Alnwick Town Council: Hospice, air quality and the Neighbourhood Plan

HospiceCare North Northumberland
HospiceCare North Northumberland

The manager at HospiceCare North Northumberland provided an update to Alnwick Town Council last week.

Sue Gilbertson told the meeting: “Hospice at Home is still really our core business, it continues to grow.

“The challenge we face is that people are living longer with life-limiting conditions because medicine has become so fantastic.

“It’s not just about the last few days or weeks of people’s lives and that’s just going to continue to grow.”

Sue also spoke about the charity’s work in relation to dementia, a condition which is ‘growing scarily’ – figures estimate that the number of people living with dementia will have risen dramatically by 2030.

“People don’t see it as a terminal illness, but it absolutely is, although people can live with it for quite a long time,” said Sue, whose personal story about her father’s death from Alzheimer’s earlier this year features in the latest edition of HospiceCare’s Happenings magazine.

She also told the council about the charity’s project to deliver dementia and end-of-life care training to staff in care homes across north Northumberland.
HospiceCare needs to raise more than £525,000 this year and will receive just a 7.5 per cent donation from the NHS.
“There’s lots going on with our services and we are having to be two or three steps ahead of what’s happening both locally and nationally,” Sue added.
Representatives of Alnwick Area Friends of the Earth were at last week’s meeting to update town councillors on checks on air quality.

As previously reported by the Gazette, during June, the group monitored levels of air pollution in the town as part of a national campaign.

Diffusion tubes, which measure concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, were installed at 10 sites around the town for three weeks.

At last Thursday’s town-council meeting, the group’s Lisa Bellamy, who was joined by colleague Terry Smith, told members about why air pollution is a concern, the results and possible solutions.

The legal annual limit is 40 micrograms per cubic metre and while the results fell below this limit, some were in the 30 range. The reading at the Willowburn roundabout onto the A1 was 37.55.

“At first glance, it looks okay, because they are all below the 40 limit,” said Lisa.

“But it only represents a snapshot, the weather has an impact and we did our monitoring before the summer when tourists and visitors come to the town.”

Referring to ways to reduce it, such as improving footpaths, cycle routes and public transport, she added: “We feel we need to get ahead of the game in Alnwick.”

Town councillors have agreed a series of steps to monitor the Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan.

Now the key document has been adopted, members want to ensure that there is monitoring of how it is being used and implemented.

The council agreed to undertake a review when the county’s core strategy is in place or earlier if the council deems it appropriate.

Council officers will also monitor planning decisions in the area and produce an annual report, while a new steering group will be convened to review community action proposals.

Members have agreed to set up working groups with the goal of trying to influence a number of priority schemes in Alnwick.

The six key issues and the aims in relation to them are as follows: Bus station – to secure improvements and reduce anti-social behaviour;

Community hub at the Playhouse – to understand the proposals and inform/influence the scheme;

Youth services – to form a view on the best way of delivering youth services in Alnwick;

Lindisfarne school site – to consider future possibilities, prior to the preparation of any masterplanning exercise to inform the development brief;

Willowburn Trading Estate – to look to secure opportunities for the retention of employment, reinvestment and improvements;

Vacant premises – to understand the current position and consider solutions.

On the latter issue, members heard that the McCarthy and Stone units on Bondgate Without are being sold with the buyers looking to open a physiotherapy clinic.