County Councillor Report (Feb 2023)
firstname.lastname@example.org – Tel. 07779 983072
And also on Facebook: Cllr Wendy Pattison
[All text and above portrait image provided by Cllr Wendy Pattison and used with permission. Received: 29 January 2023.]
[Editor’s Note: With regard to the Boundary Commission Review (see item below), Councillor Pattison has expressed a desire to retain Hedgeley Parish Council within the Longhoughton Division. Northumberland County Council Officers have agreed in principle that the Parish Council could remain with the Longhouton Division. However, this does not mean that the Boundary Commission will not change this. Equally, while the Boundary Commission’s formal consultation ends today, people can still contact the Boundary Commission to express their views, for example if you have a preference for becoming part of Wooler or Rothbury.]
Boundary Commission Review
Still time to have your say on a new political map for the Council
A new pattern of electoral divisions is being developed for Northumberland County Council.
The Local Government Boundary Commission has decided that the number of councillors in Northumberland should be 67, the same as now.
The council has formally asked the Commission to carry out a single member division review. This means that the Commission will aim to draw up a pattern of electoral divisions where each division is represented by one county councillor.
The Local Government Boundary Commission wants to hear what residents and organisations think about their local area. A 10-week consultation inviting proposals will run until 30 January 2023.
The Commission is the independent body that draws these boundaries. It is reviewing Northumberland to make sure councillors represent about the same number of electors, and that electoral division arrangements help the council work effectively. It wants to be sure that its proposals reflect community ties and identities.
The Commission is interested in views on which communities should be part of the same division. What facilities do people share, such as parks, leisure centres or schools and shopping areas? What issues do neighbouring communities face that they have in common, such as high numbers of visitors or heavy traffic? Have there been new housing or commercial developments that have changed the focus of communities? And are there roads, rivers, railways or other features that people believe form strong boundaries between neighbourhoods?
The Commission will use local views to help it draw up proposals for new division boundaries. There will be a further round of consultation once the Commission has drawn up those proposals.
Launching the consultation Professor Colin Mellors, Chair of the Commission, said: “We want people in Northumberland to help us.
“We are starting to draw up new divisions for Northumberland. We want our proposals for new electoral arrangements to reflect communities. We also want them to be easy to understand and convenient for local people.
“Residents and local organisations can help us understand community ties and identities at this early stage of the process.
“It’s easy to get involved. Go to our website. Or you can e-mail or write to us.
“Just tell us what you think and give us some details why you think that. It’s really simple, so do get involved.”
How to submit your views
The Commission has a dedicated section on its website where people can give their
People can also give their views by e-mail at email@example.com, and by post:
Review Officer (Northumberland)
LGBCE, PO Box 133, Blyth, NE24 9FE
Scores of new buses and EV chargers coming to region
The council has welcomed news that scores of new electric buses are coming to the region.
The vehicles are on the way alongside nearly 100 more charging points after the North East successfully secured £19.5m of investment through the Levelling Up Fund for a Transport Decarbonisation package.
The multi-million-pound investment will greatly enhance zero carbon options for local people, delivering up to 52 new high-quality electric buses which will travel on some of the region’s most heavily congested routes, alongside 92 new Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers – many at key destinations such as Park and Ride sites – to encourage multimodal journeys.
It is hoped expanded EV charging infrastructure will encourage more people to consider switching to a zero-emission vehicle where possible.
Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair, North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “I’m delighted to welcome this £19.5m investment which will enable us to deliver our Transport Decarbonisation package of new electric buses and electric vehicle charge-points.
“This funding will greatly boost the availability of zero carbon transport options for local people – enabling cleaner, greener journeys to work and education, improving air quality, and reducing our carbon emissions from transport.
Stagecoach North East Managing Director, Steve Walker, said: “On behalf of North East Bus Operators Association, my colleagues and I are delighted with the announcement of this £19.5m investment in our region’s transport network.
“This major funding builds on existing investment in greener buses across the North East, as we continue to work towards Net Zero bus fleets by 2035 and continue to demonstrate our collaborative approach and absolute commitment to ensuring the future prosperity of local communities.
“Buses are the solution to the UK’s biggest challenges: major congestion and declining air quality, and securing this investment makes a significant contribution to enhancing our region’s public transport offer with the introduction of greener, modern and accessible buses, which connect our people and provide critical links to employment, education, health and leisure facilities.”
New Northumberland Stop Smoking Website Launches
A new website has been launched to help Northumberland’s smokers quit.
Supporting people to stop smoking is a priority for Northumberland County Council and the new website www.stopsmokingnorthumberland.co.uk unlocks help and advice for people on their journey to quitting.
More than 80% of people in Northumberland are non-smokers, yet smoking is still the main cause of preventable illness and death in the county.
The new website will allow people to access lots of help, information and encouragement to stop smoking for good from the Northumberland Stop Smoking Service – a friendly, experienced team of advisers and specialists.
With expert help from the stop smoking service, people are three times more likely to succeed than those who try to quit without support.
Wendy Pattison, Cabinet Member for Adult Wellbeing at Northumberland County Council, said: “Smoking is a leading cause of health inequalities and is responsible for much of the difference in life expectancy between the rich and poor.
“We want to give our residents all the support we possibly can in their journey to stopping smoking. The new website will allow them to access information, get top tips and have access to specialist advice.
“We know not everyone can access websites easily, so we also want to remind our residents that help and advice from the Northumberland Stop Smoking Service is available by calling 01670 813135.”
NEW Elections Voter ID requirement
From 4 May 2023, voters in England will need to show photo ID to vote at polling stations in some elections.
This will apply to:
- Local elections
- Police and Crime Commissioner elections
- UK parliamentary by-elections
- Recall petitions
From October 2023 it will also apply to UK General elections.
If you don’t have accepted photo ID, you can apply for a free voter ID document, which is known as a Voter Authority Certificate.
Bringing ID and Accepted forms of photo ID
You can use any of the following accepted forms of photo ID when voting at a polling station.
- Passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, an EEA state or a Commonwealth country
Driving and Parking
- Driving licence issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state (this includes a provisional driving licence)
- A Blue Badge
- Older Person’s Bus Pass
- Disabled Person’s Bus Pass
- Oyster 60+ Card
- Freedom Pass
- Scottish National Entitlement Card
- 60 and Over Welsh Concessionary Travel Card
- Disabled Person’s Welsh Concessionary Travel Card
- Senior SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
- Registered Blind SmartPass or Blind Person’s SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
- War Disablement SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
- 60+ SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
- Half Fare SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
Proof of age
- Identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)
Other government issued documents
- Biometric immigration document
- Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card)
- National identity card issued by an EEA state
- Electoral Identity Card issued in Northern Ireland
- Voter Authority Certificate
- Anonymous Elector’s Document
You will only need to show one form of photo ID. It needs to be the original version and not a photocopy
Out of date photo ID
You can still use your photo ID if it’s out of date, as long as it looks like you. The name on your ID should be the same name you used to register to vote.