Schools have fallen into bad state of disrepair

ALTHOUGH I have been a wordsmith all my life, I still think that now and again a few figures can reveal a lot.

In recent days, it has been stated that Northumberland County Council is to apply for millions of pounds of PFI cash towards the cost of new schools, including a much-needed high school for Alnwick and district.

There is a long-running campaign to get this school, which is crumbling around the pupils and staff, rebuilt on a new site.

We were also told this week that the council which has already saved more than £100million since 2009, is now looking to save another £30million in the next 10 years. That does not bode well for the future of any county council-run service in the next three years.

Interesting figures came out of the school meeting which showed that the cost of repairing the Duchess’s Community High School would be 44 per cent of the cost of the rebuilding.

But is this state of decaying buildings in which our children are being educated not a shame on every councillor who sits in County Hall?

We all know that regular maintenance of our own homes keeps them in good condition.

Obviously, these schools have been left to decay as the county officials who control them do not recognise that repairs are essential.

Council leader Jeff Reid, warning of the cuts to come, said this: “We are determined to make sure the best use of the money we have available.

“By becoming even more efficient and squeezing value out of every penny, we invest in our operations. I’m confident that we can continue to provide an excellent service for Northumberland residents.”

This obviously is not the case when it comes to our crumbling schools. Before everyone writes in, I know that the schools have been decaying for longer than the Lib-Dems have been in control of the county council and Labour should take as much blame, if not even more blame for their condition.

NOT so very long ago the Castle household received a communication from Northumberland County Council.

It informed us, along with all other households, that there was to be major changes in our bin collection service. Some bin days would be changed, although in our case they were not, but it was the next line that brought horror and roars of outrage from Castle lips.

They wanted the bin on the street by 7am on collection morning. Now I am renowned for leaping from the sack with 15 minutes before clocking-on time, a fast shower, brush the teeth, a glass of water, pick up the sandwich which was made the night before and out of the door.

Seven o’clock would be a disaster. A bear with a sore head would have nothing on the Castle deprived of two hours’ slumber. I contemplated putting out the bin the night before but ruled that out on the grounds that there was always a chance that some mindless idiot would overturn it or even set it alight.

The first day of the change and the bin made the street by 8am – what a sacrifice on my part!

Mrs C, however, reported that the bin was not lifted until three hours later than the previous pick-up time.

Since then, the bin has been put out at the same time as yours truly heads for work.

I can’t make up my mind if the letter was a wind-up, but if it was, everyone in our street received it.

JUST what is happening to our postal service?

Post, I am reliably informed by Mrs C, can arrive at any time between 9am and a new record last week of just a few minutes before 4pm. I know it cannot be the fault of the poor postman or woman – they are told when to start a round.

Delivery of first-class post at 4pm in the afternoon is just not good enough.

If there is a post office spokesman out there, I am sure we would all be delighted to know what is happening.