Wooler Parish Council round-up: Poaching, gritting and superfast broadband

Coun Mark Mather
Coun Mark Mather

Parish-council chairman Mark Mather raised concerns about a number of poaching incidents in and around Wooler.

He said there has been a spate in the area over the last fortnight or so, which also included vandals driving through crops, causing hundreds of pounds of damage.

Coun Mather added: “There seems very little that the police can do when it comes to poaching, but so much damage is being caused.

“I have a meeting arranged with the police to discuss the way they are responding to these sorts of incidents.

“The Wooler police response has been excellent, but if you get an officer from outside the area, it doesn’t seem to be working and the FarmWatch phone line still doesn’t seem to be a 24-hour operation.”

○ A winter gritting initiative has been suggested as part of parish-precept discussions.

Chairman Mark Mather said: “Wooler’s footpaths are gritted Monday to Friday, but one of my bugbears is that the county council doesn’t do it until 9am and there is no service on a Saturday and Sunday.

“Why don’t we use some funds to provide some form of service on a Saturday and Sunday in the event of snow?

“The county council might be able to offer us some salt and we could use a local contractor to grit agreed routes.”

The parish council needs to agree on its 2018/19 precept at the start of next year.

○ Parish-council chairman Mark Mather raised concerns about a number of poaching incidents in and around Wooler.

He said there has been a spate in the area over the last fortnight or so, which also included vandals driving through crops, causing hundreds of pounds of damage.

Coun Mather added: “There seems very little that the police can do when it comes to poaching, but so much damage is being caused.

“I have a meeting arranged with the police to discuss the way they are responding to these sorts of incidents.

“The Wooler police response has been excellent, but if you get an officer from outside the area, it doesn’t seem to be working and the FarmWatch phone line still doesn’t seem to be a 24-hour operation.”

○ Superfast broadband is available in Wooler – that is the message from iNorthumberland.

Sylvia Pringle, the county council’s business and community engagement officer, said: “Wooler is in a good position and there is full coverage.”

She said that two cabinets – one at the bottom of High Street and another at the bottom of The Peth – had been full, but are now taking orders.

She said that there were other cabinets throughout the village, including one at Haugh Head. She encouraged as many people as possible to take advantage of the broadband. The meeting heard that people might need to upgrade to access superfast broadband, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will pay more.

For details, visit www.inor thumberland.org.uk

○ Coun Anthony Murray is waiting for more information, following calls to replace the cobbles along Ryecroft Way with a footpath. He said: “I don’t know what we can do about it at the moment, but once I know more, we will see where we can go with it.”

○ A resident has complained about buses damaging a footpath at the south end of Weetwood Avenue, Coun Kevan Curry reported. Coun Robert Donkin said it isn’t a new issue and is caused by vehicles parking too near to the junction, forcing buses onto the pavement.

○ Wooler’s Christmas lights switch-on takes place at 4.30pm on Sunday, with events throughout the day. Thanks have been given to everyone who supported the Christmas lights coffee morning, raising £370. The carol service is on December 12, at 6.30pm, at St Mary’s Church.

○ A kissing gate just past the stables at the top end of Cheviot Street has been barred, Coun Curry said. The matter will be reported to the county council. Coun Catherine Dunn said that the footpath halfway down The Peth is falling away and is in a dreadful condition.

○ Representatives developing the Wooler Neighbourhood Plan will be meeting the consultant in December. The group also needs to sort out a constitution.

○ The next Wooler Parish Council meeting takes place on Monday, December 18, at the Cheviot Centre.