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Showing content with the highest reputation on 03/09/20 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    As some of you will have read there have been some significant changes to the town centre re-development project as a result of Covid-19. High street shops have been suffering for some time now due to changes in shopping habits and it was always going to be difficult to attract investment but that had been achieved with Bedlington recognised as a new market by retailers. Sadly, Covid-19 changed that as the retail sector contracted and some businesses ceased trading. This resulted in my two fellow Bedlington Councillors and myself having in depth discussions with the current administration as to what we could do in order to move the development forward for the benefit of Bedlington residents. Over a period of months, we developed and agreed a new direction for the town centre that would replace elements of the retail with the leisure provision that Bedlington lacks in comparison to neighbouring towns. This will include a swimming pool and a new modern library in the heart of the town centre. A supermarket remains part of the development as do units that will front the market place. With the extra £2.5m that the Council received from the Government for Bedlington there will now be in the region of £10.5m available for the re-worked project, which given the circumstances is something that I am delighted about. At the meeting of full council yesterday there was a vote of no confidence in the Council Leader, Peter Jackson, which I did not support. This was put forward by the Labour Leader who also made a ridiculous accusation that the votes of Bedlington Councillors had been bought by the proposed investment in the town centre. Let me put the record straight on those two issues as I will not be lectured at by Labour or any other political party. I did not support the vote of no confidence for the quite simple reason that no evidence was provided by Labour or any other Councillor that spoke to back up allegations and rumours. In my experience it would be the equivalent of convicting someone without a proper trial and consideration of the facts. If evidence had been presented that wrongdoing had taken place, then I would have voted differently but there was nothing more than references to what had been reported in the press. My Bedlington colleague Councillor Russ Wallace put it rather succinctly yesterday when he spoke: “What we don’t have yet are facts. Until we do, we should get on with what we were elected to do.” If other Councillors are happy to be complicit in what I thought to be a kangaroo court that is a matter for them. On the accusation from Councillor Susan Dungworth that my vote was bought for the investment I find the hypocrisy and irony off the scale. What have Labour ever done for Bedlington? How many decades have they had to build a leisure centre in the town? During the most recent Labour administration the Portfolio Member for Leisure was a Bedlington based Councillor and Ashington got a replacement leisure centre yet Bedlington got nothing. Whilst Ian Lavery chaired Ashington Football Club it benefited from more than £1m of investment as part of the Arch scandal that took place under Labour. How much did Bedlington Terriers get? The answer is nothing and that is what Labour has delivered for Bedlington. The investment in leisure in Bedlington is the result of the hard work of myself and my two colleagues over several months who are motivated only to do what is right for Bedlington. Yesterday was a political side show as a result of Conservative party infighting and Labour opportunism. I have no interest in either and will continue to serve Bedlington residents to the best of my ability and to address the complete failure of representation in the past.
  2. 2 points
    Well its seems there are a few people dancing around burning piles of books after yesterday’s tumultuous NCC council meeting. At last I found out what this voting secret I have been asked about recently was all about! To preface I received an email off the Labour Leader on the eve of the meeting outlining what they intended doing. Well not exactly the specifics only the general intent, we intend doing something. That was the first official notice I had of anything unusual taking place at yesterday’s meeting. Short stepping to the meeting itself and probably the main crux of contention, the vote to suspend normal procedures and then a special motion brought. As any viewer would have seen I asked about this suspension and what would any likely motions be. Never got an answer to that one! The vote was to suspend normal procedures and off down the rabbit hole we went. Then we had a special motion proposed to get rid of Councillor Jackson as Leader of NCC. What followed were callous and vicious personal attacks as what seemed to be old scores were settled and political points scored. I reiterated the remarks made by the last Auditors of NCC in their resignation letter. “The council operates within a highly charged environment and we have observed growing tension between the main political parties over the last few years. Management has commented that the politics of the council can make it difficult to carry out their ‘day job’ and it is clear that the historical issues are still at the forefront of managements mind.” I then suggested that looked at alongside the current situation it all makes a clarion call for more independent members in this council. I again asked what happened if the current motion went through and again no answer. “Curiouser and curiouser.” The motion passed and council Jackson was out of his job as Leader. For me it’s like they convicted the guy without any factual evidence or even, in fact, waiting for the results of the recently inaugurated investigations. That’s just wrong in my view and there was precious little fairness on show as some were essentially gagged in their replies. It was a very unedifying spectacle for anyone looking in trying to give a reasoned and balanced approach. Had this been done after these investigations had reported and found evidence of wrong doing then fine but what happened was nothing more than inter-tribal rivalry of the worst kind. Are there questions that need to be answered, of course there are and I’m as interested as anyone to find out the answers. Was this the answer, no. Has it hurt getting the answers, almost certainly! Its then suggested that my and my colleagues Bedlington votes had been somehow bought with our Town Centre scheme. We have been working on that for years to progress it and I have been working flat out since Covid hit to still enable a scheme and one which is achievable and better suits driving the town forward for the next few decades. We put in for the “Boris fund” months ago so I’m not sure how all of that can be dependent on a vote no one knew about until yesterday. Course I’m sure I’ll find out and probably by the people who achieved nothing for the town in their decades of tenure. “Contrariwise,’ continued Tweedledee, ‘if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”
  3. 2 points
    An article from the Engineer today about repurposing the old mines into 'green' energy sources: https://www.theengineer.co.uk/generating-clean-energy-from-the-coal-mines/
  4. 1 point
    Another one remember going for walks with my mum or dad,it seemed like miles looking back now it wasn't. But I remember saying how long to go now? "Just around the corner they replied." Long bloody corners lol
  5. 1 point
  6. 1 point
    When we were kids we spent hours in the spring catching toads from the 'A' pit pond(s). We didn't do anything with them, we caught them because we could. I remember there was competition to see who could catch the most. We put them back when we were hungry and went home for something to eat. We were never challenged by any blokes for being there. Every year my uncle wanted one in the spring for his greenhouse to catch the slugs that appeared overnight and the odd insect during the day. The toad he got that had fed well over the summer disappeared early winter. It didn't reappear the next spring. Did it get the urge to breed and dig its way out or escape through the open door, I wonder. We never caught any frogs in the pond and we didn't see any frogspawn, only the long strings of toad spawn. Frogs mustn't have liked the water taste or there wasn't any food there for them.
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