Veteran councillor says thanks to Amble

CCoun Robert Arckless is standing down after serving as a councillor for 34 years, 28 of which were as a county councillor.
CCoun Robert Arckless is standing down after serving as a councillor for 34 years, 28 of which were as a county councillor.

Veteran councillor Robert Arckless said he is very proud to have served the Amble area, as he prepares to stand down after more than three decades.

Coun Arckless, who is not contesting the upcoming elections, has been a town councillor for 34 years and a county councillor for 28.

Speaking at his last town-council meeting earlier this month, he said: “I remain convinced as ever that local government is a key part of our democracy. It is precious.

“I am very proud to have had the opportunity to serve my home town of Amble and its neighbouring communities.

“I never expected that it would be for so long or that I would achieve some of the senior positions that I did.

“I am especially proud to have served as chairman of the county council – the first from Amble in the 119-year history of the old county council.

“I feel very privileged to have served as lead member for children in Northumberland over the last four years.

“I am proud to have had a part in dealing with some really difficult issues about school standards in Northumberland and to have built a team which I believe is making a real difference to schools across Northumberland.

“I have been very fortunate to have worked with some exceptional people, members and officers.

“I am sad to be leaving, but I know this is the right time for me. I express my heartfelt thanks to the people of the Amble division.”

He said he has given cash from his member’s small schemes programme to numerous projects, including Paddlers Park and the Harbour Village.

But he added: “I suppose the one I am most proud of is the works to Amble Library which were completed in 2013. That took five years of dogged determination from me, but the end result was worth the wait.”

He has confirmed with the county council that he wants to commit the balance of his small schemes funding for the last financial year to work on Queen Street, specifically the signage programme.

Work has been taking place on Queen Street, and while he said that he is not happy with some elements – which he has raised with the county council – he feels the removal of the cobbles has improved the street aesthetically, made it safer and helped with long-term maintenance.