North Sunderland Parish Council, September meeting

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PATH FALL: Members of North Sunderland Parish Council discussed the path at North Sunderland Point following the fatal fall of a woman last month.

Chairman Coun Geoffrey Stewart expressed deep regrets at the accident of Christine Craven, who tragically slipped and fell to her death on the rocks below the point, next to Seahouses Golf Club.

A letter was received from a friend of the woman, who had since visited the site and realised how dangerous that stretch of the walkway was – a narrow path close to a sheer drop – especially after such heavy rain. He suggested warning signs or a re-routed pathway.

Coun Stewart had contacted Phil Bradley, footpaths officer at Northumberland County Council, and they were investigating the path further.

There had been no erosion but everything was very slippery. One suggestion was to strim the sides to the fence, which would give 10 ft from the cliff in some places.

Mr Bradley and his boss will meet Coun Stewart to have a site visit to cover all possibilities.

NO SOLUTIOn: A solution to the removal of trees at the North Sunderland Industrial Estate has not yet been found.

Lord Crewe’s trust informed the council that it had sold its interest about 15 years ago to one of the occupiers of the industrial estate.

The message from Northumberland County Council’s planning department was ambiguous, but suggested that trees for screening could be removed after two years.

When the estate was first considered there was a great hue and cry and it was a condition that there should be screening between the houses and the factories.

Members heard that the owner was erecting a new fence but did not know what the replacement for the screening would be.

The Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership has an ongoing project for the young rangers on the Rotary Way and it was suggested they could continue on and replace the removed screening.

County Coun Pat Scott and Coun Stewart will bring this up at the next meeting of the AONB partnership.COLUMN CUT: Members heard that the column cut down outside St Aidans was done for safety reasons.

Northumberland County Council was in the process of requesting additional funding to allow any columns cut down due to their structural conditions to be replaced.

The yew trees in the Main Street cemetery will be trimmed back and the pot holes are being sorted out.

BACKING DECISION: It was agreed to support a proposal designed to empower local councils in the face of major planning applications.

The proposal seeks new planning guidance to major developers urging them, as a matter of planning procedure, to attend a local council meeting to answer questions about their planning application and to provide resources to enable the local council to assess developer’s applications – which may be over 1,000 pages long – based on a professional critique of the developer’s evidence.

Both of these are if the council wishes, and the council has no obligation to meet with the developers or assess the application.

PLANNING CONCERN: Reservations were expressed about several planning applications.

Members were concerned about plans for an extension to create two business units and two appartments above 52-54 Main Street for several reasons.

Windows on the boundary line were against building regulations.

The Juliet balconies were out of keeping with the other buildings and they did not enhance the building.

It was an overdevelopment in a small area and there was concern with lack of parking.

There was still a fire hazard with only one access.

Members felt a sign at 31 James Street would be too large for a corner site and it could block views.

IN BRIEF: A LETTER was received from Jon Riley of Seahouses Development Trust thanking the council for its support over the future of the library.

The trustees and Jon have been invited to attend a meeting in County Hall to discuss moving the work forward.

PROPOSED wording for the plaque on the fisherman sculpture was approved.

The plaque will read ‘The Rescue presented to the Parish of North Sunderland and Seahouses by Countylife Homes and Seafield Caravan Park’.

IT was suggested that the council writes to Sir Alan Beith MP to find out his views on the proposed new hospital at Cramlington.

A different venue was suggested at St George’s or adjacent to it at Morpeth, where all the infrastructure such as buses and trains is already there.

THERE had been rumours around the village that the bus service was to be changed. But Coun Tom Orrin had telephoned Arriva and was told there would be no change until Easter.

MEMBERS heard that the roundabout in the centre of Seahouses had been hit again by a bus due to cars parking outside the bank.

THE next meeting takes place on Monday, October 3, in the sheltered housing community centre, Stone Close, Seahouses, at 7pm.