Wooler Parish Council

Store plans raise same concerns

MEMBERS felt that plans for the expansion of a store raise the same issues as the recently-approved supermarket plans.

In their comments on the Farm to Freeze plans, the parish council will ask for an independent impact assessment study as was carried out during the application for the supermarket at Ferguson’s Yard.

While members appreciate that the store is an existing business, the plans include a new cafe/restaurant which may have an effect on the High Street.

Coun Robert Tait highlighted that the same issues of connectivity with the High Street need to be raised as well as a request for money through a section 106 agreement to boost the town centre.

Other issues raised include access for delivery lorries and increased traffic flow close to a difficult junction on South Road.

Coun Alfreda Hindmarsh said: “I think this will have a bigger effect on the High Street because it’s got a cafe/restaurant.”

Chairman Coun Joyce Robertson said: “The building is an improvement on what’s there now. Having said that it’s come down to the same thing as Ferguson’s Yard – the building that may be there is an improvement but it’s down to the impact on the High Street. Unlike Ferguson’s Yard this is already a long-standing Wooler business.”

Coun Tait pointed out that the retail space in the Ferguson’s Yard plans was reduced to an amount that the impact study suggested Wooler could take, and that these new plans would add more.

Coun Hindmarsh said that people will drive through on the A697 and stop before carrying on their way and ignoring the High Street.

However Coun Robertson said: “What’s letting people stop there is they can park, you can’t park on the High Street.”

Following the discussion, Coun Tait requested that the parish council contact the county council planning department in order to be involved in any discussions for money for Wooler from the developers of Ferguson’s Yard.

COUNTY bosses are coming to Wooler for a meeting today to discuss the delegation of local services.

Leader of Northumberland County Council Jeff Reid and Terry Garnick, neighbourhood services area manager, will meet with some members at 10am to talk about what services the parish council may take on in the future.

Coun Robertson had requested that the county provide details of costings and what areas need to be covered.

Coun Tait said that they also need details of items such as risk assessments and insurance costs before any further steps can be taken.

Referring to how the services would be paid for, Coun Tait explained that the parish council would have to raise its precept to cover costs, adding that the county council cannot raise its council tax so it wants the parishes to do it.

Coun Rosanna Reed said: “Whatever happens, it’s the residents that pay. It’s the people of Wooler that pay and that’s us.”

Coun Karl Wait asked why the county council representatives couldn’t come to a parish council meeting.

“Why have they come during the day?” he said. “I would like to be there but I can’t during the day.”

THE parish council is to talk to the county council with a view to producing a snow action plan for future periods of adverse weather.

Coun Roberston said: “It would be good to get an action plan in situ before we next have snow, if at all.”

Coun Tait said: “The parish council needs to put to county what we would like. There’s got to be a lot of self-help in this kind of thing.”

Coun Alan Roberston said: “You need to get a mix of county and volunteers working together.”

It was agreed that the issue would be raised at today’s local services meeting.

AN electrician is to check all the fuse boxes to ensure that the lights will work at Christmas.

Members also agreed to allow the pantomime group to plan an event to coincide with the lights switch-on.

Coun Hindmarsh said: “Last year the lights at the top of the High Street weren’t on. Who is responsible for checking them?

“More and more places like Belford and Bamburgh are making it into a community event when the lights come on. I know this year the pantomime group have kept a bit of money to do sometihing. The reason I’m raising it now is to get things in motion.”

Coun Tait said there was nothing wrong with the lights, but there were problems with the fuses. He added that the system in Wooler did not allow for the lights to be turned on at once with one switch though.

THE parish council is to look at opening up the Parish Pump newsletter to allow community groups and events to be included.

This would involve changing the council’s standing orders to allow items other than parish council news to appear.

Members also agreed to contact Farm to Freeze about its delivery boys to see if they can deliver it to residents.

Coun Reed said: “Everybody should get one.”

Coun Hindmarsh said: “It didn’t work last time leaving it in shops.”

The Parish Pump will come out at the start of July and December.

A PLUMBER had to be called to fix a leak in the toilets at Scott’s Park. Coun Reed called D Leslie from Berwick, and said: “I feel we should identify a plumber to use even if it is Leslie’s.”

l THE new lights on South Road between the bridge and the caravan park have not been switched on.

l COUN Robertson informed the council that the potholes on Oliver Road have still not been repaired.

l THE parish council wants the paddling pool to be filled in because someone could trip on the concrete lip and fall in. The gates that were supposed to be installed by the county council have not been done.

l MEMBERS agreed to make the same donation to Community Action Northumberland as last year.

l THE next meeting will take place in the Cheviot Centre on Monday, May 23, at 7pm.