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County Councillor Report May-Jun 2020

County Councillor Report

May-June 2020

by Wendy Pattison

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

And now on Facebook: Cllr Wendy Pattison

County Councillor Wendy Pattison Northumberland

[All text and images provided by Cllr Wendy Pattison.]

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing

We are aware that the Department for Health and Social Care are setting up a number of rotating COVID-19 mobile testing sites across Northumberland, supported by the military.

The council is not involved in the set-up or operation of these, including their locations. You MUST follow the registration process and book an appointment for a test. You can’t turn up to get a test without an appointment.

The mobile testing sites are SEPARATE to any local hospital sites – if you have booked a test, you will be advised of the location, and should follow signage to this site.

PLEASE NOTE: You may be offered an available slot which may not be near where you live. 

Who can apply for a test?

You can apply for a test if you are:

  • an essential worker with coronavirus symptoms
  • aged 65 or over with coronavirus symptoms
  • someone who cannot work from home and has coronavirus symptoms (for example, construction workers or delivery drivers) 

When to apply for a test

You need to get the test done in the first 5 days of having symptoms. It’s best to apply for the test in the first 3 days as it may take 1 or 2 days to arrange.

You might not get a test if you apply, as it depends how many tests are available in your area. Contact https://www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test for more information.

Member’s Allowance 2019/20

As the Longhoughton Ward County Councillor I receive £15,000.00 per year to spend on my Communities. The initiatives for 2019/20 are listed as below. I am also contributing towards an interactive speed sign for Christon Bank, which, unfortunately due to lockdown this prevented the installation from moving forward and I am carrying the money forward into year 2020/21 and the sign will be purchased and installed asap.

Traffic calming (Speed reduction measures) B6346 Eglingham Village – Phase 1 £2,000.00 – VillageTraffic Design Plan.

Contribution towards purchase and installation of new interactive speed sign, A697 Powburn north £3,390.00

Contribution towards footpath resurfacing outside Moody’s (Londis) in Embleton and opposite the village hall in Howick Village £3,000.00

Contribution towards purchase and installation of 7 new litter bins for Craster Parish – £2,269.68

Total Balance 10,659.68

Carried over to 2020/21 = £4,340.32

Northumberland Libraries

Northumberland library customers who have been missing their regular visit to their local branch have received a welcome call from staff to check on them.

The county’s library service is running a “befriending” service for its regular, elderly customers, who are currently shielding during the Covid19 outbreak, to ensure residents don’t become isolated and lonely.

The service identified 3,800 customers of 70yrs+ who have been regular visitors to a library this year. 

Staff will call them all at least once to check how they are getting on and if there is anything they can help them with, such as offering them support on accessing digital resources if they have a device.

They are also signposting residents to other services which can help. They will chat to them about books they have been reading – and suggest others they might like. For those who are particularly isolated staff will make more frequent calls for a friendly chat.

The service is also seeking to offer limited doorstep deliveries of books to some of its most isolated customers.

The library service offers hundreds of e-Books, e-Audiobooks and e-Magazines online. At the moment you can also research your family history for free with Ancestry at home and Find my Past.

To access these and the Library’s other online services, all you have to do is sign up as a library member for free.

Go to www.mylibrary.co.uk for more information.

If you are in need of help you can also contact the Northumberland Communities Together team on (01670) 620015 between 9am to 6pm, seven days a week or email: northumberlandcommunitiestogether@northumberland.gov.uk 

Anyone who is concerned about library books which they may not have not been able to return before the current lockdown commenced, will not be charged/fined once libraries reopen.

Public safety paramount as country parks re-open

The County Council has confirmed that its four country parks reopened on Wednesday, May 13 – but the safety of the public remains its absolute priority.

After careful consideration, the county’s four country parks reopened at Druridge Bay, Bolam Lake, Plessey Woods and Tyne Riverside. The play areas will remain closed.”

The safety of the public is and must be an absolute priority. NCC are currently undertaking further detailed risk assessments to understand how car parks across the county can safely be opened, in order to apply social distancing, manage risk and avoid further spread of the virus.

Further announcements will be made in the coming days once these are complete.

Household Waste Recovery Centres (HWRCs)

There are 12 HWRCs across the county where you can take your household waste. Waste recovery centres are more commonly known as ‘tips’.

As outlined in DEFRA guidance, journeys to waste sites are only allowed under the lockdown restrictions if the waste materials cannot be stored at home without causing risk of injury or harm to health. 

To make sure that each facility can operate in line with Public Health England guidelines, and to protect the safety of our staff and our residents, there are restrictions in place.

Site rules

  • Social distancing measures must be adhered to at all times by both staff and visitors. All site users must adhere to the 2m social distancing rules.
  • Ideally, only one person per vehicle should travel to the site, as only one person will be permitted outside their vehicle once on-site. People must remain in their vehicle whilst queuing.
  • You will be required to prove you live in Northumberland – please bring proof of your postal address and postcode – e.g. a utility bill or driver’s licence. You will need to display this in the windscreen of your vehicle.
  • No assistance will be given to offload materials by site staff so only bring what you can safely carry.
  • A new traffic management system will be in place and due to safety concerns, queueing outside of the sites will be restricted. If there are queues you may be asked to leave and come back at a later time.
  • Only cars, small vans and small trailers (below 5 feet or 1.5 metres long) are allowed on site.
  • No transit-type vans, large vehicle trailers or commercial vehicles of any type will be allowed on site.
  • Sites can only accept
    • bagged general household waste
    • garden waste
    • cardboard
    • glass
    • TVs
    • small electrical appliances
    • wood
    • carpets
    • bulky items of household waste such as old furniture.
    • fridges (provided they can be carried by one person), but no other white goods
  • Do not attend the site if you are self-isolating due to having/or having had possible COVID-19 symptoms.
  • If any households have had COVID-19 symptoms, then the waste should be left for 72 hours before being brought to site. Waste should be doubled bagged.
  • If residents have sanitary or incontinence pad waste this should be bagged and placed in their household general waste bin and the excess household waste brought to site.
  • No access to pedestrians on any site.

These site rules apply to all residents visiting any of our HWRCs at all times.

Grass Verges – I am increasingly contacted by residents and Parish Councils about protecting our grass verges and managing them to benefit wild flowers and other nature. Safety must come first on our roads and certain verges must be cut to maintain clear lines of visibility at road junctions. NCC Neighbourhood Services Team are happy to leave the verges uncut if Parish Councils request this and they can be contacted to discuss at any time.

[Information received 17 May 2020]

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