Acklington Parish Council

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Play area progresses

PROGRESS on a childrens’ play area in Acklington continues to be held up by problems over the transferral of land.

The parish council has received funding of £42,750 from Northumberland County Council but there is still no movement on the land transfer by the Ministry of Justice despite intervention from Rt Hon Sir Alan Beith MP and Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke MP, the Secretary of State for Justice.

The parish council has arranged a further consultation with the community to keep things moving on but the deadline of mid-June is looming when all money has to be spent on the project.

Precept frozen

THE parish council will be holding the precept at last years’ figure of £3,500 for 2011/12.

A decision on this year’s precept was held up after Northumberland County Council announced in December that parish councils would have to take on responsibility for extra services within their respective communities or pay NCC to provide such services.

In the case of Acklington, this would have added around £12,000 to the precept from April 2011. This demand has now been withdrawn for 2011/12 however NCC will be looking for the Parish Council to take on extra services in 2012/13 therefore the Parish Council will have to undertake a tender process over the coming year for these services (mainly grass cutting) and take this into account in next year’s precept.

The parish council has also been advised to make provision for future parish council elections as these will no longer be funded by Northumberland County Council. The next elections are due to take place in 2013.

Councillor’s 31 years come to an end

COUN John Davison has announced he will be resigning from the Parish Council at the end of the May meeting.

John will be a great loss to the parish council after serving over 31 years – he joined the Parish Council in August 1979.

Jeff Newton, chairman of the parish council, thanked John for his commitment and outstanding contribution to the parish council and the community over the years.

Notices advertising the vacancy will be put up after the May meeting for anyone interested in joining the Parish Council.

No extra post box

FOLLOWING lengthy discussions with the Royal Mail the parish council has been advised that Acklington will not be provided with an additional post box – contrary to earlier indications.

It was hoped an additional post box could be installed in Churchill Way.

However, Royal Mail has now informed the parish council that an additional cannot be justified. The Royal Mail has also said it has no plans to review its delivery arrangements during periods of bad weather.

This followed a letter from the parish council to the Royal Mail after residents living in outlying areas of the parish were left with no postal service after last year’s heavy snowfall.

School fence

THE parish council has expressed continued concerns over the visual impact of a steel fence to be constructed around the playground of St John First School.

The school has been advised to erect a fence by education officials. The initial application for a mesh fence has been withdrawn in favour of a fence made of steel bars after objections by the historic buildings officer.

However, parish councillors continue to have concerns about the visual impact of the fence on the village and question whether a fence is necessary as children are supervised while in the playground.

Donations

AS the last meeting of the financial year has now taken place the Parish Council can report it made the following donations during 2010/11:

Acklington Village Hall £700, St Johns Church £250, The Pelican £50, Acklington First School £100, Age Concern £20 and Air Ambulance £20.

The parish council receives a vast number of donation requests for which reason the agreed policy is to give priority to causes which give maximum direct benefit to the parish.

Bluesky Forest

THE parish council has submitted its views on the forthcoming environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the proposed Bluesky Forest regeneration scheme.

The EIA will precede a formal planning application consent which is expected to follow in due course.

The EIA will focus the environmental implications constructing 15 wind turbines on the former opencast site at East Chevington. Subsequent phases of the regeneration project would include planting of new forest areas, two golf courses, equestrian centre and sports academy. Subject to consent, the wind turbines would be in place within three to four years.

The Annual Parish and Annual General Meeting will be held at 7.30 pm in Acklington Village Hall on Wednesday, May 4.