Rothbury Parish Council

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No more talk of routing the rooks

A DECISION has been taken not to discuss eradicating rooks from the village.

A letter was received from a member of the public about the parish council’s previous decision not to do anything about the birds, which nest in the village each year.

Concerns had previously been raised about the mess left by the birds, especially on seats under the trees on High Street.

But after looking at numerous options, the council decided not to take any action until a tree survey was carried out.

Coun Dawson said: “Rightly or wrongly, we took the decision that we weren’t able to do anything.

“More than 10 years ago we as a parish council worked very hard to try to remove the rooks and it cost in excess of £2,500.

“We had a cherry picker to oil the eggs, we looked at bird-scaring, we did everything we could reasonably do. We even looked in to getting rid of them with a shotgun but that wasn’t allowed and the police wouldn’t entertain it.

“It was decided then that we had done our best and we would just have to live with the problem.

“It reared its head last year and it has reared its head again this year.”

Coun Murray asked whether there were any health concerns related to the amount of rook droppings. But Coun Mark Gilson said the risk was minimal but that the diseases carried were ‘rather serious’.

Coun Gilson added: “I think the answer comes down to whether the people of Rothbury want us to fight for it. I personally, having gone through from bottom to top, think there is only one way to get rid of the rooks and that is to remove their environment.

“The parish council doesn’t want to pollard the trees because it might ruin the look of the village and I would agree after looking at how much it would cost. I think we should live with it until there is a revolution with placards.”

The council decided to ‘draw a line’ under the matter.

ANGRY councillors have deemed communication between the parish, county and a housing estate developer ‘not good enough’.

The parish council has had numerous meetings with officers from Northumberland County Council and staff associated with the McInerney Homes development at Whitton View.

But at last week’s meeting, Coun Dawson said that the response the parish council had received was not good enough.

The council wrote to the county council’s chief executive about the estate after last month’s meeting, after further concerns were raised about planning applications related to the site and drainage problems.

Coun Dawson said the council was sent a letter from Caroline Bruce, director of local services, which said that there would be a more detailed response in the near future, but nothing has yet been received.

Coun Dawson said in his response: “The council is aware of problems at this development. We met the developers last year to try to resolve matters but still it seems to be the case that we are getting nowhere.”

He added that the council was still awaiting the outcome of planning applications for a gabion wall, footpath, play area and solutions for drainage.

“In the near future just isn’t good enough,” he said.

“This community has been very patient for years waiting for this development to be completed and especially for works to be carried out on the main highway.

“We are also waiting for drains to be connected to the main water system and the water that rushes down the main highway has to be seen to be believed. It is still causing a considerable amount of concern to people affected by the floods.”

He added: “It is yet again another example of them saying they want to work in partnership with parish and town councils but when you get to the nitty-gritty nobody wants to know.”

Coun Joy Morton said: “It just makes me wonder why we are doing this.”

The council is to keep an eye on the development and plans surrounding it.

A VISITOR to Rothbury has described the village as being ‘in the worst state’ she has ever seen.

Coun Morton told the meeting that she was approached by the woman, who regularly visits Rothbury, during the week.

“She said she had been coming to the village for years, since she was a child, and it was the worst she had ever seen it,” she said.

“I was so taken aback so I asked in what respect. She said she had never seen as much litter, never seen as much dog dirt and she had dogs with her, and she asked what all the brown staining was on the pavement in front of the Turks Head.

“She added that the posts by the fish shop needed painting, some of the seats need repairing and she went on and on.

“I did say we were still recovering from the winter. But she said that was no excuse and said she had been coming here for years and wouldn’t be coming back.”

Coun Dawson said that the council should request the county council’s street sweeper to come out and clean up.

COUNCILLORS are outraged after hearing that £180,000 of funding for a pedestrian crossing in the village has been lost.

Last month the council was told that the crossing was no longer going to be installed.

This month, an email from Aln Elliott, senior engineer and cycling officer at the county council, said that time for accessing £180,000 of funding which was made available for the crossing, as part of the new cycle path in the village, had run out.

“It says that they would have needed to do a full consultation on it anyway,” said Coun Dawson.

“But it says on the brighter side funding may become available again, which is not confirmed, and it could be included in next year’s local transport plan but that is not confirmed.

“I take great umbrage with this. When we were told about the cycle path, we discussed this and gave our view and considered where the crossing would be most appropriate.

“But now the table has turned and we find out that it couldn’t have happened because they needed a full consultation for it, but they had 12 months to do this. Then they turn round and say the funding is lost.”

Coun Murray said: “It makes you wonder exactly what they are doing.”

The council is to refer the matter to the council’s scrutiny committee.