Warkworth Parish Council: Flood gates, drains, gritting and speeding

Warkworth's flood-defence wall. 'Picture by Jane Coltman
Warkworth's flood-defence wall. 'Picture by Jane Coltman

Flood gates at The Butts will be closed during the winter, following concerns from residents, chairman Coun Jeff Watson said.

He told members that the defences would be shut permanently out of season and then reopened in early spring.

He said: “The Environment Agency was approached by residents who were saying that they were worried and wanted peace of mind. The residents said ‘could we not just close the gates over the winter?’ and the Environment Agency said yes.

“The gates will reopen in March and, in the summertime, they will close them if there is a certain series of warnings.”

One member told the meeting that some people have said that there has been more dog mess on the road since the gates have been closed.

Meanwhile, Coun John Hobrough raised concerns about bankside erosion following the recent floods, as well as an exposed sewerage pipe in the area.

He said: “Along the area between The Stanners and Bridge End House, the bank has caved in. A further foot has gone from that area.

“The parish seat which was a metre away from the bank is now one foot away and there will be more to come. That area is eroding in such a way that given time it will affect the wall of the church. It is time something is done about an erosion which will affect a lot of area.”

The parish council will write to land owners Northumberland Estates, the Environment Agency and the water board.

Drains and gritting concerns

Concerns have been raised about the poor state of the area’s drains, while parish councillors want part of the village added to the gritting route.

Speaking at last Thursday’s meeting and reflecting on the drains, Coun John Lilley said: “The drains are ineffective because the drainage system, in my opinion, is partially or largely bunged up.”

Coun chairman Jeff Watson said that the matter should be investigated.

Meanwhile, the issue of gritting was raised during the meeting and one member stated that the Morwick Road junction with Guilden Road was like an ice rink. The parish council is going to request a grit bin for that area. The parish council will also ask the county council to add the stretch from the top of Beal Bank up to the first school and to the end of the Morwick Road to the gritting route.

Chairman Coun Jeff Watson said: “It is disappointing to see that Morwick Road to the school is not gritted, especially with the extra amount of houses and because of the school. We hope to see this added to the gritting route in the future.”

A grit bin on Castle Street, which was removed at the request of residents because it was unsightly, is to be reinstated. It will be placed one property up from where it was located previously. Coun John Hobrough said that Dial Place can be lethal in the winter and a lot of elderly people use this area.

Beal Bank speeding fears

The parish council wants to arrange a meeting with police inspector Paul Truscott about speeding issues on Beal Bank.

A recent survey report showed that a large number of vehicles were travelling at speeds in excess of the limit in the area.

A police officer was due to attend last Thursday’s meeting to discuss the issue, but was unable to attend.

Towards the end of last year, members had raised concerns about the increase of heavy traffic passing through Warkworth.

However, at last month’s meeting, councillors noted that the large vehicles were not travelling through the village as often as previously.

In January, members also agreed to a accept a quote of £2,600 to extend the grass cell car park at The Stanners. The work should be done once the areas have dried sufficiently, preferably before Easter.

State of road criticised: Coun Helen Wilson has criticised the state of the road to the Coquet Shore Base Trust, at The Braid, Amble. She said: “It is horrible and it is an eyesore.” Coun Sally Black agreed, saying that it is ‘very dangerous in the dark’. Coun Wilson also raised concerns about the ‘very bad’ state of the footpath at Woodlands.

Donation for work: The parish council has agreed to donate £2,000 towards the cost of repairing the footpath between the steps at Warkworth Castle and the village cricket pavilion. The county council is trying to obtain the relevant consent and says that April will be the earliest time that work could start. The parish council donation will also go towards the cost of installing a handrail and work to add extra stone to a nearby kissing gate. Councillors also agreed to donate £100 to Alnwick Playhouse and £60 to community magazine The Pelican.

Next parish council meeting: The British Legion Room, Memorial Hall, Warkworth, on Thursday, March 3, at 6.30pm.