Gull mess makes street cleaning top priority for Berwick working group

Councillors have pleaded that the findings of a town centre working group are acted upon rather than being left to gather dust.

By Ian Smith
Friday, 3rd September 2021, 1:14 pm
Marygate, Berwick.
Marygate, Berwick.

Berwick Town Council’s recently-formed town centre working group has been created with the aim of enhancing the economic viability and appearance of the town centre.

Its initial report lists short-term goals for the next nine months, including improving the cleanliness of street surfaces which has been an issue over the summer.

It is acknowledged that the town's gull population has an impact on this and talks have been held with Northumberland County Council about the possibilities of power washing and improved cleaning.

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Marygate in Berwick.

The condition of bins, street clutter and deteriorating buildings is also noted.

The standard of the twice-weekly charter market is another issue, with concerns raised about its visual appearance and the lack of quality goods on sale.

Cllr Anne Forbes said: “I think the scope of the work is very good but I would hate to see this turn into another talking project without any hands-on. I am sick of people talking and nothing being shown for it.”

Town clerk Gareth Davies acknowledged that previous studies such as the 2010 Buchanan Report, which examined how to address town centre traffic issues, had never been implemented.

Gulls in Golden Square, Berwick.

"It was deemed too costly, too awkward and not everyone agreed that it would do the things it said it would, despite it being prepared by the leading traffic consultancy in the UK,” he explained.

"As Cllr Forbes said, you don’t need any more solutions which take forever to be delivered. There has to be an approach of what can we test for the here and now and how can we do it.”

Cllr Graham Brown added: “We don’t want this just to be a talking shop. It’s got to be turned into action.

"There are some quick wins there although things like empty shops can’t be solved overnight.

"The working group now needs to sit down and discuss what to do about each item.”

Using the market as an example, he said it was dominated by a particular type of vendor and lacked quality.

"It’s not a market you would travel far to come, especially compared to somewhere like Kelso which is fantastic,” he explained.

He suggested the market manager could be approached for discussions.

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