‘Disappointing’ participation in parish business

Lord Lieutenant's Garden Party for carers and volunteers at The Alnwick Garden, 2014.'Deputy Commandant of Northumbria ACF  Sue Haughie with John Haughie.'Picture Jane Coltman
Lord Lieutenant's Garden Party for carers and volunteers at The Alnwick Garden, 2014.'Deputy Commandant of Northumbria ACF Sue Haughie with John Haughie.'Picture Jane Coltman

The chairman of a Northumberland council has spoken of the challenges the parish has faced in his four years at the helm.

At the annual meeting of Longhoughton Parish Council last week, outgoing chairman John Haughie delivered his report for the final time.

In the meeting, he spoke of the ‘privilege’ of serving the community and the dissapointment of the lack of attendance from the public.

Coun Haughie said: “In the four years I have had the priviege of serving on the council, it has become obvious that many of the challenges faced by the parish are cyclic: Some are annual; some around five yearly and others as much as 10 years between events.

“However, as we now have to keep a list of assets, to this we are adding our responsiblities in order that future councillors will be aware of just what they must look out for and have the appropriate details readily available.”

During the past year, Longhoughton launched its Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) like many other parishes. A key part of the plan is that a series of responses are gathered from the community.

Coun Haughie said: “The response to the NDP questionnaire was disappointing. However, there were sufficent replies to allow the committee to gauge the feelings of the community.”

The outgoing Chairman also said that ‘it is disapointing that so few members of the community wish to attend the monthly parish council meetings except when there is something on the agenda that creates a lot of debate’.

One of the ways that Coun Haughie inferred was key to breaking down the lack of participation was the parish newsletter.

“I believe that this is an important medium through which information can be passed onto the community.”

The parish newsletter can be found in the SPAR shop.