Planning changes raise concerns
CONCERNS about planning and development were raised by parish councillors after a presentation by Northumberland County Council’s Peter Rutherford.
At the meeting Mr Rutherford, area development manager north, said that the future plan is to divide the council’s planning department into rural and urban offices.
But fears were voiced that the rural area was so vast that some councillors would not know the area and applications could be given permission without proper knowledge.
Chairman of the parish council, Coun David Rixon, said planners will be limited to how much they can cover and will therefore need to listen more to the parish councils who have the local knowledge.
He said Swarland has had major issues with sewerage and roads after having their warnings ignored in the past.
Coun Vera Vaggs stated that a recent application for Newton Hall has been discussed at committee and the local councillors voted against the application but the non-locals voted for approval.
She said that having people who do not know the area and the impact this approval will have is the sort of situation that concerns the parish council.
A meeting will be held in April/May for parish and town councils to meet county council planning officers about the changes.
A MEETING to discuss charges for parish services was constructive, clerk Lisa Hamlin told the meeting.
Mrs Hamlin met Terry Garnick, from the county council, to discuss how much the parish council be charged for services which are being handed down to parish and town council.
The present situation should not change greatly for the parish council other than the costs for grass cutting, full details of the county council’s costs will be forthcoming within the next five months.
COUNCILLORS are requesting that the parish council becomes one ward after it was revealed that they would be charged twice for future elections.
A request to change to one ward has been sent to the county council.
The number of members on the parish council could be reduced due to issues with filling vacancies.
Clerk Mrs Hamlin also stated that money needs to be ring-fenced for 2013 elections.
THE Square in Swarland has been adopted as a public highway.
But concerns are still being raised about parking on it and a request has been put in for it to be pedestrianised.
The clerk is to contact the county council about parking issues however residents will probably have a right to park covered under their deeds.
CONCERNS have been raised about chalets and caravans being moved up Leamington Lane.
Drivers with the vehicles have been criticised for taking up the whole of the road. Other car drivers have been seen reversing along it to make way for them.
The clerk is to contact the council to see what can be done about this.
TWENTY responses have been received in response to a request about broadband speeds.
Coun David Pettifer was pleased with the number of responses.
He said he is trying to find out about the infrastructure in place, however BT Openreach will not relay any information.
He has been talking to the county council and TalkTalk to try to get more information.
It has been reported that residents would get 1.5mb maximum. There is a fibre optic ring around the county and the county council is renegotiating its contract on this which may enable an improved system to be put in place.
A MEETING is to be held to discuss flooding in Vyner Park.
The area by the bund at the equestrian centre has flooded and the Vyner Park Committee is to meet to see what measures can be put in place to allow the water to move away as it is currently covering a footpath.
NOTICES are to be put up in Vyner Park stating that dogs should be kept on leads after complaints were received by the council.
An item on the problem is also to be put in The Column, the village magazine.
The clerk will also to contact the dog warden to ask her to undertake some patrols as there are issues with dog fouling.
A LETTER written to minister for education Michael Gove has received a reply.
The council has been told that its letter regarding Ofsted inspections and safeguarding of schools has been forwarded to the chief inspector Christine Gilbert.
l FURTHER tree felling has taken place in Newton on the Moor. Details of the work, which has been carried out where trees were not impacting on the bus route, has been sent to the county council.
l A REQUEST has been made for a temporary sign blocking drivers’ view on the A1 at Guyzance to be removed. A letter has been sent to the Highways Agency but no response has yet been received.
l SWARLAND Woods is safe from sale after Government privatisation plans have been abolished.
l COUN Suzanne Stanley is to become a trustee for the Felton Relief Charity.
l CHRISTMAS decorations are to be stored in Swarland Village Hall after an appeal for a home for them last month.
l A DONATION of £20 was made to Action for Children, £16 was given to Alnwick Playhouse and £20 for Age Concern.
l COUN Alan Whitlow has resigned.