Alnwick Town Council round-up

Alan Symmonds has been re-elected Mayor of Alnwick.' Picture by Jane Coltman
Alan Symmonds has been re-elected Mayor of Alnwick.' Picture by Jane Coltman

Coun Alan Symmonds has been re-elected as Mayor of Alnwick and will serve in the role for another year.

Despite his absence at the meeting following the death of his wife, Coun George Mavin was re-elected as the council’s Deputy Mayor.

In both cases, theirs was the only nomination received for the role.

Coun Symmonds thanked those who supported him, adding: “It’s an honour. It’s an honour to be on the council, but doubly so to be Mayor.”

Following an uncontested election last month, 11 seats were filled, leaving a number of vacancies, so Alnwick Town Council also co-opted five new councillors at its annual meeting last Thursday.

They are Jackie McDougall, who runs the Blue Bell Inn on Clayport Street, and retired architect Charles Westendarp, who will both serve the Clayport ward.

Robbie Moore, who was recently elected as Alnwick’s second Conservative county councillor alongside Coun Gordon Castle, will also join the town council and will serve the Hotspur ward.

Finally, two new councillors will serve the Castle ward; Lisa Aynsley, who runs the men’s fashion store, Hotspur 1364, in Narrowgate, and Geoff Watson, who is returning to the council, having previously stood down in 2013.

• Alnwick Town Council is holding its second business networking meeting on Tuesday evening with a theme of support for local firms.

The event will take place at the St James’ Church Centre in Pottergate. Registration will open at 5.30pm with the free event starting at 6pm.

Alnwick Town Council’s projects and funding officer, Tim Kirton, said: “Our first business networking event, held at Arcinova in January, was attended by almost 70 people and was a great success; the feedback received has been very positive with further networking events being requested.

“For our second event on May 23, we have two excellent guest speakers lined up; firstly, Joy Gair, from Northumberland Business Service Limited, who will be speaking about North East Business Support Fund grants and other support available to Alnwick firms and, secondly, Simon Crosby, from the Department of International Trade, who will be presenting on overseas trading opportunities for Alnwick firms.

“I heard Simon speak earlier this year about a North-East firm which – reluctantly – took part in an international trade mission to America and ended up more than doubling their business by the end of the trade mission a week later. There may be major opportunities for even small enterprises who take on international trading.”

The third business networking event will be held on Tuesday, August 22.

For further information, contact Tim on 07926 364339, 01665 602574 or
• The Tour of Britain is back in Northumberland this year and the prestigious race will be passing through Alnwick on Monday, September 4, thought to be around lunchtime. In 2015, councillors earmarked a budget of up to £1,500 to support the event, with £1,020 being spent, and members agreed to put aside the same amount this year with plans to be made by the recreation and amenities committee.

• Figures from the end of the 2016/17 financial year show that the council’s income rose by about £51,000 – to £322,000 – on the previous year. This was partly due to an increase in the precept of £36,000, but also £12,000 more income for the cemetery as well as a rates refund for the cemetery of £14,000. The authority’s expenditure also went up by about £50,000 – to £278,000 – through a combination of a higher wage bill and funding for various larger projects.

• A letter had been received from the librarian at the Duchess’s Community High School in a bid to raise some funding for books. It explained that when the school expands to include Years 7 and 8 in September, given budget cuts and even allowing for the generosity of local bookshops, the shortfall will be around £7,200 for the facility to be stocked properly.

• A minute’s silence was held at the opening of Alnwick Town Council’s annual meeting last Thursday in memory of Sheila Mavin.

Mayor Alan Symmonds said: “She was very much looking forward to taking part in this next session of the council as she felt, like many of us, that the job was only half-done.”

• The town council received notification from police that Alnwick’s Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), which allows officers to address issues of anti-social behaviour, etc, ends this October. With this in mind, police are to hold a meeting as they look to get another PSPO brought into effect, also offering a chance to review any changes necessary.