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County Councillor Report (Sep 2020)

County Councillor Report

September 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 and used with permission. Received on 28 August 2020.]

Hedgeley Parish

A697 outside Crawley View

The road running alongside Crawley View has now been repaired.

Coastal Villages in the Longhoughton Ward

On August 21st I wrote to NCC Cabinet Members about my concerns regarding the current infrastructure of our coastal villages and the unprecedented number of visitors travelling to Northumberland on holiday and villages unable to cope with such a huge influx. The NCC Cabinet were extremely keen to address these issues and a suggestion has been made to hold a Coastal Summit in the next few weeks.

I am now liaising with all Coastal Parish Councils in regard to what they feel is required in order to cope with the rise in tourism and ensuring that we are fully prepared for the future.

9 Parishes Meeting

A meeting with all nine Longhoughton Division Parish Council Chairmen/Vice Chairmen has been arranged with MP, Anne Marie Trevelyan and will take place on Friday 11th September at 2pm at Brownieside.

Grit Bins: Requests for additional grit bins in Northumberland

a) Locations that meet Northumberland’s Winter Service criteria 

Northumberland County Council can only provide grit bins that meet the winter service criteria. These bins will usually be yellow and will be provided from the County Council’s winter maintenance budget where resources allow. These requests should be passed through the local area highways teams. 

Providing the Salt bin meets the winter service criteria Northumberland County Council will be responsible for all future maintenance including tagging, monitoring and refilling bins.

b) Provision of salt bins at locations that don’t meet our criteria

The local town or parish council can purchase a grit bin from Northumberland County Council to be placed in a location that does not meet the winter service criteria but is viewed by them as a requirement and is in a location that can be safely accessed by Highways crews for refilling and does not obstruct the public footpath. These grit bins will usually be green. 

A one-off fee of £250 is charged through their allocations, which includes the bin being filled on delivery and two additional refills in the first year. The bin is again tagged and monitored by the County Council.

The ongoing maintenance liability for these green grit bins will fall to the relevant town or parish council. Additional refills can be purchased from the County Council at a cost of £125 for 3 refills, or the relevant town or parish council can arrange for the bin to be refilled independently. 

All grit bins must be purchased through Northumberland County Council to ensure the correct type of bin (e.g. one that is sufficiently robust) is provided. All grit bins purchased must be placed with the assistance of relevant County Council Officers to ensure their health and safety compliance. 

The above position will be reviewed annually to ensure that the County Council has sufficient capacity to monitor and refill all bins. 

Free trees to help tackle climate change

Northumberland County Council has launched a pioneering new initiative to help residents, schools and community groups help make Northumberland greener by planting free trees.

The council is one of the first in the country to launch such a scheme which gives every resident the opportunity to play their part in helping tackle climate change.

Nine different species of trees are on offer, which are suitable for small, medium and large gardens, with hedge, copse or native harvest packs available for community groups.

Residents that do not have areas where they can plant a tree will be offered a small cell grown shrub which they can plant in their own container and will be suitable for properties with limited garden space, balconies or rented properties.

Cllr Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for Environment and Local Services, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer 10,000 free trees to households and community groups across the county. 

“This is one of our ways we’re helping residents in the county be involved in climate change and once all trees have been reserved, requests will be added to a waiting list and given priority for next year’s programme.

“This fantastic new scheme will help Northumberland tackle the climate crisis by planting more trees, which in turn will help absorb our carbon emissions and help make our county even cleaner and greener than ever before. This initiative also fits in with our target of halving the council’s carbon footprint by 2025, and making Northumberland carbon neutral by 2030.”

Collection points are currently being established, but will open in Autumn/Winter and will follow social distancing guidance and be held in easily accessible areas to help minimise residents’ travel and reduce their carbon footprints. 

The trees are small cell grown plants, sourced from the UK and provided along with a biodegradable shelter guard, cane and an electronic link to planting and aftercare instructions.

https://www.northumberland.gov.uk/News/2020/Aug/Free-trees-to-help-tackle-climate-change.aspx

Active pools open to the public – but swimmers must pre-book

Active Northumberland swimming pools have reopened to the public, but swimmers must pre-book a time slot, before taking the plunge.

It is lane swimming only with the option of a slow, medium, or fast swimming lane. Swimmers must also register and pre-book online as numbers in the pools will be restricted to ensure there is plenty of space for social distancing. 

As government lockdown restrictions eased, nine key sports centres in the county reopened their doors on July 25th.   Initially the swimming pools had a members only policy while numbers and demand for swimming was monitored.

Now Active Northumberland feels it has the capacity to be able to safely open the pools to non-members, aged 14 years of age and above.

In order to pre-book the pay-as-you- go public will need to register an account with Active Northumberland at www.activenorthumberland.org.uk  in order to get a member ID and Pin Number. This will enable them to book a  time slot, a day in advance, on the website or Active Northumberland app.

There are some new health and safety guidelines in place to ensure people are kept safe so those looking to start swimming are advised to log on to the Active Northumberland website 
https://bit.ly/WelcomeBackToSwim  to familiarise themselves with the new procedures.

Mark Warnes, Acting Chief Executive of Active Northumberland said:

“The safety of our customers and our staff is our top priority and we have stringent new hygiene and social distancing practices in place, as well as limiting the number of people taking part in various activities.

“ We are reopening our facilities in a phased and careful manner and after monitoring the swimming pools we have the capacity to open them up to the wider public.  Numbers in the pool at any one time will always be restricted so pre-booking a time slot is essential and at this stage, because of the safety precautions that we are asking people to adhere to,  the swimming will only be open to those who are 14 years of age and above.”

Active Northumberland has sought industry advice from Swim England,  UK Active and Public Health England. There are new safety and social distancing guidelines in place, while cleaning schedules have been ramped up considerably and numbers in the centres are restricted.

The pools that will be open for public lane swimming are

  • Ashington
  • Alnwick – Willowburn Sports Centre
  • Berwick – Swan Centre 
  • Blyth Sports Centre
  • Concordia Sports Centre – Cramlington
  • Hexham – Wentworth Sports Centre
  • Morpeth – Riverside Leisure Centre
  • Ponteland Sports Centre
  • Prudhoe Waterworld.
  • Concordia, Cramlington 

New service will protect Northumberland’s shorebirds

Northumberland Shorebirds – A new coastal wildlife ranger service is being launched this week by Northumberland County Council.

‘Space for Shorebirds’ has been designed to help safeguard important shorebird populations on the Northumberland coast and conserve the county’s beautiful flower-rich dune grasslands.
 
The Northumberland coast is internationally renowned for its wildlife, particularly for birdlife and dune grasslands, but this is under ever-increasing pressure from recreational activities such as walking and dog walking. 

Space for Shorebirds has been established to enable people to continue to enjoy the magnificent coastline while ensuring that its important bird populations can thrive as well. 

The service will also be tackling a prickly problem in the dunes – a non-native species called pirri-pirri bur that can displace important dune plants and also make a nuisance of itself as its remarkably sticky seed heads become embedded in people’s clothing and dogs’ fur.   

Space for Shorebirds is being funded by contributions that housebuilders and new tourism developments make through the planning system, providing a simple and cost-effective way of addressing the impact that their new developments will have on coastal wildlife. 

Councillor John Riddle, cabinet member for planning, housing and resilience at Northumberland County Council said: “The council is committed to providing the homes that people need and enabling the tourism industry to thrive, with the much-needed jobs that this provides. 

“However, we are also determined to protect the wonderful wildlife that we are so lucky to have in Northumberland. Balancing these important objectives is not easy, and Space for Shorebirds offers an exciting and innovative approach to this. I very much look forward to seeing how this project develops over the coming years.”

Richard Willis, senior wildlife ranger in the Space for Shorebirds service added: “Almost all of our wintering shorebirds such as turnstone and purple sandpiper migrate thousands of miles to the high arctic to breed. However, they spend the rest of the year here with us on the Northumberland coast, so we have a special responsibility to make sure that they can feed and rest without being disturbed. 

“Even though they are amazingly hardy they are vulnerable because they are so dependent on this narrow ribbon of shore where they find their food, and our wildlife rangers will be asking everyone using the coast to simply look out for wildlife and give birds such as the purple sandpiper plenty of space to thrive.  

“I’m very keen that the wildlife rangers at Space for Shorebirds are part of the coastal community, so if you see us out and about please stop and tell us about the wildlife you’ve seen along the coast.”  

More information about visiting the Northumberland coast and the wildlife you might be lucky enough to see there can be found on the new website www.spaceforshorebirds.co.uk 

You can also follow and like the service on social media at:

  • twitter.com/ForShorebirds
  • facebook.com/SpaceforShorebirds
  • instagram.com/spaceforshorebird

https://www.northumberland.gov.uk/News/2020/Aug/New-service-will-protect-Northumberland-s-shorebir.aspx

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