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County Councillor Report (Jan-Feb 2018)

County Councillor Report

Jan-Feb 2018

by Wendy Pattison

wendy.pattison@northumberland.gov.uk – Tel. 07779 983072

County Councillor Wendy Pattison Northumberland

HEDGELEY PARISH

Speed Camera Van

The speed camera van will now be regularly situated in Powburn village. I am absolutely delighted that the residents of Powburn will now benefit from the speed camera signage and ultimately the slowing down of all traffic through the village. When I was first canvassing for election in early 2017 and before I was elected as the Longhoughton Ward County Councillor, I made an election promise to Hedgeley residents that I would do my very best to improve and prevent the current speeding issues. I am extremely grateful for the support of NCC Traffic Management Officer, Neil Snowdon, Cllr Robbie Burn and Hedgeley Parish Council and County Councillor Glen Sanderson who have all helped me to fulfil my election promise.

Longhoughton Ward: Nine Parish Council meetings

The next meeting will be on Friday March 9th 2018 at 6.30pm at the Thrunton Trout Fishery. Mr Bob Hodgson, NCC Area Manager for Neighbourhood Services and Mr Mitch Young, Maintenance Engineer, (North) will attend this meeting and will discuss any issues all 9 Parish Councils may have regarding Drainage, Flooding, Roads, Refuse, Litter Bins, Hedges, Grass Cutting etc.

Carillion

The council’s exposure to Carillion going into liquidation is minimal.

There are no major contracts currently onsite where Carillion have involvement and no contract awards pending. The company was involved in some snagging work at Ashington Leisure Centre and the Morpeth Northern Bypass to the value of around £80,000, which the council will now be looking to pick up.

Carillion also undertakes the ongoing maintenance for West Hartford and Pegswood Fire Stations as a sub-contractor, with a contract valued around £150,000 annually. Another sub-contractor will be sourced for this work.

Defining a Conservation Area

defining a conservation area

Conservation areas are places of special architectural or historic interest with character or appearance which is desirable to preserve or enhance.

How are they designated?

These areas are designated by local authorities who assess the ‘specialness’. A conservation area recognises, protects and celebrates areas of special character to protect the area and its features.

Consultation

Before NCC review a present conservational area, or designate a new one, we consult a range of local groups and people. NCC are required to give notice of this in a local newspaper and the London Gazette.

What defines ‘special character’ in a conservation area?

A conservation area will typically have a concentration of historic buildings, but its character and interest can come from other factors, including:

  • views in and out of the area
  • historic layout of property boundaries and roads
  • character and architectural style
  • social and historic associations
  • how people experience places at different times of day and night and seasonally
  • locally important buildings
  • characteristic building materials
  • open spaces, green areas, parks and gardens, trees
  • street furniture, e.g. lamp posts, bollards, seating
  • colours and textures
  • local distinctiveness and sense of place

Character can also draw on more abstract ideas such as sounds, environmental conditions and historical changes, which create a distinctive sense of place, a feature that’s wholly protected.

There are more than 8,000 conservation areas in England, with 69 in Northumberland

Next steps for county parking plans

Extra car parking is needed to cope with peak demands in a number of the county’s key towns, comprehensive car parking studies have confirmed.

The County Council commissioned consultants to undertake parking studies and survey work in the market towns of Berwick, Hexham, Morpeth and Alnwick, which has taken place over the summer and autumn to help develop options for future parking needs in these busy market towns.

Work is now being undertaken to seek the views and opinions of the local county councillors, town councils and other key stakeholders on the findings of the consultants’ studies and their suggested recommendations on a range of potential measures that could help address parking issues in their areas.

The study has found many of the issues identified are common to all of the towns, however there are also some key differences so the strategies for each one will need to be tailored to the local needs and circumstances. Based on current levels of use and predicted growth in demand it has been estimated that the additional capacity needed within the next couple of years is 150 spaces in Alnwick, 145 in Hexham, 146 in Morpeth and 187 in Berwick. The forecast figure for Berwick assumes the current temporary overflow car park at Castlegate, which provides 141 spaces, isn’t available long term.
Longer-term demand forecasts are based on expected traffic growth using national models and consideration of local housing growth and other factors. These indicate that by 2031 additional capacity may be required for 247 spaces in Hexham, 587 in Morpeth and 261 in Berwick.

Micro Pubs/Powburn

There aren’t many Micro Pubs around yet but the idea of has really taken off. No music, no lager, no jukebox or fruit machines just good, real ale and a friendly chat. Many micropubs don’t have a traditional bar just a sink, some barrels and a good pint. There is no gastro pub food, just a few nibbles like pork scratchings and peanuts and an everchanging selection of real ales from small, independent and local breweries. Micro Pubs are usually contained in a small premise – no bigger than a corner shop or an off-license but with a great atmosphere. I feel there is a great community opportunity here for the village and I will endeavour to promote and encourage locally to enable the formation of a community group to carry this idea forward.

Potholes

I apologise to all residents regarding the large amount of potholes not just in Hedgeley but all over the Ward. I will be out and about in the Parish and other areas of the Longhoughton Ward with NCC Highways Portfolio Holder, Cllr Glen Sanderson in and around 12th January and will ensure all the potholes are noted and listed

Christmas Boxes/Gift Programme

Whilst visiting a friend of mine over the Christmas period who lives in Wall Village near Hexham, I discovered that Wall Parish Council deliver a Christmas gift box every year to all older residents in the village.

The boxes are varied and range from allotment carrots/potatoes to small boxes of chocolates, mince pies and holly/mistletoe.

The Parish Council put the Christmas boxes together with the help of village volunteers and they are delivered a few days before Christmas to the elderly residents of Wall.

I thought this was a really nice thing to do and the distributed boxes are greatly appreciated and very much looked forward to every year.

Winter Services

snowfall in Hedgeley Parish 2018

Northumberland County Council grit the roads when temperatures are expected to fall to zero or below. Rock salt is spread to lower the freezing point of the surface and it takes about three hours to cover Northumberland. NCC aim to grit all the routine roads by 8am each day, although gritting becomes less effective the further the temperature drops.
The Council use specialised weather reports from the Met Office, insight from our road condition sensors, which monitor road temperature, and a wealth of local knowledge to decide on the right time to grit.

Please note: in extreme conditions, like freezing rain, no treatment will prevent ice from forming, although these kinds of conditions are very rare and usually short-lived.

Snow Clearance

When snow falls in excess of 50mm, with possible drifting, snowploughs attached to gritters will be used. Snowblowers and other specialist machines are also sometimes used.
In severe snow conditions it’s not possible to clear all the roads at once, so we prioritise roads in the following order:

  1. principal roads – cleared to a minimum two-lane width
  2. roads into towns and villages – at least one road into each to allow for access to the cleared major roads
  3. major town centres

Snow clearance on other roads will only take place when the higher priority roads have been cleared, which may take several days.

County Hall Renovation

County Hall requires significant investment to meet the future needs of Northumberland County Council. Planned remodelling will provide an opportunity for the users of the building to help shape its future design, layout and features. Staff will be asked for their suggestions and ideas, which will help to influence plans to create the best possible environment for everyone to work in.

Next stage of North of Tyne devolution begins

12 Dec 2017

The next stage in the exciting plans for a devolution deal for the North of Tyne begin this week with the launch of a public consultation.

A once in a lifetime ‘minded to approve’ devolution deal for the North of Tyne was announced in November and offers unprecedented new powers and funding to the area, including a £600 million investment fund. This investment and new powers are expected to generate £1.1 billion for the local economy, create 10,000 new jobs and leverage £2.1 billion in private sector investment.

The Cabinets of Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland councils met this week and have agreed to start the process of implementing a devolution deal for the North of Tyne.

In order for the three councils to accept and implement the deal they must:

  • come out of the current North East Combined Authority (NECA), which comprises Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland
  • create a new mayoral combined authority for the North of Tyne area
  • create a joint transport committee to oversee transport arrangements across the whole of the North East

The councils will publish a scheme that sets out their proposals for changing the way the seven North East councils work together on economic development, regeneration and transport matters, and for devolving new powers to the North of Tyne. Those plans include creating a new combined authority for the North of Tyne, led by an elected mayor, to manage a range of devolved powers that will help to improve the quality and availability of housing, support infrastructure and help increase the number of residents moving into work in the area.

Views are now being sought from the public on the proposed scheme and how the new arrangements will work.

Councillor Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “The devolution deal is a significant step forward in taking control of our own future.

“Success will not be delivered by politicians in meetings, however – so it is vital local people get involved, have their say and think about how we can all contribute to creating a better tomorrow for all our communities.”

Norma Redfearn, Elected Mayor for North Tyneside, said: “This consultation provides our residents a chance to learn more about the opportunities devolution gives them and their families, and to understand what changes it will make to the way the councils will work together.

“This is the next step in our devolution journey and an important stage in getting devolved powers and funding to the North of Tyne. I’d like to personally invite everyone in North Tyneside to have their say.”

Councillor Peter Jackson, Leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “I hope everyone in Northumberland takes a few moments to share their views on this fantastic opportunity.

“This devolution deal presents us with a once in a lifetime chance to take local decisions about our future to provide more and better opportunities for everyone. Consultation is the next key stage in this process and the more people who get involved the better.”

The consultation will open on Thursday 14 December and close on Monday 5 February 2018. Views can be given online at www.northoftynedevolution.com or at a series of consultation events in January. Details of the consultation events will be announced in the New Year.

Notes

All text and portrait image of Wendy Pattison provided by Cllr. Wendy Pattison and used with permission.

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