Rothbury Parish Council round-up

Duncan Wise, Northumberland National Park visitor development and marketing manager with local volunteers Chris Oakey, Alice Lawson, and Elizabeth Reed, Jackie Sewell, owner of Tomlinsons Caf� and Bunkhouse, Valerie Apthead, Steve Bancroft and Pete Trumper, Northumberland National Park estates development manager.
Duncan Wise, Northumberland National Park visitor development and marketing manager with local volunteers Chris Oakey, Alice Lawson, and Elizabeth Reed, Jackie Sewell, owner of Tomlinsons Caf� and Bunkhouse, Valerie Apthead, Steve Bancroft and Pete Trumper, Northumberland National Park estates development manager.

Rothbury councillors have a number of questions about the seats which have been placed outside the village’s tourist information centre.

In late March, we reported that Tomlinsons had signed an agreement to work with the Northumberland National Park Authority to relaunch and manage the visitor information service in the Coquetdale Centre, alongside the sale of food and refreshments.

At last Wednesday’s meeting of the parish council, Coun Caroline Dawson reported that Tomlinsons owner Jackie Sewell had told her that the seats which have been put outside were for public use and not just for the café.

Coun Steven Bridgett questioned whether the parish council’s gardener mowed that area and if the seats had to be moved. Coun Peter Dawson asked who would be responsible in the case of an accident.

Members subsequently voted to go into private to discuss the land, which is not owned by anyone according to previous inquiries.

• Coun Caroline Dawson was re-elected chairman of Rothbury Parish Council at the first meeting since local councils were up for election.

Coun Steven Bridgett, the only other member left from last year’s council, was elected as vice-chairman.

Rothbury’s election was uncontested and filled just four seats – Couns Dawson and Bridgett being joined by Couns Avril Graham and Jeff Sutton.

To fill the vacancies, the council had decided to co-opt members for the other seats.

At last Wednesday’s meeting, it was revealed that there had been 12 applications for the five spaces.

Members voted to go into private session to carry out a ballot, which resulted in the co-option of Peter Dawson, Ashley Arkle, Hilary Woodburn, Hannah White and Richard Armstrong.

• Two of the new councillors expressed concerns about an already-agreed proposal to pay £200 towards allowing the youngsters to repaint the youth shelter in Rothbury.

Coun Avril Graham said that the £200 could have been put to better use.

Coun Steven Bridgett explained that the previous council felt that it would tidy up the shelter, while allowing the young people to make it their own, hopefully meaning it would then be looked after properly.

But Coun Graham said: “They already own it and it’s used for drug taking. I don’t have any problem with them having a place, it’s what they are doing in it. It doesn’t seem to be policed at all.”

Meanwhile, Coun Jeff Sutton was not a fan of it being painted with grafitti.

• A call for a handlebar to be painted in front of the dropped kerb by Otterburn Mill led to a suggestion that parking in Rothbury should be looked at in the round.

Coun Peter Dawson had asked if the white lines could be requested, adding that they should be on all dropped kerbs.

But Coun Jeff Sutton said: “There’s a problem with illegal parking all over the village and we need to see what can be done. People ignore them (the handlebars). We need to look at where people park in the village and how they do it. It’s great to have all these things, but they need to be enforced.”

• Quotes for a new village noticeboard are to be sought from local joiners after those from specialists were high. The cheapest was around £700, but was aluminium which members felt was not appropriate in the conservation area. The cheapest in oak was £1,150.

• Members agreed to back Coun Bridgett’s proposals for the development and road names for the new homes near the middle school. The developer’s name is Cragside Gardens, but the official names will involve the surnames Charlton and Murray as well as Pipers Way.

• Concerns have been raised about the conversion into a café of Lindsay House, on Townfoot, for which a retrospective change of use application has now been submitted. Councillors had no issue with a bid to demolish Cloud House and build two homes in its place.

• The council agreed that the tree near Orchard House should be felled rather than having its crown cleaned as a tree surgeon said it would need to be felled eventually and up to that point, it would require regular monitoring, which the council would have to fund.

• The new neighbourhood beat manager for Rothbury, PC Phil Gibson, dropped into the meeting last Wednesday, but not to give the monthly crime update as expected. The reason? PC Gibson had just locked someone up so had his hands full dealing with that.