Another plan means more concerns for Detchant residents

Robert Jackson, wife Brenda and Malcolm Stanton, from RODA (Residents of Detchant Association) on the road through Detchant near the Bedmax offices.
Robert Jackson, wife Brenda and Malcolm Stanton, from RODA (Residents of Detchant Association) on the road through Detchant near the Bedmax offices.

Parish councillors want more information and some clarification on a number of issues before responding to the latest plans submitted by Bedmax.

The success and growth of the Detchant-based company and its subsequent impact on the hamlet’s residents, not least due to the access via the narrow U34, has long been a topic of discussion at Belford Parish Council.

At last Thursday’s meeting, it was back on the agenda as Bedmax has lodged a bid to vary two of the conditions related to its original planning approval from 1999. It wants the noise condition to be amended to allow a 45db level until 10pm on weekdays, from 7pm now, and Hotmax and Stockmax added to the list of what can be produced at the site.

The firm has submitted a number of applications in recent years to reflect the changes in the business. One of these included conditions which have seen passing places installed on the U34, while another is yet to be decided despite being submitted last June.

Members agreed with the view put forward by Malcolm Stanton, who spoke on behalf of the Residents of Detchant Association (RODA), and suggested not enough information about the reasons for the changes had been provided.

Mr Stanton said: “It does seem to us to be another proposal by the company to do a bit more on the site for a bit longer.

“We have now got to a stage with these new requests that the situation is becoming more to detriment of residents.”

○ The parish council agreed to submit the same priorities as last year to go into the hat for funding from the county council’s Local Transport Plan 2018/19.

One of the three is to look at improving the streetscape in the village centre. This hasn’t been done yet, but money was allocated for this purpose from the previous ward councillor, John Woodman’s, small schemes allowance.

The second priority is the U34 junction at Detchant Lodge, for which the feedback said there was not enough money.

The third is West Street/High Street junction improvements. A 20mph limit is being installed outside the first school so the team has been asked to look at what can be done further up West Street.

○ Belford and District Village War Memorial Hall, which housed the community club, has been put up for sale.

Coun Brenda Stanton said that the trustees had told her that there have been some offers and there will be a closing date. Once the debts are paid off, there will be a residual amount of money and the trustees are considering their options.

○ Members will look to install several boards with maps of Belford around the village to flag up key locations.

The idea was raised during a discussion about Belford Central Park, which is not easy for visitors to find.

The next fund-raising event as the group bids to get cash for the third phase of the play area is a car treasure hunt on Sunday, at 2pm.

○ Members heard that the county council and SENRUG (South East Northumberland Rail User Group) have applied for funding to carry out a survey on the reopening of Belford Station, via a report county councillor Guy Renner-Thompson.

The parish council agreed to join SENRUG to underline its support for the group’s campaign to reopen platforms.

○ Belford welcomed the Tour of Britain in style after Coun Ian Carruthers put up more than 100m of red and yellow bunting. Chairman, Coun Brenda Stanton, said: “I have to congratulate Belford; it really looked fabulous.”

Coun Tracy Bell suggested that the Northumberland bunting goes up in the village every summer. “It makes the place look lovely,” she said.