Belford Parish Council

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Creating a vision for village

The parish council may shoulder a big task to take more control over the fate of its area.

Belford is considering becoming one of the first in Northumberland to undertake a neighbourhood plan – a detailed document drawing on residents’ opinions to shape local life, from the economy to the environment.

Coun Geoff O’Connell urged colleagues on the eight-member council to look into the idea, a result of the Government’s Localism Act, which allows communities to grant planning permission for projects they like.

He said: “It distils people’s views on what goes on in the community.

“It has equal strength to what planning officers at county say.

“It could give us more local power over how we see things develop.”

Otherwise the area faced being told by planning officers whether or not it should have wind turbines there, for instance.

How much access to the hall?

Members are querying the access the community is allowed to Belford Hall. Invited to comment on an application for new fire alarms, they raised no objection, but asked if they were suitable for a venue open to the public. They decided to ask management company director John Harris how much access the public has.

‘Graphic’ posters combat fouling

Posters warning dog owners of the dangers of letting their pets foul the streets may cause offence, says Coun O’Connell, who has posted them around the village. The large pictures of excrement were graphic, he admitted, but fouling was a widespread nuisance that also posed serious health risks to children.

Survey to push for road repairs

Villager Alan Kinghorn urged councillors to press the county council to repair potholes between the doctors’ surgery and the main road. Members agreed with a suggestion from Coun O’Connell that they make a survey of the village’s potholes for the county, which now had equipment for rapid repairs.