I have been following the various plans for this area through your papers this last month.
Since foot-and-mouth in 2001, there has been a message of tourism being as big as agriculture for the economy of our county.
The argument is that it brings in as much as the farms in cash.
It is great to see that Wetherspoons, McDonald’s and the Duke have faith in this and are coming to Alnwick.
There is also a suggestion of holiday housing at Lucker Hall, odd since what we need is low-cost housing and the planners are always turning down new homes but saying they will give plans for holiday people.
What we need is a constant population to share our economy, not people who are only here for a few weeks or are commuters who are out from their homes most of the day.
I have been observing for many years now, with family working in the pubs and hotels and even holiday houses as cleaners, but this is not the answer to replace the bigger employers that we used to have in the Revenue office or the Ministry of Agriculture offices, Hardy’s and services.
The cafes already present have a lot of trouble keeping staff full-time when October arrives each year.
The income from holiday trades may be good for the owners but they do not give full employment to the wives, sons and daughters of those working in agriculture or its other service trades such as accountancy, banking and the law.
The people serving are laid off and then treated with contempt in the labour offices where the workers should have more sympathy as any moment central government may cut their jobs and they will also be part of that unemployment force.
When I first arrived here in 1958, the attitude of our local politicians was that the county population was going to reduce.
That was an attitude of Jim Smail’s (owner of the Berwick Advertiser) and I argued against, saying we needed new housing and an effort made to attract more people to Northumberland to share in the costs of services needed.
Jim did an excellent job renovating housing on the walls of Berwick and in encouraging the Borders agency.
There was a committee set up, called Alnwick Cause For Concern.
We have seen over the years a lot of pleasant houses added which has not detracted from the beauty of this county but a lot of that initiative was spoilt by the Country Life magazine’s stupid comment to say where was the best place to live.
This resulted in an in-rush of commuters owners who just pushed the price of housing here out of all recognition.
As they don’t live in the village full-time, the local schools have collapsed in the villages due to the lack of children and even village shops have gone.