Struggle continues with unitary council


Parish successes and the county council’s failings were the key themes of chairman Geoffrey Stewart’s annual report.

At Monday’s meeting of the North Sunderland Parish Council, at which Coun Stewart was elected for another year as chairman, he reflected on the key achievements and issues in the parish over the past year.

“The community and sports centre upgrade has been used to the maximum and feedback from everyone has been very positive,” he said. “However, the planned inclusion of the village library is still on the drawing board.

“This year has seen significant work done on the cemetery extension. The next phase is completed with the new road, turning point and laying of water pipes.”

Coun Stewart praised Complete Landscapes for their work, but pointed to complaints made by the parish to the county council regarding the ‘pitiful state’ of the old cemetery gates.

He also highlighted the great work of the festive light committee who provide the community with ‘a great deal of pleasure’, the efforts of the Cubs to plant the WI’s bulbs around the Diamond Jubilee trees at the entrance to the village and the work done by Shirley Wright with the Young Rangers.

But the county council was in line for criticism, firstly on account of ‘significant and dangerous sections of local roads requiring repairs’.

Coun Stewart also repeated his concerns for the issues from the marginalised areas of the county not being properly dealt with by a centralised council.

“The system continues to bring local 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 are attempting to shift more and more responsibility and costs onto the parish councils,” he added.