ALNWICK: County Hall

No more smoke and mirrors

The issue of County Hall is a bit like the EU. There are a lot of figures being thrown around about the costs of repairing the existing HQ and that of building a new one in Ashington.

The issue here, of course, is not what the people of Northumberland want. That doesn’t matter.

When the people of Northumberland made it very plain in the 2008 referendum to reject the option of a unitary authority, what happened? The ruling administration in Northumberland and central government ignored the vote and foisted a unitary authority upon us. Makes you wonder what will happen if the vote doesn’t go the Government’s way in June over Europe.

To get back to the issue, this is nothing more than a tussle between the Labour and Conservative groups at County Hall. Both know where their bread is buttered. If this is going to benefit Northumberland then both groups need to stop bickering, go on the road and provide the cold, hard facts to people to support the statements they are making. And I do mean the political groups, from the leaders down, not the council officers.

The people will be paying for refurbishment or re-build. So far, all we have had is smoke and mirrors. Time to show your heads above the trench.

I, for one, would like to know which individual first planted the seed of this idea, officer or member? There must be a minute somewhere.

Having been part of the system at one time as a councillor, and seeing the way things have been developing, I am now certain that party politics should have no place in local government. The very name speaks for itself ‘local’.

Local government should not be influenced by party policies emanating from an HQ in London. Instead, local politicians should listen to the people who vote for their ‘local’ representative.

How many ordinary Northumbrians are aware that if they successfully vote for a local Independent candidate that person’s committee membership will be severely limited unless they agree to align themselves to one of the major party groups? Not an easy decision to make if the reason they stood as an Independent was because they were at odds with the policies of those groups.

James Grant,

Widdrington Village