Trader feels like he is being ‘singled out’ over street furniture

Tomlinson's Cafe & Bunkhouse, Rothbury
Tomlinson's Cafe & Bunkhouse, Rothbury

A trader feels like he is being ‘singled out and targeted’, as part of discussions over street furniture in the village.

Chris Oakey, of Tomlinson’s Cafe & Bunkhouse, said that during the parish council’s talks about the issue, his business has been the only one to have been named publicly by certain members of the council, despite concerns about ‘three businesses’.

He said that he had also obtained information from the county council which showed that the only complaints received regarding street furniture were from Coun Jeff Sutton and Coun Avril Graham, or anonymously, and they ‘only regarded the name Tomlinsons’.

He said that he felt that two parish councillors had a ‘personal vendetta’ and said that one member (Coun Graham) is ‘abusing the rules’ because she has displayed a mannequin and a board outside her shop on the village’s ‘narrowest pavement’.

Coun Graham said that the complaints she had made to the county council had been done privately and not as a councillor. She added: “I had my mannequin there three times in two-and-a-half years and I did that to make a point. It is not there any more and my board is on the wall.”

Coun Sutton said that the county council, who made the street-furniture rules, had come out about a month ago to ask Tomlinsons to remove items of street furniture.

He said that he had received three complaints from villagers, not concerns about three business ‘which is a hell of a lot different’.

Members voted by a majority verdict to tell the county council that the parish no longer has an issue with street furniture.