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County Councillor Report (Dec 2022)

by Wendy Pattison – Tel. 07779 983072

And also on Facebook: Cllr Wendy Pattison

Photo portrait of Councillor Wendy Pattison

[All text and above portrait image provided by Cllr Wendy Pattison and used with permission. Received: 21 November 2022.]

Photo of Santa overlaid with the words 'Merry Christmas'


Northumberland Fire and Rescue

Photo of a Northumberland fire engine

Safe and Wellbeing Visits

Protect yourself and your family from the devastating effects of fire by installing a smoke alarm today.

​Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service provide free safe and wellbeing visits and smoke alarms to members of the public who live in the county. We can supply and fit either standard 10-year battery alarms, or alarms suitable for those who are deaf/hard of hearing. If you wish to apply for a Safe and Wellbeing Visit, please contact us today.

PLEASE NOTE: If your property is owned by a private landlord, they must comply with the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations. Failure to comply could result in a fine of up to £5,000 for your landlord. Please click here for more information about the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.  

The Community Safety Department aims to keep people safe in their homes and when they are out and about in Northumberland.

As part of a large team that includes Community Risk and Response officers, the Community Safety Department work to help prevent incidents from happening, through a range of community engagement activities and initiatives including; Safe and Wellbeing Visits, schools and community education and by tackling anti-social behaviour through education.   

The team provide education, information, advice and guidance to empower residents of Northumberland to keep themselves safe and well. To apply for a visit call us on 01670 621149

Chimenea and fire pit safety advice

Using a chimenea or fire pit to keep warm? Please follow our advice to stay safe

We want you to enjoy these winter days so when the temperature drops most people find themselves huddled round a warm fire in their garden to keep the chill out. 

Using a chimenea is much safer than having an open fire in your garden, as they enclose the majority of the flame, however people need to realise that the heat and flames from them can still be dangerous if they are used incorrectly. 

If you are using a chimenea please ensure:

  • The set-up is safe - avoid placing your chimenea on decking or near trees and structures. Also make sure that it is stable and secure on its stand to minimise the risk of it falling over. 
  • Never use chemicals such as petrol to start your fire, instead use kindling to create small fire and then slowly add the larger wood. 
  • The chimenea has a fire guard, if it did not come with one, you can easily make one yourself using mesh wire. The guard will then prevent any hot embers escaping and possibly burning someone. 
  • Make sure children are properly supervised and warn your guests of the dangers too. 
  • Only build small fires – a chimenea is designed for small fires, not big ones, so if you see flames coming out of the chimney or mouth it is too big. 
  • Someone stays to watch it burn - never leave any fire unattended, whether it is a barbecue or in a chimenea. 
  • Enjoy yourself, but don’t drink too much alcohol if you are in charge of the fire.
  • Always keep a bucket of water, sand or garden hose nearby. 

Winter is coming…and our teams are ready

As the county braces itself for winter, the council’s cutting-edge gritting fleet is ready to tackle everything that’s thrown at them. 

With a rolling programme of investment, the council’s bought nine new state-of-the-art gritters to replace older models in its 28-strong fleet which cover thousands of miles each year.  

In addition five new spreaders and ploughs have been fitted to the council’s 4×4 vehicles. These are placed across the county and can quickly get to some of the more difficult areas across Northumberland’s vast road network. 

Out of the cab, all weather stations in the county were upgraded over the summer – and new ones installed. These contain a vast range of cameras and sensors – for more accurate reading of conditions, salt concentration and more accurate weather forecasts. 

There are over 100 staff dedicated to our winter services operation – tasked with keeping our road network running and residents safe. 

We have continued to invest in state-of-the-art equipment which is particularly suited to Northumberland as the geography of our county presents unique challenges where it can be snowing over the tops but bright sunshine at the coast. 

While we don’t yet know what the winter months will bring, our staff and equipment are ready for action.

The winter in numbers: 

  • 105 staff including managers, supervisors and drivers 
  • 44,000 tonnes of salt in place ready to be used 
  • 28 multi-purpose gritting vehicles 
  • Two purpose-built snow blowers and four gully tankers 
  • 1,600 grit bins and 200 grit heaps 
  • Over 3,000 miles of county’s road  

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for live updates on: 

  • School closures 
  • Severe weather warnings 
  • Winter service information 
  • Service disruptions and closures 

New accessible toilet facilities open in Alnwick

Refurbished public toilets have opened at Alnwick to improve the services in one of the county’s main towns.  

The £125,000 works at The Shambles in the town centre, include new sanitary ware, cubicles, finishes, fixtures and fittings – along with associated electrical and mechanical works. 

They also incorporate facilities for those with additional needs including a height adjustable adult size changing bench and a hoist system. 

The improvements at Alnwick are part of a wider £1.35m three-year programme of works to improve the standard of all of the 54 public toilets in the county for which the council has responsibility. 

Councillor John Riddle, Cabinet Member for Local services at Northumberland County Council, said: “These new facilities are a vast improvement for residents and visitors in one of our busiest towns. 

“At a time when many Councils are closing toilets, we are investing in them.

“We know the availability of toilets with extra facilities can make a huge difference to people with a range of disabilities and their carers, so installing these features was a key element of this scheme.”

Good quality, accessible public toilets enhance our town centre and in a very important way improve the lives of all those who need to use them.” 

Morpeth’s newest carpark open for business

Morpeth town centre’s newest free carpark is open for business – providing hundreds of new spaces for residents and visitors. 

The Goosehill carpark, on the site of the former first school, contains 128 standard parking bays, eight disabled bays and six electric vehicle charging spaces. 
The carpark is free with a maximum stay of 24 hours, no return within 4 hours, and is part of the council’s long-term strategy to increase and improve carparking in Northumberland.  

For some time, the Council has been aware of the desperate need for further long-stay spaces in the town centre and now we are addressing this need.

Ageing Well   

Ageing Well is coordinated by the Integrated Wellbeing Service. We use a positive partnership approach to planning and working with local people, valuing and respecting their rich knowledge, skills, experience and energy to ensure Northumberland is a good place to grow older.

By working with local partners who, as part of their everyday role, are in contact with older people and their carers/families, we can make sure that everyone who can help older people to become or sustain being more active, better connected and well, has a clear understanding about what they do best and work well together to strengthen existing provision.

Ageing Well runs a series of seasonal roadshows throughout the year.  These are Stepping into Spring, Summer Sizzlers and Winter Warmers.  These roadshows are held throughout the County and offer an opportunity for older people to come along to find out what is going on in Northumberland to benefit older people. The roadshows are supported by partner organisations and charities and local information is also available. The events are free and everybody is welcome.

We also have an Ageing Well Network which is a Countywide information sharing network. It meets four times a year sharing information through presentations and updates on topics relevant to older people. It also has a virtual function via emails providing members with information about up and coming events and opportunities.

If you would like to join our pro-active Ageing Well Network, or would like more information on our seasonal roadshows, please contact the team on

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