Wooler Parish Council round-up: Farmwatch, shop fronts and mobile banking

Wooler Parish Council chairman Mark Mather.
Wooler Parish Council chairman Mark Mather.

Wooler Parish Council chairman Mark Mather has criticised a ‘reduced and poorer’ Farmwatch service, aimed at tackling rural crime.

He said that the number which is listed to report an incident is for the Berwick station, which has seen a reduction in its opening hours and now closes at 5pm.

Coun Mather said: “I have rung twice now about specific vehicles and each time there has been no answer. It is a poorer service now. We used to get a text about an incident 20 minutes after it happened.

“It’s no good sending an email about it five days later, saying have you seen this van.”

PC Curtis Ritchie said he would look into it and urged people to sign up to YourNorthumbria, a free community messaging system giving latest crime notifications. Visit www.yournorthumbria.org

l A resident has criticised the look of two shop frontages in Wooler.

The concerned local hit out at Fry Fry and Cindy & Millie’s, saying their signage was garish, ugly and out of keeping with the rest of the high street.

Coun Rachel Sinton agreed. She said: “This reflects the opinion of a lot of people in Wooler. It is a conservation area, after all.”

The resident has also contacted the county council about her concerns.Coun Mather said it was an issue for County Hall, as the parish council has ‘no authority over signage’.

County and parish councillor Anthony Murray said: “It is up to county-council planners, they’ll look at it. If these premises have gone against legislation, they’ll be made to change it.”

l Councillors have raised concerns about the future use of potential new apartments in Wooler.

There is currently a planning application to turn the former Ryecroft Hotel into flats and build a pair of semi-detached bungalows.

Questioning it, Coun Mather said: “It doesn’t say what the end use will be; whether they will be holiday lets or second homes, for example?”

A planning statement, submitted with the application, says the proposal aims to redevelop the disused hotel ‘into a small scale and high quality residential development.’

l The Bank of Scotland will provide a mobile bank in Wooler after its branch shuts in the village on Monday, October 23. The plan is to come to Wooler on a Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, for a few hours each time, operating from the bus station car park.

l Volunteers are wanted to join Wooler’s Community Speedwatch scheme. Currently, there is only one residents involved and the initiative needs more to continue. Anyone who is interested in helping out should send an email to woolerparishcouncil@yahoo.co.uk
l Wooler’s Neighbourhood Plan is taking shape. Coun Shirley Mills said: “We are hoping to have the first draft of the plan ready very soon. The vision has been put together by community feedback and themes in the plan include housing, heritage and the local economy.”

l A fund-raising coffee morning, in aid of Wooler’s Christmas lights, will be held on Saturday, October 28, at the village’s Glendale Hall. It will start at 10am. Organisers are looking for donations for the raffle and the tombola, as well as people to help out on the day.

l The next Wooler Parish Council meeting will be held on Monday, September 25, at 7pm. It will take place in the village’s Cheviot Centre. Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting. For more details about the council, visit www.wooler.org.uk/woolerpc