Amble's growing population leads to renewed call for increase in number of councillors

Amble Town Council has repeated calls for more councillors to cater for its rising population.

Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 7:00 am

An increase in the number of Amble town councillors from nine to 11 was considered last year as part of a community governance review.

However, the proposal was rejected by Northumberland County Council.

Cllr Craig Weir, chairman of Amble Town Council, said: “They have said they’re going to wait until there are more properties built but I think that seems to be back to front."

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Amble harbour.

Cllr Jane Dargue said: “There are councils like Alnwick, for example, which have more councillors than us but the demographic between us is getting narrower and narrower in terms of population and houses.”

Cllr Helen Lewis added: “The review says you should take into account five years into the future, not making decisions on what is there now.

"That is what we tried to say – with all the planning permissions at the moment if they get built we are going to have two wards which would be massively bigger.”

"We’re already disproportionate and if more houses are built we will be at even more of a disadvantage.

"I would like more clarity, even if we can’t get it changed before the May elections.”

Cllr Jeff Watson, who is also county councillor for Amble West with Warkworth, said a new application could be made.

“Terry Clark’s (Amble) ward is almost 4,000 people because of the new Persimmon estate and that is very large,” he explained. “Mine is a bit bigger because I also have new estates.

"I know we are going to build more houses on my area and I know that Terry is going to get more on his area too so it would make absolute sense to put a new application in.”

Cllr Weir suggested that the town council abandons the current ward system with each councillor taking responsibility for issues which crop up regardless of their location.

It was agreed to investigate the issue in more detail and report back to the next meeting.

A bid to change the boundary with Warkworth Parish Council was previously rejected, while a change to the boundary with Hauxley Parish Council was approved.

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