ROTHBURY PARISH COUNCIL: Call for re-think on public loos

ROTHBURY Parish Council has been asked to re-think the demolition of public toilets on Riverside.

As the county council is transferring services to parish and town councils, it was said that the toilet block on Riverside was not ‘strategic’ and therefore would not be maintained by the county.

The parish council was told that unless they were willing to take the loos over, they would be demolished as they are not compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

However, Mr Murray said that the county council can not use that as an excuse.

“There is no need to close them down,” he said.

“Whoever is responsible it should be taken on board that there are things that can be done to keep them.

“There has been no consultation and that is by big bugbear.”

He said that the parish council should have consulted with the public, however Coun Dawson and Coun Reynalds said that no mention of consultation had been made.

Mr Murray added: “No local authority should use the DDA as an excuse to close down public toilets for public use.

“It would be interesting to find out what the cost of demolition would be, and if they could use that money to keep them open in the summer.”

The council agreed to look at the matter.

LIGHT FANTASTIC: More than £14,000 has been pledged for lights on Rothbury’s bridge by residents and organisations in the community.

Coun Bridgett said: “I have been quite taken aback since the last parish council meeting. I have been contacted by a number of residents and local organisations who want to pay for a light on the bridge.

“I didn’t think much could surprise me in this village anymore but this generosity has.

“With what I want to contribute and what we will hopefully get from Northumberland County Council we should be able to get all six lights on the bridge done.

“I will make sure that these families, organisations and individuals are marked as given donations when the lights are put up with a plaque of some sort.

“I would also like to do some kind of history board about the bridge to go near it.”

CRIME LOW: A police volunteer told the meeting that crime was still low in Rothbury.

One assault had taken place at the Newcastle House Hotel, a trailer was stolen from the county council yard at Riverside and allotments had been burgled.

An update was also given about the Speedwatch operation which saw 12 speeders clocked on two separate occasions.

Coun Bridgett added that a window on a first responder’s vehicle had been smashed that week.

Coun Joy Morton raised concerns about illegal camping on land at the Cow Haugh car park.

SEAT MAINTENANCE: Clarification is to be sought about the number of seats which are to be maintained by Northumberland County Council. The parish was given a map, with miniscule detail of seats and picnic benches, but councillors were unsure if it was correct.

TIME TO MEET: A Meeting was held about the church clock.

Couns Reynalds, Bridgett and Dawson met All Saints’ Church rector to discuss future work at the church.

Coun Reynalds said: “It was very positive. We agreed to have two meetings a year, six months apart, to exchange any information.”

POWER POINT: Northumberland National Park is waiting for a decision from highways about electric car charging points, the parish council heard.

Coun Dawson said that a decision is due soon as to whether the council’s highways department will agree.

BROADBAND BID: An update was given on Rothbury’s bid for superfast broadband.

Coun Bridgett said that 65 per cent of residents connected to the exchange have expressed an interest in the bid.

He said the biggest problem that the village will face is bringing the fibre optic cables to Rothbury from Morpeth.

The village is part of one of four bids from the county which has put in for the funding. He added that out of a pot of £20million, only £12million has been bid for.

SIGNS BACKED: The new Northumbria Police Chief Superintendent has given her backing to interactive speed signs in Rothbury.

Coun Bridgett has been asking for signs to be put up in his ward to deter speeders. He said local police are also in favour of the plans.

BUS REPRIEVE: A bus service which was due to be axed in April has been extended temporarily until September.

The 813 service on a Thursday, which is Rothbury’s only bus connection to Alnwick, was due to be stopped because of rising costs.

The county council has agreed to continue the service to give councils more time to put in a replacement.

NEXT MEETING: The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 11 at 7.15pm in the Parish Hall.