Wooler Parish Council round-up: Tendering debate, community plan and Christmas event

The play area in Scott's Park, Wooler. Picture by Jane Coltman
The play area in Scott's Park, Wooler. Picture by Jane Coltman

A discussion on tendering processes led to one of the councillors withdrawing his quote for the re-fencing of the play area in Scott’s Park.

Coun Catherine Dunn asked for the issue to be on the agenda after members of the public had raised it, pointing out that ‘a lot of work was going to a member of the parish council’.

The council’s policy, in line with guidance, requires three or more quotes to be sought if the work totals more than £500.

However, Coun Robert Donkin withdrew his tender for the play park, adding: “There seems to be a lot of animosity. All the things I have done, you have always had a price and you have discussed it when I’ve left the room.”

It was agreed to leave the £500 limit in place, but to review jobs continually as they come in.

Ian Atkinson won the contract to re-fence the Scott’s Park play area as his quote was not only cheaper, but also better met the council’s brief.

○ Wooler’s Neighbourhood Plan is moving on at pace and an update was provided to parish councillors this week.

A steering group was formed in summer of 2016 and just over a year later, a first draft of the document has been produced.

Its vision is sustaining Wooler into the future, based on five inter-related themes – landscape, townscape and heritage; local economy; housing; community facilities; and accessibility.

The next steps will see the steering group and parish council discuss the first draft before a pre-submission draft is written, by January or February next year.

If all goes to plan, this would mean the document would be submitted to the county council in May 2018.

○ A Glendale Community Christmas event, which will see people meet for breakfast, lunch and the Queen’s speech is being planned.

Jane Pannell told members about what was being planned for the Christmas Day event for those that find the festive period a difficult or lonely time for whatever reason.

So far, there are 17 people lined up to attend and offers of food, activities and support have been coming in too.

Jane said: “If it comes off, I think it’s something that people might want to buy into in future years.”

Meanwhile, arrangements are being finalised for the Christmas Lights coffee morning, at 10am on Saturday, October 28, at the Glendale Hall. Plans are also being made for this year’s carol service.

○ Coun Anthony Murray has organised a trip to The Sill, the recently-opened National Park centre, to take a tour and to discuss how visitors can be encouraged to venture further north.

○ Called in to help when the parish council was left without a cleaner for the bus-station toilets, the county council only deducted £400 from the £2,000 given each year to the parish, for which the chairman was grateful.

○ Police said that there were four reported crimes in Wooler since the last meeting, ‘not bad going for the back end of summer’. The reported incidents were harassment, an assault in a pub and two verbal disagreements.

○ The parish council is to invite a planning officer to come and talk about what is and isn’t appropriate in terms of signs on the High Street, after a recent plan was refused. Traders will be invited to the meeting.