DUKE RIDES TO THE RESCUE: Teenagers who battled to bring a bike track to Alnwick have been offered land on the edge of town, after the Duke of Northumberland intervened to end any future conflict with residents.
Young people at the Gallery Youth Project (GYP) had initially helped to develop plans in 2009 to create a three-lane track at The Park, on Swansfield Park Road, in partnership with Alnwick Community Development Trust, Alnwick Town Council and Northumbria Police community support officers.
But the idea met with hostility from householders on Park View, who said the scheme would result in noise, mess and anti-social behaviour, which resulted in the project being rejected.
However, following a series of meetings between youngsters, the trust, town council and Northumberland Estates, a new site at Alnwick Waterside has been put forward by the Duke’s planners for a nominal annual rent of just £50.
On Thursday, the town council unanimously agreed in principle to become the tenant, which will allow a programme to be developed for the design, funding and necessary planning permission.
Coun Ken Moore, who has been leading discussions for the council, said: “This site is ideal, it is nowhere near houses and it is not going to interfere with anybody. The site will be managed by the Gallery.
“Access is by Fisher Lane, which is already designated as a cycle path, and Alnmouth Road.
“There no access to or from the A1 and you can also get a vehicle down there.”
He added: “I attended the meeting with Northumberland Estates and the young people from the project and I was very impressed with the way they conducted themselves.”
Coun Gordon Castle said: “This option certainly removes a headache in many ways because there was a lot of controversy when Swansfield Park was suggested. The opposition from residents was insurmountable.
“I am very grateful that Northumberland Estates has come in with this offer, as it is an ideal site which can’t meet with any objection. The young people have battled for years for this and the fact that they have persisted is a credit to them.
“We don’t really do very well for young people in Alnwick, particularly in this age group.”
Coun Sara Walton said: “I’m delighted that this has finally found a home. I am concerned that we are adequately insured if we are the leaseholder, but I do feel that this is exactly the kind of thing the town council should be doing.”
Ian McRae, from the Gallery, said: “We are delighted that after a lot of hard work by the Alnwick Freeriders group, we are negotiating a piece of land on the edge of town for a cycle track.
“We are now at the early stages where we will have to raise funds to draw up plans and move forward with what will be an excellent facility for the whole community in the Alnwick area.”
MISSING MARKINGS: Concerns have been expressed by town councillors over the disappearance of road markings on the mini-roundabout at Willowburn Avenue, which serves the leisure centre and shops.
Coun Ritchie Waddell said: “The white lines have completely worn away and what we’re left with is an accident waiting to happen. Something needs to be done about it.”
It was agreed to contact the county council highways department.
IN BRIEF: A new dog bin has been ordered for Walkergate in Alnwick, town councillors have been told.
The move follows complaints from residents about repeated fouling.
A bin has also been ordered for the new community orchard.
BIKERS from London, Leicester and Wales will be roaring into Alnwick on Harley Davidsons on Sunday, June 19, as part of a massive charity ride.
Alnwick Town Council has agreed to donate £100 to Help For Heroes, which is the chosen good cause for the event.