Didn’t consider local concerns

The decision by NCC councillors to allow Mrs Smith’s appeal so she can return to road-side ice-cream trading in Alnmouth is as incomprehensible as it is disappointing.

Of the two reasons they gave, one was that NCC Highways saw no road safety problem in allowing her to trade from a van parked on the bend in Riverside Road. However, in response to village concerns about road safety, NCC Highways had already agreed to extend the double yellow lines so no parking at all would be allowed at this point. If you find that contradictory, you are not alone.

The other reason for allowing the appeal was that they were not convinced that existing provision for buying ice-cream and soft drinks in the area was adequate. They divined this without visiting the village and ignored the professional advice and opinion of their own officials in the licensing department.

They ignored all the other factors raised by the parish council and equally disregarded the views of the residents who vociferously oppose street trading of any form in their village. Large numbers objected, not a single resident contacted the parish council in support of the application and all the points of objection raised were covered by NCC Street Trading Policy as valid reasons for refusing an application.

Sadly, this is becoming a familiar trend in rural north Northumberland. You can add this latest decision by NCC councillors to ignore the clearly-expressed and well-justified wishes of local residents to a depressing list.

It joins their failure to remove differences in parking charges and their decision to raise an extra half-million from parking in the rural areas. It joins their refusal to maintain the old district council’s policy of enforcing the covenants which protected our former social housing from being turned into holiday letting cottages.

The Government may be keen on localism, but it doesn’t seem to reach this far north. Please can we have Alnwick District Council back?

Bill Bourne,

Chairman,

Alnmouth Parish Council