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County Councillor Report (Oct 2021)

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 the above portrait photo provided by Cllr Wendy Pattison and used with permission. Received: 27 September 2021.]

HEDGELEY PARISH

Granting the Freedom of the Parish

Granting the Freedom of the Parish is the highest honour that the Parish Council can bestow. Although it carries no powers, rights or privileges, those who receive the honour are able to use the title of Freeman or Freewomen. 

As this is the highest honour that the Parish Council can grant it should be used sparingly and should not be given too often in order to preserve its status and value.

Criteria

There is no statutory guidance that sets out any criteria for the appointment of Freemen and Freewomen. The Freedom of the Parish is usually awarded in recognition of exceptional service to the Parish.

Cost 

Section 249 (9) of Local Government Act 1972 allows Councils to spend “such reasonable sum as it thinks fit” on presenting an address to a Honorary Freeman or Honorary Freewoman. A commemorative ‘scroll’ or certificate will be provided. Currently there is no budget provision for this but under the S137 of the Local Government Act 1972 the costs of the scroll and frame can be allocated. 

Legislation 

5.1. Section 249 (5) of Local Government Act 1972, as amended by Section 29 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development & Construction Act 2009, allows the Council of a relevant authority (including a Parish Council) to admit to be honorary freemen or honorary freewomen of the place or area for which it is the authority:
a. Persons of distinction, and 

b. Persons who have, in the opinion of the authority, rendered eminent service to that place or area. 

5.2. A resolution must be passed: 

a. At a meeting of the Parish Council that has been convened especially for the purpose and where notice of the object of the meeting to pass a motion relating to the granting of the award has been given.

Return of free waste bags for Green Dog Walkers

Photo of woman walking a dog

All they have to do is show their green dog walker letter, armband or badge to a member of library staff as proof they are part of the scheme. 

The bags can then be distributed to other dog walkers to encourage responsible dog ownership across the county and to reduce dog fouling. 

The Green Dog Walker scheme is run by Northumberland County Council and has over 3,000 members of the public signed up to it. Under the initiative dog owners are encouraged to sign the Green Dog Walkers pledge – to always clean up after their dog and put the bag in a bin and to use a friendly approach to encourage other dog walkers to do the same.   

Northumberland County Councillor John Riddle, cabinet member for local services said: 

“Dog fouling is one of our top environmental priorities and one of the issues most commonly raised with us by residents. 

“Green Dog Walkers is intended to be a friendly and non-confrontational approach to changing attitudes to the problem of dog fouling. 

“It compliments other council approaches across the county including issuing fines when irresponsible dog owners are caught allowing their dogs to foul without picking up after them and educational initiatives promoting responsible dog ownership.” 

To find your local library and opening times go to:  mylibrary.co.uk 

For further information about the Green Dog Walker scheme and to sign up online visit the council’s website www.northumberland.gov.uk/greendogwalkers 

Or email  greendogwalkers@northumberland.gov.uk 

Smokers urged to quit in Northumberland

At a time when staying healthy is even more important, smokers in Northumberland are being urged to take the step and give up cigarettes for good. 

A recent report from Cancer UK showed the number of 18–34-year-olds who smoke in England increased by 25% in the first lockdown. 

The pressures of coping with the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to have contributed to an increase in the number of people smoking cigarettes. 

Liz Morgan, Director of Public Health at Northumberland County Council, said: “Quitting is one of the best things smokers can do for their health. Covid-19 is still with us and stopping smoking will reduce the likelihood of complications from COVID-19 as well as reducing the risk of getting other acute respiratory infections.” 

Smoking is the biggest preventable cause of cancer and is known to cause at least 15 different cancer types. By stopping smoking, the lungs are given the chance to repair, meaning breathing becomes easier.  
 

Councillor Wendy Pattison, cabinet member for adult wellbeing said: “It’s never too late to quit. With the stop smoking challenge ‘Stoptober’ approaching, there is no better time to take the first step in quitting cigarettes for good and I would encourage people to take advantage of the range of free support available to them in Northumberland. 

“Our local Stop Smoking Service can advise on different treatments and what to do to help prevent the cravings.” 

Evidence shows that people are three times more likely to quit for good if they have support from their local NHS stop smoking service. Many people try to quit smoking with willpower alone, but it is much easier with the right help.  

There are lots of support options available: 

Don’t wait for a knock on door in October 

Photo of two door knockers shaped like hands

Canvassers will be knocking on doors in Northumberland from 13th October to give residents a final chance to register and to vote in the next elections. 

Staff will wear ID badges to identify themselves and will only ask for the details of the people living at the address, not bank details. 

Electoral registration forms were sent out to all 156,000 households in the county in July asking for residents to confirm any changes.  

Despite sending out reminders, there are 13,200 properties still to complete and return their canvass form.  

Those households who have yet to respond are now being urged to follow the instructions on the reminder letter instead of waiting for a knock on the door from the electoral canvass team in October. 

The county council is required by law to visit those properties that needed to respond but didn’t –  which is a time consuming and costly exercise. 

Canvassers acting on behalf of the council will be carrying this out during October and November.

Mark Crawford who is Elections Manager at Northumberland County Council said:

“To vote in any election your name must be on the electoral register.  This is an important opportunity for residents to ensure they have a say on issues that directly affect day-to-day life in Northumberland. 

“Apart from voting, there are also other benefits to being on the register including improving credit score ratings which companies look at when you apply for a mobile phone contract, a mortgage or a loan.” 

Canvassers who visit properties in person will wear face masks and use hand sanitiser to reduce the risk of transmitting Covid-19. 

If you have any queries regarding electoral registration, please ring Northumberland County Council on 01670 624844. 

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