Rothbury Parish Council round-up

Coun Steven Bridgett
Coun Steven Bridgett
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There’s a chance that NHS dental services may return in Rothbury, according to county councillor Steven Bridgett.

In October, we reported that NHS England (Cumbria and the North East) had announced that operations were to cease at Coquetdale Dental Practice – which has centres in Rothbury and Hadston.

Due to personal circumstances, Simon Francis, who ran the surgeries, was no longer in a position to continue to deliver NHS dental services and therefore his contract ended.

At last Wednesday’s parish-council meeting, Coun Bridgett reported that NHS England had carried out testing of the market and asked dentists to express an interest, although it was not a formal tender.

He said that some expressions had been received by last week’s deadline.

• The parish council will pay £100 per year to any business in Rothbury which will allow the public to use its toilets.

Similar schemes, sometimes called You’re Welcome, operate in others places in the county, such as Alnwick and Morpeth.

The offer follows last month’s decision by the parish council not to reopen the Riverside toilets, with a majority of members voting to demolish the block.

Couns Avril Graham and Jeff Sutton expressed their reservations about this proposal, reiterating their opposition to closing the WCs, which has also sparked concerns among some residents.

However, the closure decision was not revisited and a majority of councillors agreed to contact businesses with the £100 offer.

• The parish council agreed to look at using its noticeboard for more than just council business.

At last month’s meeting, a request had been made to use the red phonebox as a place for village leaflets and adverts, but last Wednesday, members decided this was not suitable.

However, the council is to look at using the back of the new noticeboard for a village map, which could highlight businesses, while notices from charities, community groups and local organisations, such as the Scouts or the Great North Air Ambulance, could be posted, subject to parish-council approval.

• ‘I’m still not convinced about the changes’ – that was Coun Bridgett’s view on the county council’s efforts during the recent snow and ice, adding that the authority is ‘still not responding quickly enough’. Coun Dawson raised concerns about paths not being treated.

• The council’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/Rothburyparish council – has now gone live. It was agreed at last month’s meeting to launch a page and last week, members agreed that updates on the toilets and the commemorative bed should be shared.

• Upon starting to look at the figures to set the precept for 2018/19, Coun Dawson called for some of the larger projects which have been put off for some years to be included. However, some of these would fall under the 10-year plan, for which there is money set aside.

• Development of the Mid Coquetdale Neighbourhood Plan will not be continued, after the parish council voted formally to abandon it. Coun Bridgett thought a public meeting needed to be held, but the clerk said that it only required the councils involved to vote on it.

• Members were informed by Coun Bridgett that the funding originally agreed by the county council for a new play area in Rothbury was still available. Northumberland Estates has agreed to provide a map of potential locations where the new park could be sited.