Reports from our County Councillors: April – May 2012

Posted on 03rd April 2012 | in Heritage & Tourism , News , Northumberland County Council

Closure of the Alcan smelter and redundancies at Border Laird’s has shown just how tough the situation is on jobs. The Remploy closures are another concern. Production will go on with the remaining workforce at Border Laird, so no news is good news. The involvement of the Office of Fair Trading has added to uncertainty the most important thing is to retain jobs in Amble. I would like to place on record my thanks to the County Economic Development team and the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council who have taken an active and supportive interest.

An Alcan task force has been established and there is no avoiding the potential impact of closure.

On Remploy, I am sad that the work undertaken by a County Scrutiny Task Group, which fed in to the consultation process appears to have had no impact. As a member of the task group and a disabled person, I am disappointed that suggestions made for the retention of a local presence by Remploy aren’t to be followed through.  Adding to the worry are changes in benefits and reassessments of disabled job seekers, increasing stress for the Remploy workforce.

I have made my views clear on the continuing problems with the accessibility of bus services with particular reference to facilities in Ashington; this is a major service hub for us and includes our General Hospital. Lack of the most basic information for passengers is an issue. There are plans for significant regeneration in Ashington and I hope that will include much improved facilities for passengers.

Officers are working on options which can be delivered for some pretty basic improvements; other funding is being sought. I have asked for the support of senior members to allow some flexibility in how capital projects money can be allocated in order to maximise the money available.

Robert Arckless
Tel: 01665 711938

It has been confirmed that a roundabout on the Warkworth Road for the possible new Tesco entrance is not in the agreed plans, and the Camera Safety Partnership have reported that a permanent speed camera will not be sited at the bottom of the Wynd.

Both these confirmations are disappointing as I had hoped if we got one of them it would make that area safer. I have had a firm promise from the Highways Department that Rotary Way will be completely resurfaced shortly, I am told the deadline is to have it done in time for the Olympic Torch progression through our area. That is obviously good news but it seems amazing to me that it takes something like that to get work carried out that I have been trying to get for over two years!

Northumberland Council have decided not to increase Council Tax this year because of a grant given to it by Central Government, however, some services will be trimmed and the maximum charges for home help that some people pay will rise to approximately £250 a week instead of the current ceiling of £120. I think that increase is not fair or right and I supported a motion to keep it to a maximum of £150, unfortunately that motion was not supported.

I am pleased to be able to support the Town with its efforts for the Diamond Jubilee and look forward to a great week end. 

As ever available to you at
and by phone 07802385367

Jeff Watson

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