Alnwick Town Council round-up

The Duchess's High School site could be made available for housing.
The Duchess's High School site could be made available for housing.

The town council has finalised its response to the pre-submission draft of the county council’s core strategy.

Since the previous consultation, a number of issues raised by the council have been taken into account, but the ‘watering down’ of the policy on affordable housing is now a concern.

The overall target remains at 30 per cent, but given the number already approved, the target is now that 15 per cent of homes on new permissions should be affordable. However, if the overall target is not being met or there is an identified local need, this can be increased.

Coun Rachael Roberts pointed out that the overall target may be met by affordable homes in other areas, but this would not tackle need in Alnwick.

Coun Gordon Castle said: “There’s no point having a plan if you don’t have a target.”

Business start-ups

A number of councillors are keen for more start-up business units in the town.

At last week’s meeting, members were provided with an update from a recent meeting with Colin Barnes, from Northumberland Estates.

It was reported that all the Estates’ units are let and that at present there is limited demands for new units.

However, councillors had an appetite for more to help boost the town’s economy and Coun Peter Broom asked about the vacant shop units near Wilko on Lagny Street.

Allotment rents

Following a meeting of the council’s allotment working group, the rents for next year have been agreed with some sites seeing an increase of £5.

Ratten Row: Full plot with water £45, £35 without; half plot with water £35; £25 without. St James’ (site has water supply): Full £45; half £30. St George’s (no water supply): Full £35; half £20.

Cawledge View (no water supply): Full £35; half £20.

The rent period for the first two sites is January to December, but it’s April to March for the latter two.

Council investment

The town council has agreed an investments strategy.

The strategy’s objectives are to ‘ensure security of reserves and sufficient levels of liquidity to meet planned and unplanned expenditure, while aiming to secure returns which where possible meet or exceed the consumer prices index (CPI) rate of inflation’.

No less than four months’ expenditure will be invested in an instant-access account.

Coun Martin Swinbank suggested that weighting be given to investments which match the goals of the town council and this is to be looked at at the next review in April.