Alnwick Town Council round-up: Town Team, twinning and a blue plaque

Alnwick town centre
Alnwick town centre

There are widely differing views among town councillors on the merits or otherwise of the Alnwick Town Team.

Project officer Tim Kirton provided an update on what the group has been up to recently, which includes moves towards setting up a constitution so that it is able to apply for funding from various sources.

However, Deputy Mayor George Mavin raised a number of concerns about the remit and objectives of the Town Team, which was initially set up to spend £10,000 received from the Government via the Portas Pilot scheme for high streets.

He initially made a proposal that Alnwick Town Council should cease to act as the accountable body for the Town Team, but he agreed to defer this until councillors had seen a final draft of the group’s proposed constitution.

Coun Gordon Castle, backed by several other members, felt that currently the Town Team is the only vehicle for accessing funding and hosting cross-community discussions in Alnwick.

• Members agreed to put funds towards a blue plaque to commemorate one of the town’s famous sons.

It has been agreed to put up a plaque to mark the life of William Davison (1781-1858), who was a well-known pharmacist, apothecary, printer and bookseller. He also helped to bring gas to the town.

The plaque, which will be installed on the former Collectables shop that housed his pharmacy and printworks, costs £750.

So far, organisations have pledged £250, so the town council agreed to pay the difference of up to £500.

• Mayor of Alnwick, Alan Symmonds, reflected on an ‘excellent exchange’ following the visit of a civic party from the twin town of Time in Norway.

“We were marking 30 years of friendship, 30 years of dialogue and it was a very excellent exchange,” he said.

“It produced some great results. Apart from celebrating 30 years of friendship, we talked about problems we both have.”

Coun Symmonds added that the Norwegians want to promote Alnwick and the area as a place to visit.

• Members were given a run-down of planning obligations by the county council’s section 106 officer.

It came as members are keen to get involved in these discussions so that any money is directed to where it is needed.

Heather Proudlock explained that developers can only be required to provide money or facilities to mitigate against unacceptable impacts of a development. It also needs to be in line with evidence-based issues set out in local plans. The current plan is the old Alnwick district one which makes a specific requirement for funding for sport and recreation.