Alnwick Town Council news round-up

Alnwick Playhouse. Picture by Jane ColtmanAlnwick Playhouse. Picture by Jane Coltman
Alnwick Playhouse. Picture by Jane Coltman
Grants of almost £25,000 to local charities, societies and associations were approved at the full council meeting on December 13.

Mayor of Alnwick Alan Symmonds said: “The town council has always had an important role to play supporting local organisations who all do a fantastic job supporting many residents, both young and old.

“This year, we have seen applications from a wide range of organisations, including sport; music and media; support and care and the environment, which the town council was pleased to support.”

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In total, the town council received 25 applications. Grants were awarded for the first time to Alnwick Tennis Club, Alnwick & District Choral Society, Age UK Northumberland, VoiCeS Northumberland, 1801 (Alnwick) Squadron Air Training Corps and the Mechanics Institute.

The money is used to help a range of items from essential running costs topurchase of specialist equipment.

This year sees some new type of supported with a grant including help towards the costs of first aid equipment; MIDAS certificates for volunteer drivers; social activities for the elderly in Alnwick; a young carers project; training a Child Exploitation Officer and incubator space and training facility.

Empty shops: There has been a slight net rise in empty Alnwick town centre business premises.

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But councillors were told, in a report from Tim Kirton, projects and funding officer, that further occupancies might nullify this early in the new year.

Since the first survey of vacant town centre business properties undertaken in July, nine premises had been vacated but six of those had been quickly re-let while another building vacated two years ago is currently being converted for re-use.

The net reduction in occupancy is two business units. However, property landlords have advised that a further two or even three units are expected to be occupied early in 2019.

Mr Kirton reported to the December meeting of Alnwick Town Council: “The turnover of town centre premises appears to be quite fluid and landlords have reported much interest in vacant units so there is a good degree of buoyancy there. The town council is working closely with agents to help them find occupants of vacant units as quickly as possible.

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Short shrift: Town councillors were unanimous in their condemnation of Northumberland County Council proposals to charge for the management of events.

Coun George Mavin said: “Northumberland has just won the title of Best UK Holiday County of the Year for the first time and the county council’s proposed new charges would mean that they are not supporting local events which is the reason many visitors come to Northumberland”.

The consultation period runs until January 7.

Carol success: Alnwick Town Mayor Alan Symmonds thanked everyone who attended the Civic Carol Service on December 12, at St Michael’s Church.

He highlighted the contributions made by the Bailiffgate Singers, St Paul’s School Choir and the readers from HospiceCare North Northumberland.

Coun Symmonds was delighted that the collection had raised £423.42 for HospiceCare.