Councillors in Wooler have still not agreed to take on responsibility for the village’s play areas as there are issues to resolve.
Not least among them is a new question which has arisen regarding the ownership of one of the parks.
The parish council owns Scott’s Park so the new arrangement would simply involve maintaining, insuring and carrying out safety checks on the play equipment.
At the December meeting, Emma Evans, green spaces officer at Northumberland County Council, said that Bryson’s Park was owned by the local authority and therefore the parish could either take on the management of the park or look at the leasehold/freehold, which would incur legal costs.
However, at the parish council’s January meeting, Coun Alfreda Hindmarsh said that Bryson’s Park was given to the community of Wooler by the Bryson family and therefore didn’t belong to the county council.
The clerk is to take up the issue with Ms Evans and the county council.
If the county council continued to carry out weekly inspections at both play areas, it would cost the parish around £1,600 a year. It would cost another £500 to £1,000 in legal costs to take on the leasehold/freehold for Bryson’s Park.
Taxpayers’ bills set to increase
Councillors voted to raise their precept – the portion of the overall council-tax bill which goes to the parish or town council – by more than £4,000, from £14,000 this year to £18,195 in 2015/16.
Some members were concerned that this was quite a large hike, but it was claimed that the increase would only result in a rise in a band A property bill of £4.50 a year.
Much of the extra money is to cover additional expenses being passed onto parish and town councils, such as play areas, while a review of public toilets is also being started by the county council.