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County Councillor Report (May 2022)

by Wendy Pattison

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

And also on Facebook: Cllr Wendy Pattison

Photo portrait of Councillor Wendy Pattison

[All text and portrait photo provided by Cllr Wendy Pattison and used with permission. Received: 25 April 2022.]

HEDGELEY PARISH

Northumberland Coast Care

Coast Care is a volunteer scheme designed to help people to conserve and manage the beautiful Northumbrian coastline. The area faces a number of challenges from coastal erosion, the impact of invasive species and increased pressure from human activities.

Make a difference in an area you care about.

Volunteering with Coast Care you will have the opportunity to make a real difference to our historic, natural and cultural environment forever. We work with other conservation organisations up and down the coast – our reach is big! Our volunteers are so important to protecting the Northumbrian coastline. They are integral to everything we do. The conservation sector simply wouldn’t run without the help of volunteers.

Some of our volunteers have recently moved to Northumberland and are looking to become a part of the local community. Others are lifelong Northumbrians who want to give back to the environment that has given them so much. 

Learn something new. 

You don’t have to be an expert! All training and equipment is provided – you just need enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. As a volunteer you’ll have the opportunity to learn new skills or develop existing interests. Coast Care has a range of volunteering opportunities suitable for all abilities and backgrounds. Our volunteers have learned wildlife surveying techniques, practical skills like dry stone walling and tree planting and gained qualifications such as first aid and using brush cutters.

Improve your wellbeing, protect your physical and mental health and reduce the impact of social isolation.

Volunteering is great for your physical and mental health. It’s proven to make you happy, as levels of good hormones and brain activity spike during volunteering. Our activities are mostly active, so are fantastic for getting outside and keeping fit and healthy. Getting outdoors and connecting with nature is really important for our wellbeing.

Volunteering is also an excellent opportunity to socialise, meet like-minded people and make meaningful connections. You will become a valued member of our team while gaining confidence in your abilities and enjoying the satisfaction of a job well done. The majority of our volunteers are retired, and many of them tell us how important it has been for providing them with a sense of purpose and identity, and preventing them from becoming isolated and lonely. We take regular breaks for a chat, and the tea and biscuits are always on hand. It’s also just fun to get involved with us!

With our societies growing consciousness about the climate crisis and problems facing our natural world, anxiety about the environment is very real. Many people are very worried, and rightly so – the stats make for glum reading. The most recent State of Nature Report assessed 8,431 species, 15% of which are threatened with extinction. Populations of 41% of our species have declined since 1970. We have 2,000 established invasive species in the country, and our total number of breeding birds have fallen by 44 million between 1967 and 2009. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed faced with such a huge problem, and many people are unsure how they can help. Taking action is the best way to ease the anxiety we feel for our natural world. Volunteering with an environmental initiative is a great way to do your bit, and also reduces stress and combats depression.

Gain career benefits.

For some, volunteering can be a great way to get back into employment or an invaluable way to build your experience as you look for your dream job. Volunteering with Coast Care, you will develop and gain new skills which can enhance your CV and improve your employment prospects.

We will support you to gain professional knowledge and experience and can also provide valuable employment references when required.

Coast Care volunteers play an important role in the protection and management of the beautiful Northumbrian coastline. If you would like to submerge yourself in local history, get up close and personal with wildlife and help to conserve an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty then get in touch. We don’t have any expectation of how much you will volunteer. There is no pressure to give a certain amount of time. You might volunteer for one activity, or maybe you’ll become a core part of the team. Any time you donate is greatly appreciated, and will add to the impact we can have.

Coast Care will be in the process of taking new volunteers on very shortly, If you are interested in volunteering with Coast Care and have a passion for the Northumberland Coast AONB and would like to help out on various landscape, heritage, habitat and beautification projects, drop Mark an email at mark@coast-care.co.uk or info@coast-care.co.uk     

Coast Care, The Hut, Stone Close, Seahouses, NE68 7YL,Tel. 07816 603953o

Disabled parking – am I eligible for a blue badge?

To check if you are eligible for a blue badge you can use the online eligibility checker on the NCC Website.  

There are two types of eligibility criteria.

An individual’s eligibility for a blue badge is considered in terms of being “Eligible Without Further Assessment“ (previously known as automatic) or “Eligible Subject to Further Assessment” (previously known as discretionary).

Under the “Eligible Without Further Assessment“ (automatic) criteria you may be issued with a badge without further assessment if you are more than two years old and fall within one or more of the following descriptions:

  • You have a terminal illness and hold a DS1500 report from your GP or the MacMillan Nursing Trust. 
  • Receive the Higher Rate of the Mobility Component of the Disability Allowance (HMRCDLA)
  • Receives 8 points or more under the “moving around” activity of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Receives the mobility component of PIP and have obtained 10 points specifically for Descriptor E under the “planning and following journeys” activity, on the grounds that they are unable to undertake any journey because it would cause them overwhelming psychological distress – no other Descriptor will automatically qualify
  • Is registered blind (severely sight impaired)
  • Receives a War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement (WPMS)
  • Has been awarded a lump sum benefit at tariffs 1–8 of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and certified as having an enduring and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking

Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) awards are not included in the automatic criteria.

Under the “Eligible Subject to Further Assessment” (discretionary) criteria you may be issued with a badge after further assessment if you are more than two years old and can be described as one or more of the following:​

  • A person who drives a vehicle regularly, has a severe disability in both arms and is unable to operate, or has considerable difficulty in operating, all or some types of parking meter
  • A person who has been certified by an expert assessor as having an enduring and substantial disability which causes them, during the course of a journey, to: 
    • Be unable to walk;
    • Experience very considerable difficulty whilst walking, which may include very psychological distress; or
    • Be at risk of serious harm when walking; or pose, when walking, a risk of serious harm to any other person. 

Any of the above three types of difficulty whilst walking could be caused by a physical disability, or by a “non-physical” disability.  In either case, the disability experienced by the applicant must have been endured for at least three years.

In addition, children under the age of three may be eligible for a blue badge if they fall within either or both of the following descriptions:

  • A child who, on account of a condition, must always be accompanied by bulky medical equipment which cannot be carried around with the child without great difficulty;
  • A child who, on account of a condition, must always be kept near a motor vehicle so that, if necessary, treatment for that condition can be given in the vehicle or the child can be taken quickly in the vehicle to a place where treatment can be given.

First you need to apply and send us your supporting evidence, to show you’re eligible for a badge.

How to apply for a blue badge

  • You can apply online on the NCC website, which is the quickest way for your badge to be processed
  • You can download an application form and guidance notes by clicking the links, and email your application to bluebadges@northumberland.gov.uk with your supporting evidence and photograph.
  • Post your application and supporting evidence to The Blue Badge Team, Northumberland County Council, Wansbeck Square, Ashington, NE63 9XL.

More information is available on the scheme on the GOV.UK website.

The badge costs £10.  If your application is successful, a member of the Blue Badge Team will telephone you to advise that your application is successful and to request payment.  The quickest way to make payment, and to ensure we get your Blue Badge to you as soon as possible, is to make payment through Call Secure.  To pay via Call Secure our Blue Badge Team member will advise you that they will send you a secure link to the email address and mobile phone number that you provided on your application form to enable you to make the £10.00 payment. PLEASE NOTE this call will be from a withheld number.

If you wish to pay this way, please only open the link when you are ready to make the payment otherwise the link may not work.

Once payment has been made, we will receive a confirmation email and your Blue Badge will be ordered.     

Alternatively, you can call our Customer Service Team to make the £10 payment.  Please call 0345 600 6400, choose Option 4 all other enquiries, then Option 3 for Blue Badges.  Care team at:

Adopted Local Plan

The Northumberland Local Plan 2016 to 2036 was adopted by Northumberland County Council on 31 March 2022. The Local Plan is now part of the development plan for Northumberland and forms the basis of decision making on planning applications across Northumberland (excluding the areas covered by the Northumberland National Park) alongside the made Neighbourhood Plans.

The policies in the Northumberland Local Plan replace all those that were set out in the previous District, Borough, and County Council plans listed below:

  • The Core Strategies of the former Local Authorities of Alnwick (2007), Blyth Valley (2007), and Tynedale (2007), and the Blyth Valley Development Control Policies Development Plan Document (2007);
  • The saved Local Plan policies (under the Secretary of State’s Direction) of the Northumberland Minerals Local Plan (2000), Northumberland Waste Local Plan (2001), Alnwick District Wide Local Plan (1997), Berwick upon Tweed Local Plan (1999), Blyth Valley District Local Plan (1999), Castle Morpeth District Local Plan (2003), Tynedale District Local Plan (2000), and Wansbeck District Local Plan (2007); and
  • Saved Policy S5 of the Northumberland County and National Park Joint Structure Plan Alteration (February 2005)

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