A COMMUNITY has to make the best of a bad situation, following the closure of its village school, it has been claimed.
It comes after Northumberland County Council’s Executive formerly agreed last month to close James Calvert Spence College (JCSC) – Hadston Road, formerly Druridge Bay Middle School, at the end of August, and amalgamate its pupils with JCSC – South Avenue, formerly Amble Middle School, from September.
A decline in student numbers at both schools had forced the governing body of the Coquet Federation to propose the merger plan.
On Monday night, East Chevington Parish Council – which had opposed the scheme – spoke of its disappointment that the battle had been lost.
But members were told that assurances have been given that the playing fields at the site will be maintained for community use.
Chairman Coun Scott Dickinson said: “Last Wednesday at the county council I asked Grant Davey to raise the issue of Druridge Bay Middle School in the council chamber and press them for clarification that something will be put in place to maintain the playing fields and the leader confirmed they will look into it and have every intention that the playing fields can be maintained for the community.
“We have lost the battle but we have got to make the best out of the poor decision that has been taken. The community will suffer from not having a middle school and so will the children, but we have got to try to preserve the playing fields for the community.”
He thanked everybody who campaigned against the closure, adding: “The odds were stacked against us. We did have a powerful voice but just not enough on this occasion. We move forward and look at the prospect of securing some kind of future for the playing fields.”
WORK has begun to create allotments in North Broomhill.
Land has been cleared at the site and it is hoped that the allotments will be ready soon.
Members heard that Mears, a social housing repairs and maintenance provider, had offered to fence off and portion up the plots for free.
Coun Dickinson said: “All the people in Broomhill are over the moon it has been cleared up. When it is ready, it will be handed over to the allotment association and handled in the normal way. We are hoping to get 20 allotments out of it.”
He added: “We have removed the brambles and thick shubbery but no large trees have been removed.”
Letters will be sent to residents in Station Road and Stone Row to explain what is happening as their properties overlook the site.
SURFACE dressing work is to take place on the Red Row by-pass road – but members have called on the county council to use a different method of treatment.
The work is set to take place at some point between May and early August and the authority has said chippings will be used to resurface it.
But members have hit out at this.
Coun Fred Thurgood said: “As soon as the frost comes the chippings will come off and be thrown everywhere. They did it last year but there is none left now. How economic is that? Are they going to do it every year?”
The clerk is to write to the county council asking if a different method of treatment can be used.
HADSTON’S Royal wedding celebrations have been hailed as a success.
Coun Cheryl Willcox, also of the East Chevington Christmas Lights Committee, which organised the festivities in the village, said: “We had an excellent day. There was a good turnout and there was about 130 kids at the tea party. I want to thank all the members of the public who attended because it was a really good day, apart from the weather.
“We raised £1,100 and of that, we made a profit of about £80 which will go into the Christmas lights fund. The event was about giving a lot back to the community. It was a community event, it wasn’t to make money.”
She thanked Coun Dickinson, Hadston House and the community centre and praised Lindsay Arkley, the manager of the Hadston Co-op, for donations.
Coun Dickinson praised Coun Willcox and the committee and asked the clerk to write a letter of thanks.
THINGS are ‘ticking along nicely’ at Hadston Youth and Community Building, Coun Dickinson said.
The new youth system and workers are in place and a grant has been received to buy IT equipment. Answers for a number of funding bids are expected soon while the number of people using the services has increased.
l COUN Dickinson has been appointed council chairman and has called on the council to be a strong voice for the community. Coun Alice Charlton, who has been on the council for 35 years, will remain as vice-chairman.
l COMPLAINTS have been raised about the quality of county council grass cutting in the area.
The situation will be monitored and if the next cut does not make the grade, a letter will be sent to the authority.
l THE South East Northumberland Credit Union has thanked the parish council for its £500 donation.
l MEMBERS have welcomed a planning application to demolish a former gym and a flat in Red Row to build three properties, saying it would tidy up the site.
l CHANGES will be made to this year’s Parish Council Garden Competition.The mixed garden/allotment class is to be removed while the criteria for the patio garden category will now include ornamental gardens. Judging will take place in July.
l THE council website – www.eastchevingtonpc.co.uk – goes live tomorrow.