Jump to content
Malcolm Robinson

Councillor Robinson - January 2020

Recommended Posts

January 2020.

 

Have to start over again after my computer went into melt down and it had to be overwritten.

So Jan 2020 and it’s going to be quite a year!

 

First Monday and I had a site visit at Hexham and Morpeth to get to.  Hexham was the new School proposal and Morpeth was the Northgate development.  Loads of questions about both with most answered at site.

 

Today is the Strategic planning meeting hearing the applications we visited yesterday as well as others so it was always going to be an extended one!  The School one at Hexham was pretty straightforward but there were as always ancillary concerns to address.   Mine were to do with accessing the new site especially considering the new intake of pupils it will have.  One suggestion was about a drop off and pick up point for parents who took their kids to school privately.  This was dismissed by our head of planning, as was my suggestions about staggered start and finish times, but he did say it was a delicate balancing act.  I took exception to that and said I had suggested the exact same for the new school at Morpeth, across the road, but had found out later we actually have a policy in place which stops any drop off and pick up points in schools.   I asked how on earth it was a delicate balancing act when we had this policy in place?  I suggested this was actually discriminating against parents who for whatever reason have decided their children are safer getting to school that way.  This especially considering the access road which looks to be akin to the Kevi one at Morpeth.  Having said all that and argued back and forth with the planners, in debate I said I was happy to endorse this application because the school children in Hexham, as in the rest of Northumberland, deserve the best facilities for learning we can give them and this would at least give first class facilities, as the head and chair of the board of governors had told us.  I also had a bit to say about the design which I felt let the unique heritage of the Hexham Hydro building down, as I said it looks like you are allowing a series of concrete Lego blocks to surround it!

Next up was the Northgate application and again this was actively debated.  In fact one member was told if he had bothered to turn up to the site visit his would already know the answer to his questions!  Again it was passed if only to make sure the facilities for mental health patients were up to date and available locally.  The very next application I had to declare an interest in and the chair said with only a small revision in the last one members declaring interest in this one could leave.

Next day and its full council so another mad rush to get in from work and then a quick shower and a shave then up to County Hall for the meeting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0LydhIKT_s&t=4696s

 

It was a WBTC meeting tonight and I had a request on their agenda, would they part fund the new fence and hedging for the front of the West Lea Cemetery.  I had been contacted by residents who live opposite this hedge line asking if I could do anything about it appearance and the fact that all sorts of people (and motorbikes!) are treading straight through the gaps.  I originally wanted to take the hedge out and replace it with the same fencing which is at either side of the entrance.   Given the costs involved I had asked WBTC to help fund that but they declined after another resident objected to the removal of the hedge citing loss of wildlife habitat.  This time the project is to replace the gaps with mature hedging, so the full hedge gets to a decent condition sooner and also install new metal fencing at the front of it right along.  When this came up there was quite a bit of misunderstanding by WBTC members, one even tore up his papers, so I stood up and gave them chapter and verse of what had actually happened and the proposed project.    They eventually agreed and I thanked them.  Now I just have to put it all together as a scheme and sort out who pays what and when.

fence

I was disappointed about one issue which came up, that, the Advance reply to questions about the development and especially the loss of parking provision in the town.  In fact it was the lack of reply which concerned me!  I said I would see what I could do with regard to that.

Monday and an Advance Audit meeting today.   As usual a lot to take in and a lot of serious questions asked and answered.  We did have a quick look at the draft internal audit into the company and this initiated a few questions from me through the chair!  Going to be an interesting board meeting at the end of the month!

Fire Fighter’s pension meeting this morning and while it was quite long it wasn’t as long as they normally are because we have gone from 2 per year to 6.  Still a lot of complex issues to get through, not least how class actions nationally impact onto us and our scheme.

Thursday and a morning meeting with like-minded community groups who want to address men’s mental health issues.  This was Maggie’s idea, our excellent LAC Locality officer and one I feel we are very lucky to have!   In the end quite a few representatives turned up and we all agreed to input our own specialities into the new effort.   Looking forward to seeing what can be achieved by us all working together.

Fellaship

Stop Press:  Just learnt that Lindsey Jordan has become our new Bedlington Youth Coordinator.   Lindsey is real livewire and I’m certain will quickly become a valued member of our protracted community associations.   Well done WBTC for seeing the bigger picture and agreeing to part fund this position!

 

Well after requesting the CeO of Advance comes and talks to the Mayor about the Advance development and associated problems he agreed to do just that!   Today we had that meeting and it seemed to me like Christine, the Mayor, got some of the answers she wanted and needed.   We certainly had a full and frank meeting!

 

Local Area Council meeting tonight and beforehand a brief meeting with our Local Services manager to put the new Cemetery fence and hedges into play.   I also had the chance to talk to the head of service and after the site visit he agreed with my statement that the middle road in the cemetery needed resurfacing ASAP and he is also looking at costings for a proper drainage system inside the cemetery!

The meeting itself had several presentations with the Budget leading the way.  The Leader of NCC, Councillor Jackson, gave his update and said that the administration was very serious about investing in all towns in the county and went on to say there was £500K in this year’s budget for the small sports facility I have been working on for over a year, at West Lea!  He went on to say that our Town Centre development would see work commencing this Spring and he expected it to underpin a Town Plan.   Well after decades of our local need not being recognised it seems my constant lobbying and actually working up costs for schemes including already getting agreements in place from various departments and even manufacturers and construction companies we have finally managed to get a sum of money included in the proposed budget!

He also spoke about the need to develop more and better skills so I questioned him about the Enterprise Hubs which will be created and said Bedlington is the ideal location for one in the South East!  Seems we should be getting to know more about this around June this year and having already laid down a claim for our Town I will continue to lobby all those involved to make sure it’s taken seriously and given adequate consideration.  I went on to say that given most people will have multiple occupations throughout their working lives now it’s important to include new skills training for older people as well as our young people.  That was generally acknowledged and agreed.

Our Care apprenticeship scheme gave the next presentation and then Healthwatch.

Take the Healthwatch survey………

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HealthwatchSurvey2020?fbclid=IwAR0QGT1KJQqMNuc0AEQahWdksJVY5v7L3U9xRv4jaGRPDP0jU6Wggc_9Je0

 

With most of the current cabinet and the CeO of NCC attending it was too good an opportunity to miss and I spoke to several about various concerns and opportunities residents and others had reported to me.

Last formal meeting of the month was another Advance Board meeting.  Again quite a packed agenda and some very interesting things thrown up.   I am still pressing for some resolution to, what shall we say, past indiscretions, without which there is certainly residual reputational damage which needs to be properly cleared up!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a policy against a drop off / pick up point! I think it is time for a policy change, in todays environment it is very important to get our children to and from school safely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 06/02/2020 at 11:37, Malcolm Robinson said:

January 2020.

Today is the Strategic planning meeting hearing the applications we visited yesterday as well as others so it was always going to be an extended one!  The School one at Hexham was pretty straightforward but there were as always ancillary concerns to address.   Mine were to do with accessing the new site especially considering the new intake of pupils it will have.  One suggestion was about a drop off and pick up point for parents who took their kids to school privately.  This was dismissed by our head of planning, as was my suggestions about staggered start and finish times, but he did say it was a delicate balancing act.  I took exception to that and said I had suggested the exact same for the new school at Morpeth, across the road, but had found out later we actually have a policy in place which stops any drop off and pick up points in schools.   I asked how on earth it was a delicate balancing act when we had this policy in place?  I suggested this was actually discriminating against parents who for whatever reason have decided their children are safer getting to school that way.  This especially considering the access road which looks to be akin to the Kevi one at Morpeth.  Having said all that and argued back and forth with the planners, in debate I said I was happy to endorse this application because the school children in Hexham, as in the rest of Northumberland, deserve the best facilities for learning we can give them and this would at least give first class facilities, as the head and chair of the board of governors had told us.  

As the population gets bigger =  more children = more schools = all new schools will have to be built away from the town centers = children will have to be driven to school = after 2035 all school will have to have 'drop off points' and 'charging points for electric cars = the world will be a better place:) - for some. 

What about those parents that don't have a car to drive their kids to school :o ?

How far into the future can local planning committees plan and get whats best for the area?

If the world of automation explodes there will be more people out of work and have time to walk their children to, and from, school:thumbsup:. Then the authorities can change how schools teach the children - let the ones who can't be driven to school stay at home with their out of work parents and get taught, online, at home:book:

When will we ever have a perfect solution to any challenges this fast paced progressive world is throwing at as?

I know - WWIII, or a pandemic, and that should reduce the population explosion. Or will it. After WWII they introduced Family Allowance, for the 2nd child in the family, so that parents would have more children and therefore more money coming into the home and then when the children grew the parents would encourage them to buy their own home, have a family and get their children educated = more schools = more.............................. When will the merry go round ever end?

Not half pleased your the councillor Malcolm, it must be like going round in circles.:ball: 

Retirement doesn't seem that bad - at least you have more time to look for soup spoons.:punk: 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 06/02/2020 at 17:29, Vic Patterson said:

There's a policy against a drop off / pick up point! I think it is time for a policy change, in todays environment it is very important to get our children to and from school safely.

Crazy, isn't it!

Here, every child who has more than 2 km to school (and that's most of them) is entitled to use a free school bus which saves the problem of parking at schools. Some of the more recently built schools have solved the parking problem with a D-shaped island in front of the school. Parking is ON the island with only one entrance/exit (on the curved side) while the school entrance is accessed on foot from  the straight side where there is no traffic other than school buses. It has some remarkable side-effects. 1. It doesn't half slow the traffic down outside the school. 2. The kids are allowed to charge for parking  when they are putting on any kind of event in the school, giving a welcome boost to school funds.

A very large comprehensive is in the process of being built locally and I understand that the pick-up/drop-off point is going to be an underground drive-through.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

Hide Adverts


×
×
  • Create New...