Tackling some of the issues over town tidiness

Alnwick Bus Station.

Alnwick Bus Station.

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Councillors recently took a stroll around Alnwick with the county council’s new head of neighbourhood services to look at some of the issues.

Northumberland County Council’s new north area manager for neighbourhood services, Bob Hodgson, covers waste, grass cutting, cleaning and trees, although a separate tree team for the north area is being established imminently.

At the November meeting of Alnwick Town Council, members heard updates from the walk around the town, which had taken place towards the end of October.

The walkabout had started at the park off Swansfield Park Road where strimming has now taken place around the play equipment along with pruning of bushes.

The town council agreed that it was to look at providing more play equipment for older children in the park.

The next stop was the toilets, which were still awaiting the final completion of their refurbishment.

The clerk reported that items such as new bins and timelocks were due to be installed last week.

Members had previously raised concerns about how the £12,700 funding for the project was being spent. As reported by the Gazette last week, 70 per cent of the costs relate to the hand-dryers and cubicles/vanity units.

Two new bins had been installed at the bus station since Mr Hodgson’s visit, although Coun Peter Broom said he was disappointed that there was still a lot of litter there.

“You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink,” he said. A meeting is to be arranged with an Arriva representative.

The final stops were the play area in Glovers Green, where it was agreed that the town council could obtain quotes for work to replace all the surrounding brickwork, and the Bullfield Community Orchard, where it was pointed out that sometimes the grass-cutting led to damage of the trees.

• Coun Pat Holt took the chance to raise strong concerns about two related issues in the area of Bailiffgate, Canongate, The Peth and Northumberland Street.

One problem was the state of the pavements in an area which sees a lot of pedestrian traffic, due to retired people living in the area and students from the Duchess’s Community High School.

She said that due to the number of trees in the area, the footpaths become very treacherous with leaves, while there are also issues with drainage and flooding.

Her other major concern is the parking situation, which she claims is still a problem, even though there is free parking in the town centre and Alnwick Castle is currently closed to visitors.

She spoke of a disabled neighbour who is unable to negotiate the pavement in Canongate at times due to cars parked on them.

It was agreed to arrange a site visit with the relevant officers from the county council.