Positives in the village, but concerns over county’s role


Major works to the cemetery were one of the key projects highlighted at the annual meeting of North Sunderland Parish Council.

In his annual report, Coun Geoffrey Stewart, who was re-elected as chairman, said that the cemetery extension was now almost complete with a new road, turning point and water pipes in place.

However, he also reflected on the major complaints voiced to the county council regarding ‘the pitiful state of the ‘old’ cemetery pillars’ as well as its ‘cavalier approach’ to pruning the old yew trees.

He said that instead of the light pruning in springtime that was requested, the trees were ‘decimated and cut in half during the coldest part of the winter inflicting serious damage’.

This wasn’t the only criticism levelled at the county council, as Coun Stewart also referred to the state of the roads in the area and the relationship between the authority and parish councils.

“The current system continues to bring parish councils significant and frustrating challenges, both in the lack of clear, effective lines of communication, which we continue to encounter, and also the insidious way the county council is attempting to shift more and more responsibility and costs onto the parish councils,” he said.

One area where the county council may be in line for some praise was on the issue of parking.

Coun Stewart said that free parking for the first hour in the village ‘is welcomed and effective’, although he did add that there are still discussions to be had about the hourly rates.

But there were a number of positives for the parish that he talked about as well.

He was full of praise for the Christmas lights committee and their efforts each year as well as those of Shirley Wright, of the Young Rangers, and the village’s youth project in supporting the young people of Seahouses.

“The Community and Sports Centre upgrade has continued to prove its usefulness to our community with the new initiative of the Hub cinema surpassing all expectations,” he said.

“Ben Steppenbeck, the project manager, has done a wonderful job.”

Coun Stewart was also optimistic about the progress of the Neighbourhood Plan, working with the ‘linked communities’ of Beadnell and Bambugh.

Coun David Shiel was re-elected as vice-chairman, while the respective councillors will continue their roles as representatives of outside bodies.