Playground question mark

RESIDENTS are to be consulted on whether a new play area at the Whitton View development is still wanted, Rothbury Parish Council heard.

A meeting was held between the parish council, Northumberland Estates, Northumberland County Council and Miller Homes, the company which is now looking after the development since McInerney Homes went into administration.

A new play area at the site, on the outskirts of the village, was part of a section 106 agreement of the planning application.

When permission was given it was said that Alnwick District Council would be in charge of it. When the unitary authority was introduced, this was then passed to Northumberland County Council.

But now services, including play areas, are being transferred to parish councils.

Coun Jeff Reynalds said: “If they go ahead with the play area, we will have to take it on and maintain it. Otherwise, it will be left to fall apart and get dangerous.

“It is possible that the developer will have to give money towards it for the future.”

The council is to make a decision about the play area at next month’s meeting.

ON THE LOOKOUT: Police warned councillors to be vigilant while giving a monthly crime update.

Rothbury Sergeant Graham Vickers said that fuel thefts were emerging again as well as sheep and cattle thefts.

He added that a man had been arrested on Hillside Road for possession of cannabis and that there had been a series of burglaries in the surrounding areas by an Ashington team who were now in custody.

Sgt Vickers added that the Speedwatch campaign is still running and 10 areas in north Northumberland are being targeted.

SHOW CARS PROBLEM: Parking during Alwinton Show weekend has been highlighted as a problem in Rothbury.

Coun Reynalds said that a number of cars were stuck on their way through to Alwinton because of inconsiderate parking in the village.

He added that cars were double-parked outside the bakery, meaning that the bus couldn’t get through, causing long queues.

“I watched it for 20 minutes,” he said

“There isn’t really active enforcement of parking rules by the police.”

Other concerns were also raised, but Coun Bridgett said that the county council will not be looking at parking problems until after the bridge works have been completed.

BRIDGE EXCAVATION: Excavation is to take place on the bridge as part of the re-strengthening works.

Coun Bridgett told the meeting that the work will reveal details of stonework that was last seen in 1460.

Archaeologists will be on site to make sure any findings are recorded.

NEGATIVE PRESS BLOW: Police are unhappy about negative comments in the press, the parish council heard.

Councillors held a private meeting with police to discuss community policing.

Coun Reynalds said that the police were ‘upset’ and tried to ‘shut up’ Coun Fendley.

He added: “They complained about negative stuff going in the press. But we said that it was a public meeting and people felt they needed to say things. Eventually, it all calmed down and we did have a discussion that was quite helpful.”

CHAIRMAN’S RIBBON: A new chairman’s ribbon of office is being made for the parish council.

A donor is having it made for the council as a gift.

It will be worn at every parish council meeting and official occasions which are attended on behalf of the parish.

WEBSITE BLIP: Problems with the county council’s planning website are still being encountered.

Coun Gilson said: “I am still finding little or no information of any use to me about planning.”

The council is continuing to receive paper copies of decision notices at the moment.

BOLLARD PLAN: A bollard could be put up in Wellstrand to stop too many vehicles accessing the Riverside.

Coun Bridgett has been approached by residents concerned about the number of people using the street for access.

Keys would be given to residents and allotment-holders who need access.

But Coun Bridgett added that nothing has been decided and officers at Northumberland County Council are looking into the possibilities.

NEW CHANCE: A second opinion is being sought on the removal of eight trees in the village.

Coun Reynalds said he is seeking more advice on the health of trees in the centre of the village and the churchyard.

“Following that, we can get phase one of the works out,” he said.

The council will get three quotes for it, as it is likely to cost around £2,000.

SLOW PROGRESS: Slow progress is being made on plans for a bus shelter in the village.

Coun Bridgett said that a ‘positive’ meeting was held with the Queen’s Head Hotel and Punch Taverns is now being consulted about putting up the shelter.

IN BRIEF: Brewery Lane is to be closed for three evenings from October 24 for resurfacing; sites have been agreed for two new dog bins in the village; councillors’ contact details have been put up on the parish council’s notice board; grants of around £200 have been given to 36 children from the Thomlinson’s Trust.