Amble Town Council

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Litter-pickers “need a shake-up’’

LITTER is making Amble look ‘awful’, Coun Helen Lewis has claimed, amid fears that the town is deteriorating.

And she said that Northumberland County Council staff responsible for picking up debris around the town need a ‘shake-up’.

She admitted that she didn’t expect mass litter picking to take place over the period of heavy snow and ice but said: “As you are walking around, you are still seeing litter that has been there for weeks. I am talking about the pavements, the grassed areas, the estates. Where are the people who are working in Amble? Are they just doing the main area? We need to give them a shake up.

“It seems to be the whole town. Everywhere you go there is loads of litter lying around and to me it has been lying there too long. I am concerned at the way in which the town is deteriorating. It looks awful.”

Coun chairman Leslie Bilboe shared these concerns, saying: “You don’t have to go very far in Amble to find plenty of rubbish.”

The meeting heard that one way of tackling the issue could be to contact the schools in the town to encourage them to work further with students about the negative effects of dropping litter.

Coun Robert Arckless said that he felt the weather did have an impact, with a lot of county council staff being redirected, and believes that, with the weather settling down, things should be getting back to normal.

But he added: “I agree the place is not the way it should be. It needs to be sorted.”

THE axe looks set to fall on the cash office in Amble as county council chiefs battle to make more than £46million of savings.

Coun Arckless described the news, which comes as part of budget discussions, as ‘regrettable’ but said that if it does close, the intention is to offer other payment options, possibly through the Post Office or cash points, and a different way of giving information and advice, perhaps at the library.

Coun Lewis said that she was concerned about what would happen to the face-to-face service with the public, including helping them with forms, if the office does close.

Coun Arckless admitted that was his issue, and it was not ‘an ideal situation’ but said that as he understood it, there were other ways of giving support and advice, possibly by offering regular slots.

THE state of the footpaths in the Philip Drive area have been criticised by Coun Lewis.

“Some time ago we did report this, I’m talking years not months,” she said. “But it is in an even worse state. The amount of potholes is terrible.”

She said that it was particularly bad at the Fontburn end, adding: “If it rains, don’t bother. It floods.”

Coun Lewis called for the potholes, which she described as ‘quite dangerous’, to be filled and the drainage near the Fontburn end to be sorted.

YOUNG blood is needed to help the flagging Amble Community Forum, Coun Bilboe has said.

He told members that over the last 12 months, committee membership had fallen.

“It needs a bit of a kick start,” he said. “We are trying to get a presentation from the young people and get them involved.”

There was concern that the county council is to withdraw financial support for such forums, but Coun Arckless said that, as he understood it, he believed there would be a reduction of the funding but not a withdrawal.

MEMBERS have welcomed a proposal from the James Calvert Spence College for it to get involved in more community projects and form a link with the town council.

Coun Ian Hinson described it as having ‘great potential’ and said it could be the start of educating the youngsters about what the town council does.

DISCUSSIONS are ongoing about plans for Amble to take part in The Great Poppy Party Weekend.

The nationwide event, taking place over the weekend of June 10 to June 12, is part of the 90th anniversary of The Royal British Legion.

The Warkworth and Amble Royal British Legion has said it is happy to do a joint project with the council, preferably on the Sunday, as it already has plans for the Saturday as part of the event, including a coffee morning.

The branch has said it is happy for the town council to take the lead and match-funding should be available.

PLANS for the wild play project at the Paddlers have hit a hurdle, after a significant lottery grant was not successful.

Coun Arckless was due to meet Jan Casson from the county council on the site, a day after the meeting, for an initial discussion about other possible funding avenues.

He told members that he is anxious not to let things drift if there is any chance of improving what is there.

COUN Lewis is to look into the possibility of the town having a sensory garden.

The potential site is in the West Allotments, between the Simply Horticulture Project and the Coal Yard site.

She said it would make it look nicer and provide something for the community. She is also going to find ways of upgrading entrances to the allotment area.

MEMBERS agreed in principle for the town council newsletter to be produced as part of the community newspaper.