Saturday, 1 June 2013

Northumberland Labour Group are pleased that one true 'Pinch Point' will get assistance from the Coalition Government but are angry that we have been asked to use this valuable resource to repair highway that should have been directly funded by Government.

Coalition uses traffic flow improvement cash to assist Highways Repair.

Northumberland Labour Group are pleased that one true 'Pinch Point' will get assistance from the Coalition Government but are angry that we have been asked to use this valuable resource to repair highway that should have been directly funded by Government.

Ovingham Bridge a genuine 'pinch point' problem has had funding assistance in this round, but £4.99M that should have been forthcoming directly from Government to fund the B6344 Weldon Bridge to Rothbury, has been hijacked from 'pinch point' to repair the landslip on this road.

Grant Davey Leader of Council said: " Following a visit from Coalition Transport Secretary Patrick McGloughlin the Department of Transport should have pulled out all the stops and directly funded this vital artery for the people of the Coquet Valley, instead the Minster hijacked the cash from the 'Pinch Point' fund. 'Pinch Point' cash is issued to keep traffic flowing in areas locked down primarily by volume or stress on the highway. Ovingham Bridge is one such stressed area, our other two areas of greatest need from a primary pinch point perspective are Cowpen Road and Laverock Hall Road both in Blyth where we have standing traffic on a regular and ongoing basis affecting commerce in the Town. I believe this decision shows how austerity for the North comes first and people second in the Coalition's view of things."

Two north Northumberland councillors have taken up senior roles as part of the new Labour administration at County Hall.

Two of ‘our’ councillors to sit at top table of authority
County Council election. Scott Dickinson and Robert Arckless.
Northumberland Gazette
Published on 31/05/2013 12:00
Two north Northumberland councillors have taken up senior roles as part of the new Labour administration at County Hall.
Last week’s first meeting of the new council saw a series of political rows, as reported in the Gazette, but Coun Scott Dickinson, member for the new Druridge Bay ward, was elected to the new position of business chairman.
Amble’s Coun Robert Arckless is the new board member for children’s services.
Coun Dickinson will be responsible for chairing monthly meetings of the full council, but says he will ‘have a heavy and important role within the authority in addition to that’.
“It is my main job to ensure that the operations of the council run smoothly and the business of our administration is dealt with in a coordinated and efficient manner to ensure the smooth running of the council,” he said.
“As the representative for Druridge Bay and indeed my colleague from Amble being lead on children’s services, it is clear that north Northumberland members are among the most senior politicians within the council ensuring that the vision of the council is not limited to the south-east corner.”
Coun Arckless said he was ‘very, very proud’ to be taking on his new role, which hesaid is so important because ‘it has an impact on every community and every family’ and the county faces somes ‘massive challenges’.
“I want to work with schools and communities to try to deliver a family of schools across the county,” he said. “We will face some real challenges, no doubt about it, and I don’t want to make any glib promises, but I do want to work with schools and with other members.”

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Friday, 31 May 2013

We won’t ignore north of county, says new leader

New county council leader Grant Davey says the administration will seek to avoid a County Hall-centric policy.

The Labour administration now leading Northumberland County Council has vowed to make sure the rural north is not forgotten.

Council leader Grant Davey said: “We’re very conscious that the previous administration pursued a County Hall-centric policy  but we believe a unitary council doesn’t have to mean Morpeth makes all of the decisions.
“I’m also keen to make sure that we deliver first-class frontline services across the whole county and I’ve asked officers to come up with proposals that will help make this a reality.”
At the first meeting of the full council, three Independent councillors agreed to support the Labour group to form a majority administration for the authority.
Coun Davey was voted in as the new leader of the council and councillor Dave Ledger as the new deputy leader.
Coun Davey added: “We were elected to deliver affordable housing  for our communities and we’ll be building over 350 in the north of the county to tackle a housing waiting list of over 12,000.
“We’ll also be more proactively marketing our tourist destinations and we’ll be coming up with a Rural Action Plan which will look at how the authority can help new and existing businesses in tough economic times.
“We want to encourage new businesses and new jobs because we recognise it’s not good enough to have the lowest income per head in the region. We’ll be coming forward with a number of plans over the next six months which will kick-start Northumberland and we’re keen to work with communities, so our plan for free parking across the county will only be a reality if local communities say they want it.
“The coming years will throw up some tough challenges and it’s clear that government funding will continue to shrink, but I will be seeking to work with MPs and interested parties to make sure Northumberland’s voice, whether that’s north, south-east or west, is heard.
“We’re keen to work across the board and we’ve already demonstrated this by working with the newly-formed Independent group on the county council.”
In the north area, John Taylor and Dougie Watkin remain chair and vice chair of the planning committee, while the north area committee will be chaired by Steven Bridgett with Heather Cairns as vice chair.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Labours Civic and Culture team of Councillors Kath Nisbet, Susan Davey, Laura Pidcock, Kathy Graham, Eileen Cartie and Val Tyler opening Cramlington Library 27/05/2013


News Post Leader
Published on 28/05/2013 14:47
A brand new library and customer information centre has opened in Cramlington this week – featuring the first self-service technology of its kind in the country.
Northumberland County Council says the new facility, next to Concordia at Manor Walks, will streamline services by bringing the majority of council services under one roof.
Residents are able to borrow books, use computers, pay council bills, get advice and information, register births and deaths and hire community rooms – all in one building.
As well as the latest self-service technology – which combines a payment point with a simple self-service library check-in facility – there will be public access to computers and free Wi Fi, a study area, charging points, seating and quiet areas and a brand new stock of books and DVDs.
Coun Val Tyler, policy board member for infrastructure and culture, said: “An extension has been made to the building which now houses a dedicated new young people’s and children’s library – the first of its kind in the county.
“The corridor leading to this library is lit up with stunning interactive graphics and the layout of the room is unconventional and fun.
“We have totally transformed the building and the way we deal with our customers. It is fresh, modern and has some ground breaking features but our whole focus remains on the customer.
Opening hours are 9am to 7pm Monday to Friday and 9.30am to 2pm on Saturdays.

“It was clear that the original scheme introduced by the previous administration was flawed, ill-thought out and failed to acknowledge the huge distances involved in working for the authority.

Council makes U-turn over car allowance
New rulers to reinstate payments
An National allowance paid to council workers in Northumberland using their own cars is to be reinstated.
Liberal Democrat leaders at Northumberland County Council scrapped the payments before their
defeat at the polls earlier this month.
The move resulted in members of trade unions voting to take industrial action, including possible strikes, with action short of a strike – those effected refusing to use their cars for work  having already begun.
A mass rally was also held at the council’s County Hall base.
Now, the authority’s new Labour leaders have announced they will be reinstating the allowance.
The cost-cutting move involved doing away with annual lump sum allowances ranging from £850 to £1,200 paid to hundreds of workers who use their own cars to perform their duties.
It also involved reducing the mileage rate paid to employees such as social workers, planning officials, animal health inspectors, mobile caretakers, admin assistants and school support officers.
Union Unison said the move affected between 400 and 500 staff, and its ballot last month showed 70% supportfor strike action and 80% backing foraction short of a strike.
The latter began shortly after this month’s elections, with members refusing to use their cars for work.
The rally then took place at County Hall, with leader of the Labour group which triumphed at the polls, Grant Davey, a speaker.
He offered talks with the unions on the issue aimed at averting strikes, after last week’s full council meeting.
Now, following the meeting and those talks, the Labour group has confirmed the allowances will be reinstated.
Both the administration and the unions will consult on a new mileage-based scheme which takes into account miles travelled.
Coun Davey, now leader of the authority, said: “It was clear that the original scheme introduced by the previous administration was flawed, ill-thought out and failed to acknowledge the huge distances involved in working for the authority.
“It was also clear that too many categories of workers were going to be excluded from the schemeso we’ve decided it’s right to revisit the scheme and start from scratch.
“Our county spans a geographical area roughly the size of southern Cyprus and if our employees remove their willingness to participate in the scheme then services will suffer.
“At the centre of the new proposals is the principle of miles involved in the employee’s employment, not the grade of worker,and we think that is a fairway to tackle this issue.”
Unison representative Ian Fleming said: “We’re pleased that the new council has accepted the basic problem of lack of fairness in the previous administration’s essential car allowance
changes.
“It can't be right that an employee is penalised for using their own transport while delivering services for the council and taxpayer. The proposals will go out
to formal consultation and we’re cautiously optimistic that a fair settlement can be reached.”
Brian Daniel
☎ 07733 002 822
brian.daniel@ncjmedia.co.uk

Monday, 27 May 2013

I haven't been informed yet about how the incident has affected production, but I can assure Egger that our business team will be available if help is required."

Last Nights fire at the Egger plant in Hexham proved to the newly installed Labour Council in County Hall that their fire brigade and its emergency plans for handling incidents of this sort are sound.

The fire broke out at about 10:30pm on Sunday and at one point 60 firefighters from Northumberland and surrounding brigades attended the incident, the cause of which has not yet been identified.

500 people work at the timber product plant. Leader of the Council Grant Davey said: " I am pleased that no firefighters or employees of Egger have been injured during the incident. I expect to be fully briefed by Chief Bennett on Tuesday morning about the matter. I'd like to thank all of our firefighters and those from neighbouring brigades for the professional way in which this incident was handled." " I haven't been informed yet about how the incident has affected production, but I can assure Egger that our business team will be available if help is required."

Councillor Dickinson, Northumberland County Councils business chairperson said: " I was very pleased to be asked by Hospice Care North Northumberland's local volunteers to be part of this event,

On Saturday 26th May 2013 Councillor Scott Dickinson started and I presented the prizes for the Druridge Bay 10K run in aid of Hospice Care North Northumberland who have therapy centres in Both Berwick, Hazel Marsden House and Alnwick at Castleside House in Narrowgate.

The well entered race was won by local athlete Karl Taylor of Amble, who works for Northumberland County Council at their Alnwick depot.

Councillor Dickinson, Northumberland County Councils business chairperson said: " I was very pleased to be asked by Hospice Care North Northumberland's local volunteers to be part of this event, it was so well attended with over 300 running including my sister Gemma who ran with her group of friends and had a wonderful time. HCNN is a very worthwhile charity helping people right across the Berwick constituency and Druridge Bay country park is the jewel in the crown of the Councils countryside service many of the runners commented that this is one of the nicest events they regularly take part in. A number of the contestants will be back here on the 7th July for the Druridge Bay Triathlon"

Notes for Editors

Hospice Care North Northumberland can be contacted on 01665 606515

Their Community and Events Officer is Rebecca Taylor r.taylor@hospicecare-nn.org.uk


Druridge Bay Country Park Events



Councillor Dickinson and I both agree that we would not like to travel over the B6341 in winter time. We will be pulling out all the stops to ensure the remedial work is completed as soon as possible."

On Bank Holiday Monday 2013 the newly installed Labour Team at County Hall paid a visit to Rothbury town fair. The Leader of Council, Grant Davey and Business Chairperson of Council Scott Dickinson caught up with local member for Rothbury Ward, Councillor Steven Bridgett who was in the stocks whilst visitors and local people pelted him with wet sponges. He underwent this ordeal to raise much needed cash for Rothbury's youth project. Grant Davey said: " Steven is thoroughly dedicated to his community, he lives and breathes to ensure his patch is recognised and Rothbury Ward is never forgotten in the Council chamber at County Hall. Steven asked us up today to see how urgent the Highway Repairs to the B6344 are. Councillor Dickinson and I both agree that we would not like to travel over the B6341 in winter time. We will be pulling out all the stops to ensure the remedial work is completed as soon as possible."