Conservatives call for remaining Portas money to be guaranteed to Berwick


Conservatives in Northumberland have called on the Labour administration at Northumberland County Council to guarantee the remaining money from the match fund for the Berwick Portas Pilot, which is just less than £70,000.

Last week, it was revealed that Steve Mason, the Chief Executive of NCC had written to Berwick Town Council, pulling the plug on the troubled project.  According to figures, attached to the letter, £78,235.13 of the Portas funds has been spent, £52,716.10 allocated, leaving £69,049.77 unspent.  Now the leader of Northumberland Conservatives, Peter Jackson, has said that it would be a "travesty" if Berwick did not get the benefit of the remaining money and has called on the administration to ring fence it for the Town.

Peter Jackson said; "I cannot express how much I feel the residents of Berwick have been let down, once again, by this County Council.  The administration need to take responsibility for their role in the troubles which the Berwick Portas Pilot has faced and guarantee that every penny will be honoured.  Anything less would be a travesty and a further slap in the face for residents.  This money is small beer compared to the tens of millions being poured into Labour's heartlands of Blyth and Ashington so there can be no justification whatsoever to take this money away from the people of Berwick".

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed, has added her voice to calls for Northumberland County Council to honour the remaining funding for the Berwick Portas Pilot.

"It is one thing Northumberland County Council wanting to change how the project is delivered and applications assessed but another pulling it altogether.  It is very important that these funds are not lost to Berwick and I urge the County Council to work with me, as they are doing so in order to find a long term solution to coach parking, the Town council and the residents of Berwick in order to ensure that the money is secured and allocated in a way which befits the original purposes behind the the Portas pilots"