memory is very near.
Yesterday’s national memorial was more contentious than ever before.

From the outset, the BBC’s insistence on brandishing poppies continuously from October 1st had tended to create a mood of regimentation. Worse was, on the BBC, Sunday’s triumphal endless procession of thousands of berets and throngs of wreath-bearers marching to a ground swell of massed bands and wall-to-wall applause. This became, not remembrance, but a victory parade. For an immature non-veteran of 85, the Empty Tomb seemed overcrowded. This is very sad.

Earlier that Sunday morning, after a thoughtful dignified family memorial at St. Cuthbert’s we walked down to the Town Square. No pomp, no massed bands, just a quiet, dignified assembly, supporting a whole community of remembrance. Our friendly Councillors, the ubiquitous – and welcome- Life Boat, Fire Service, the Harbour Authority, RAF Boulmer, smart Army cadets and Guides. Each bore a modest wreath and maroons marked the moment. The bugler (which was his unit?) sounded a perfect Last Post. This was Amble at it best.

This was remembrance.

John West

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