Belford Parish Council round-up: Buses, lights, plans and play park

A Travelsure  bus in Belford
A Travelsure bus in Belford

Northumberland County Council is reviewing the bus services it subsidises and has put forward some suggested changes, of which three affect Belford.

The 418 Belford to Alnwick currently operated by Travelsure is to be retendered on a reduced timetable of three return journeys a day.

The weekday Arriva X18 service would be retimed to run 10 minutes earlier at Belford, allowing it to go to Alnwick’s new high school.

The weekday X15 service at 6.12am from Berwick to Alnwick would be withdrawn and this caused concerns as it is used by students to get to Northumberland College. Coun Tracy Bell highlighted the importance of access to education in rural areas, while Coun Steven Birdsall added: “They are trying to promote apprenticeships and then take the bus service away.”

• Councillors are keen for new streetlights to be installed on High Street, by the steps down to the lower section of pavement, when the county council comes to replace the village lamps with new energy-efficient LED lights.

Meanwhile, work is set to start soon on rolling repairs to the public benches in the village as the contractor has ordered the wood. Belford Community Group is funding half of this work. Vice-chairman, Coun Reg Carruthers, is to organise the replacement of the glass in the bus shelter.

• Improvements to the High Street and West Street junction remain the top priority for the council in terms of transport.

Choosing three priorities to go into the hat for funding through the county council’s Local Transport Plan 2016/17, members also picked the speed bumps on Williams Way and the junction at Detchant Lodge.

• Members are in support of resubmitted plans to create annexed accommodation at the Black Swan Hotel. However, councillors are querying a bid for a larger conservatory at The Croft, 41 High Street, as other listed buildings have been refused double glazing.

• An eight-foot chain-link fence has been installed in the park behind the goal to try to prevent the ball going into the thorny hedge.

Room has been left so that the hedge and grass can be accessed for upkeep, etc. The latest fund-raiser for the play park took place on Saturday, with half the proceeds going to the Great North Air Ambulance.

• The next meeting of the Belford Neighbourhood Plan steering group will take place on August 23, by which time it is hoped that plans which were drawn up for improving the centre of the village some years ago can be found. A housing survey is going out soon.

• Members agreed to co-opt Nathalie Petronelli as a new councillor. There was a vacancy following the resignation of Karon Ives, but no request for an election was received during the relevant period.