Belford Parish Council round-up: Allotments, play park, road markings and website

Allotments continue to be a major bone of contention in Belford.


At last Thursday’s meeting of the parish council, one allotment-holder expressed his dismay at a decision taken by the council to limit it to one allotment per household.

But this decision followed other issues and complaints about the allotments, the waiting list and how they were allocated.

When the parish council first took on the allotments, there was no waiting list and Mr Spillett and his wife were allowed to have two adjoining plots.

But due to the changes, from January 2017, when the contracts are renewed, the new limits will be in place and the couple will be entitled to just one allotment.

At the meeting, Mr Spillett explained that he had spent plenty of time, effort and money on bringing the plots up to their current standard, describing the changes as ‘unfair and deeply flawed’. He added: “To say I’m extremely disappointed, you will understand, is an understatement.

“If a decision needs to be made about restricting plots, surely it should be for new tenants, not applied retrospectively? Why should someone else benefit from my effort and my money?”

Chairman, Coun Brenda Stanton replied: “We may make mistakes and we may make wrong decisions, but we did it with the best of intentions.”

Later in the meeting, Coun Chris Rosby, who manages the allotments, said: “I have sympathy we with what he said, but we have had a lot of pressure on us to provide allotments.”

He added that it had been made clear to Mr Spillett at the time that the two plots would be on a temporary basis.

• More new equipment has been installed in Belford Central Park as part of the play park renovation group’s ongoing efforts.

Coun Tracy Bell, a member of the committee, reported to Belford Parish Council last Thursday that the adult gym equipment and new goalposts had been installed.

She thanked a number of people for their support, including fellow councillor, Reg Carruthers, and local firm Gilbert Birdsall.

“We have had great feedback from residents; people who live around the park say it’s very well-used,” Coun Bell added, explaining that the next aim was to create a toddler area for one to six-year-olds.

• Members seem keen to sign up for a website hosted by the Northumberland Association of Local Councils (NALC) as part of a new initiative to ensure town and parish councils are meeting new transparency requirements. Stephen Ricketts, NALC’s chief officer, was at the meeting to tell members about the site, which should be up and running later this year and which would cost each council £100 a year.

• Concerns were raised about the state of the road markings outside the Black Swan, with the lines marking the bus stop and parking spaces faded and hard to see. It was also reported that the cats’ eyes on North Bank need replacing.

• Coun Karon Ives has resigned from the parish council due to other commitments, meaning there is a vacancy.