Amble Town Council: Celebration fit for the Queen

FIREWORKS, the lighting of a beacon and a parade – all are being lined up to help Amble celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June.

An appeal is also being made for people to help out during the commemorative extravaganza and fund-raising is to begin.

The festivities will take place on Monday, June 4, and kick-off at around 1.30pm with a grand parade, starting at the top of Queen Street, and leading on to a picnic event in the Town Square, where it is planned to have music, entertainers and various stalls.

Organisers also hope to have a falconry display on the Harbour Master’s Field and a pageant of boats at around 4pm, and possibly a music event in the same area.

There will be a firework display in the evening and the lighting of a beacon at around 10.30pm.

Coun Craig Weir, who is chairman of the Amble Action Group – which is leading the event – said: “It is a very loose timeline. The times have to be flexible because we are dealing with a massive amount of people.

“The management committee is looking into three main areas of concern, these being a marquee, toilets and fireworks, and we are trying to get as much funds raised as possible which we are hoping to start as soon as we can. Hopefully it will be a good event.”

The town council has put aside £3,000 to go towards the Jubilee celebrations and the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay – which visits Amble on June 15.

Coun Helen Lewis said that it would be ‘very nice’ to have fireworks at the Jubilee event and suggested that the town council fund the display, proposing that up to £2,000 from the £3,000 allocation be spent on the pyrotechnics extravaganza.

Coun Ian Hinson said that the town’s Millennium firework display cost £2,000 for 20 minutes, but Coun Weir said he believed fireworks could be purchased for less.

Coun Lewis added: “That is why I said a maximum of £2,000 for the fireworks. Hopefully, it won’t cost that.”

If anyone is interested in helping out at the Jubilee event, email Craig Weir on craigweir@btinternet.com or email Amble Town Council on ask@amble.gov.uk

POSITIVE PLANS: A town plan has to be resurrected to help create a positive future for the area, the mayor of Amble has said.

Coun Leslie Bilboe’s plea comes after what has been a difficult time for Amble, which has included the closure of the former Northumberland Foods factory and the recent news that up to 80 jobs could be lost at Border Lairds.

He said: “All this sad news from last year and the start of 2012 has made me think about the future and where the town is heading.

“I am aware that a few years ago the development trust produced a town plan and I believe it is time for it to be resurrected and now seems a good time for the council and the development trust to get together with the people of Amble to look at the future and try to formulate a plan which would project us forward to the next 10, 15, 20 years.

“With all the extra responsibilities that will come our way, with costs being thrust on us and with planning regulations soon to come down to local level, parish and town councils will have a far bigger say in what happens to their town and it is now more important than ever to try to look at the future and plan accordingly.”

Coun Lewis backed the idea and urged progress to be made.

She said: “If you recall, this was discussed last year, and it was decided that the chairman, vice-chairman and new councillors consult with the development trust and see how it could be updated. I would urge that that goes ahead. Time is moving on.”

BUS STOPS: QUESTIONS have been asked about the financing of bus stops and shelters, following the release of Northumberland County Council’s Public Transport Strategy.

Within the draft document, there are key action areas for stops and shelters, including improved standards of maintenance. The provision of new bus stops and shelters is also planned as an ‘integral part of developments’.

But Coun Lewis said: “It talks about new bus shelters and improvements but nowhere does it say who is going to pay for them.”

After the meeting, a county spokeswoman said: “Currently, the local councils are responsible for managing bus shelters erected after 2003.

“The Local Council Charter is currently being revised and it contains a proposal that local councils will be responsible for all bus shelters from April 2012. The revised charter will be considered by the council.

“The council is engaging directly with each parish to establish and agree understanding on what services should be the responsibility of a local council and what should be the responsibility of the county council.”

She added: “The proposal would be that if a local council wanted a new bus shelter then they would have to pay for it, unless there would be an arrangement for a private transport company to pay for it. The county council would not pay for the construction of a bus shelter.

“But this is a proposal at the moment and has to be approved by the full council.”

IN BRIEF: IMmprovements at Amble Library have been praised by Coun Robert Arckless.

He said that it was good to see the opening of the newly-refurbished community hub facility and ‘gratifying to hear’ that resident take-up had been high, adding that specialist advice and support was on offer.

“I hope it will be possible to carry on this work by improving the existing library and I know work is now in hand to consider options for what might be done with a fairly-limited pot of money,” added Coun Arckless, who pledged commitment to the project and funding through his members’ small schemes fund.

Attempts to ‘beautify’ Rotary Way over the next few years are being made.

Coun Jeff Watson told members that work is ongoing to try to improve the stretch from Warkworth to Amble, including trying to access various grants.

He added that ‘the broken down and battered fencing, which is non-existent in some places’ belongs to the Northumberland Estates, apart from a very small part, and it is hoped that the company will carry out repairs.