Amble Puffin Festival, prison praise and maintenance concerns

A previous Amble Puffin Festival. Picture by Jane Coltman
A previous Amble Puffin Festival. Picture by Jane Coltman

Most of the events at next year’s Amble Puffin Festival will take place over the weekend of the spring bank holiday in May.

At the latest meeting of Amble Town Council, Coun Helen Lewis said: “We have two new members on the committee and we are going to concentrate most of the events over the bank holiday weekend – the Saturday, Sunday and Monday – because it is a bit of a stretch to do it over 10 days.”

Any organisation who wants to put on an event during the festival, email
The council wants the speed-camera van to be moved from the south entrance of the town to Percy Drive, following speeding complaints. It was felt that the new roundabout, created as part of the Marks Bridge development, provided a natural deterrent to speeding at the south entrance, and the van would be better sited elsewhere.

Groups which had to relocate due to the closure of Amble’s Dovecote Centre this month have been ‘offered alternative premises’. The county council was renting the building from the Diocese of Newcastle, but decided not to renew the contract when the lease ends later this year. Coun Robert Arckless said: “I understand that the people who were directly affected have been offered alternative venues and equipment. I understand the aspirations to try to keep it open, but there are a number of issues.”

Amble Mayor Jane Dargue was ‘greatly impressed’ by the facilities and work accomplished by prisoners at HMP Northumberland, after a visit to the prison’s workshop and garden areas. She was also impressed by the efforts to train and re-skill inmates. Benches, made by prisoners, are due to be sited in the town.

Coun Robert Arckless has expressed concerns to the county council about grounds-maintenance in the town. He said he had spoken to an officer who agreed that there are problems and that standards haven’t been good enough. Coun Arckless was told that there are staffing issues and the authority is in the process of recruiting.