Rothbury Parish Council round-up: Hospital protest, dog fouling and payphones

The protest at Rothbury Community Hospital.
The protest at Rothbury Community Hospital.

The parish council will try to save an under-threat payphone, which is in danger of being scrapped.

BT is planning to axe 179 public telephones in Northumberland, as part of a nationwide review, following a decline in usage over the last decade.

As part of this, the kiosk on Garleigh Road has been earmarked for removal.

But the parish council will stress the need for it to be saved, saying that it is needed for elderly residents and that mobile phone coverage in the area is ‘very poor’.

Coun Steven Bridgett, who recently stepped down as parish-council chairman due to his workload as Rothbury county councillor, dealing with issues such as the temporary inpatient ward closure at the village hospital, said: “I think we have to fight this and defend it. If you give someone an inch, they take a mile.

“If they are using usage figures over the last 12 months, it hasn’t been working so it can’t have been used. It has had to be repaired several times and we have pictures of it disconnected.”

Coun Bridgett said that a total of 13 payphones in his county-council division are proposed for the axe, as part of the review.

• Coun Steven Bridgett praised the number of objectors who braved the rain last Wednesday to demonstrate against the temporary closure of Rothbury Community Hospital’s inpatient ward. “It was attended by 150 to 200 people, which was fantastic,” he said. He will be letter-dropping residents to encourage them to attend a meeting about the closure next month.

• Concerns have been raised about dog fouling in Rothbury. The meeting heard that the gardener who attends to Beggars Rigg is finding the work difficult to do due to pet muck and has suggested a no dog-fouling sign be placed there. There is also not a dog bin in the area and the parish council will look into the issue. Clerk Claire Miller said that there was also a bin missing near the Addycombe play area, saying that it has disappeared.

• Progress is being made on developing a neighbourhood plan for the area. The meeting heard that an application has been submitted for grant funding and a planning consultant has been appointed.

• Members have agreed to hold the three separate committee meetings of the parish council on one night, instead of having them on different evenings each month. It means that the full parish meeting, as well as the planning and community services committee and finance and policy committee, will be held on the same evening, once a month.