Call for town to take on a handyman

Business leaders in Alnwick have asked the town council to consider employing a handyman, to help keep the place looking spick and span.

Alnwick Chamber of Trade put forward the suggestion, saying a dedicated worker was needed for the day-to-day maintenance of the town, including weeding and cleaning off graffiti.

But while the idea was broadly welcomed at this month’s meeting, councillors said it raised a wider issue of how services currently being provided by the county would be managed and paid for.

Coun Sue Allcroft said: “I think it’s a good idea, but I’d like to know what the costs are first. Anyone walking around Alnwick can see that somebody is needed and I’d be 100 per cent behind this if we could afford it.”

Coun Sue Patience added: “I’m concerned that we’re doing this piecemeal. This is part of a much bigger conversation on how we do service delivery.

“We can’t just put people here and there –it’s going to cost us more in the long run.

“I would welcome the idea but the devil is in the detail.”

Coun Gordon Castle said: “There is a clear need for somebody to deal with matters that the county council might not have dealt with.

“I think it should be looked at very seriously. There is a cost implication and we’d need to work out what it is they could do. An adequately-resourced person might just be what the town needs.”

Coun Sara Walton said: “It would be something that would affect the precept, which is something that we would want to consult the people of Alnwick about.”

Coun David Farrar said: “If we can’t count on Northumberland County Council to clean up graffiti, we don’t have much choice but to do it ourselves.”

Coun Castle added: “The council does provide services, but in accordance with a schedule.”

It was agreed to explore the idea further.