Reports from our County Councillors Jan – Mar 2012

Posted on 07th February 2012 | in Northumberland County Council

Most will be aware of the situation regarding the former Border Lairds factory.  Jeff Watson and I suggested a meeting of relevant parties to see what support can be given.  Young’s, the new company, has asked for a deferral of the meeting while they review their options and the impact on employees including alternatives to redundancy. I will support any representations or practical intervention that can be made.

I raised the issue of the importance of support for existing employers at the North Area Committee when we were asked to identify areas of concern as part of the consultation on the budget proposals.

The Executive has approved detailed budget proposals for the new financial year for consultation.  While the overall level of cuts is much less than in recent years it still totals over £10 million on top of a cumulative total of some £100 million in the last three years.  One option is to accept funding to continue a Council Tax freeze for this year.  The Administration are “minded” to agree but are concerned about the impact if such support is not added to the base budget.

The majority of cuts proposed this year are targeted at Adult Care and Housing Services including the removal of the cap on service charges for users who are deemed to be able to afford the maximum amount. That is a worry as these are some of our most vulnerable residents.The average proposed increase in Council rents is 8% a figure determined by Government.

There is an issue around the Government’s proposals to move away from a national system of non domestic rate funding where the local councils collect the rate and the money is redistributed on the basis of need.  The North East and Northumberland could lose out significantly because they are net gainers under the present system.  Eric Pickles is promising transitional support but it doesn’t surprise me that his proposals would mean the more affluent communities will benefit most.  We shall see!
Robert Arckless
Telephone 01665 711938

APRIL 14th – 10am – 11am AT AMBLE LIBRARY

I  am sure many of you will be aware that another serious accident took place on The Wynd over the Christmas holidays, although at the time of writing it has not been established exactly what was the cause of the accident. It appears likely that excessive speed was involved.

This area has a sad history of similar accidents and over the last few years I have tried to do something to slow down the traffic and so prevent further accidents. I have only been partly successful in that because of the rules regarding permanent speed cameras I have only managed to have a flashing speed warning sign and a camera van on site occasionally.

I understand that some residents do not like permanent speed cameras because they are visually obtrusive and often catch normally careful drivers who only exceed the legal limit by a few miles an hour. The fact is they do work. They are the only speed control that will actually slow everyone down. Nobody wants a speeding ticket and even our most reckless drivers will slow down for them.

As a result of this recent accident I have spoken to the Police and the Town Council as well as making representations to road safety officers of the County Council and now have their support in my campaign for a permanent camera on site. I will let readers know if my campaign is successful.

I regret to inform readers that the resurfacing of Rotary Way (the Warkworth road) has been postponed until the next financial year. I was informed that this was largely due to the impending road works that would be caused as a result of the new supermarket entrance being off this road.

Although I am saddened by the delay I have to accept that it does make financial sense.
I would like to congratulate the three new councillors to Amble Town Council and wish them well.
Jeff Watson
07802 385367

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