Toilets vandalised, new housing and budget proposals

The public toilets in Seahouses.
The public toilets in Seahouses.

The public toilets in Seahouses were vandalised last week, members of North Sunderland Parish Council heard.

Coun Alan Trotter told Monday’s meeting that it was about 8.15pm at night and he spotted that the facility was still open, as someone had jammed the plastic wet-floor warning sign under the door.

Inside, there was toilet paper everywhere, including in wet balls which had been stuck to the walls.

l Parish councillors continued to discuss proposed budgets ahead of the need to decide a precept for 2017/18 at next month’s meeting.

The proposed budget for the next financial year for the cemetery, which is managed by the parish council, is £14,000.

Expenditure in 2014/15 was £11,254, it was £13,670 in 2015/16 and £13,500 is the budget for the current year.

However, recent years have seen a number of new and replacement items purchased as well as maintenance taking place in the cemetery.

Coun David Donaldson noted that the projected rates for next year are almost three times the 2016/17 amount.

The clerk confirmed that a breakdown has been requested and the council will challenge this proposed hike. An application is also to be made for small business rate relief.

l An outline application for up to 20 new homes on a site at North Sunderland is likely to be submitted in the near future.

Stephanie Linnell, from George F White, attended Monday night’s meeting of the parish council, as she is preparing an application on behalf of a local landowner.

The proposed site is to the south of South Lane and to the west of the cemetery extension. Access would be from South Lane through the previous housing development.

Ms Linnell explained that with 20 homes on the site, it would be a low-density scheme, adding that other aims were to ‘respect the existing amenity and to have strong landscaping through the site’.

Members were largely satisfied with the principle of housing on that land, while county councillor John Woodman praised the fact that the parish council was being given a chance to have a say before any application is submitted. “It’s a lesson I wish other developers would learn,” he added.

l Public consultation on the area’s neighbourhood plan is now likely to take place in January.

l In other financial matters, the council has suggested that the festive lights team applies for funding elsewhere to cover training required to use cherry pickers.

The training is a prerequisite for the new insurance, which was paid for by the harbour commissioners.

The parish council already donates £500 plus the Christmas tree to the lights team.