Iceland windfall could speed up glacial movement on high school

A court judgment in Iceland could mean a capital windfall for Northumberland County Council. Alnwick’s County Councillor, Gordon Castle, is making the case for any money returned to the council to be allocated to a rebuild of Duchess’ High School. Last week the Iceland Supreme Court ruled that deposits of UK local authorities in a collapsed Icelandic bank would be given priority status, meaning that authorities will have their reimbursements fast-tracked.

Local campaigner encourages people to have their say on home care

Local campaigner Anne-Marie Trevelyan is encouraging residents of North Northumberland to contribute their experience of receiving nursing care at home to an online survey. Northumberland LINk has teamed up with the Queens Nursing Institute to gather information on the experiences people have had of receiving nursing care at home.

Call made for Leader’s resignation after Lib Dems ban discussion of email scandal

The Chairman of Northumberland County Council has banned councillors from discussing an email in which the Council Leader says he will block a rebuild of the Duchess’ High School unless a Lib Dem parking policy is passed. The Lib Dem Chairman is now accused by opposition councillors of using his position to shield the Lib Dem Leader, Jeff Reid, from embarrassment. Leader of Northumberland Conservatives, Coun. Peter Jackson, attempted to propose a motion of censure against the Council Leader at a meeting discussing the parking strategy. The Chairman, after checking with the council solicitor, used a point of procedure to prevent the motion being proposed or debated.

Local campaigner calls for evidence on fuel poverty

A local campaigner is investigating whether residents of North Northumberland are able to access government grants for heating and insulating their homes. The Warm Front scheme provides heating and insulation improvements to households on certain income related benefits in homes that are poorly insulated or need new and more efficient gas and oil heating systems. However, if the cost of the work required is greater than the grant available (up to £6000 for oil systems), the remainder of the bill must be picked up by the resident.

Berwick Conservatives blast £1million annual parking tax

New figures have emerged showing that Northumberland County Council takes almost £1 million from Berwick-upon-Tweed in parking charges each year, whilst parking remains free in the urban South East of the county. The figures came to light as a new Lib Dem policy for parking was blocked at the County Council. The Lib Dem parking strategy has attracted controversy by seeking to delegate future decisions on parking charge levels to council staff, rather than councillors. It will now be discussed at a special meeting of the county council later this month.

Pressure increases for action on broadband speed

The Conservative opposition at Northumberland County Council has commented on news that internet speeds in the county are amongst the worst in the UK. Figures released by Ofcom show that Northumberland’s average internet speed is joint 140th out of 201 local authorities. More than 18% of homes receive speeds of less than 2MB per second and less than 10% of homes have access to superfast broadband. Leader of Northumberland Conservatives, Coun. Peter Jackson, recently criticised the Lib Dem administration of NCC for refusing to apply for Northumberland to be included in a pilot scheme for a £530 million government fund for improving rural broadband provision.

Rotting lamp post columns cost £1000 each to replace

The Conservative opposition on Northumberland County Council has criticised as a ‘disgraceful waste of money’ the replacement of rotting lamp posts that should have been serviced. In 2004, the then Labour run council cancelled a maintenance programme for lamp posts, which was not restarted by the Lib Dems when they came to power in 2009. Northumberland taxpayers now face a bill of more than £100,000 to remove scores of rusty lamp post columns across the county, after one collapsed in Cramlington.

Lib Dems defend unfair status quo on parking policy

The Lib Dem Administration of Northumberland County Council has refused to introduce a single regime for parking charges across the county. The Lib Dem council executive has accepted a new parking strategy following a period of public consultation. The strategy makes no move towards a single, fair regime of charges across the county.

Lib Dem investment snub for Alnwick High School

The Lib Dem administration of Northumberland County Council has announced £42 million of extra funding for three infrastructure projects in South East Northumberland. Northumberland Conservatives have expressed anger that the extra investment will not be put towards a rebuild of The Duchess’ High School in Alnwick. The £42 million is funded by extra borrowing over a four year period, and will be spent on Ashington Leisure Centre, a new road near Pegswood and a flood alleviation scheme in Morpeth.