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  1. 6 points
    VID-20200612-WA0001.mp4
  2. 5 points
    I need some help. I hope and expect we will soon see a community response to this dangerous time we find ourselves in at present. Lots of local people and organisations have been working to put a network together so the most vulnerable in our community have the support they will need. There is one group which particularly worries me. These are elderly people who have been living independently and therefore not necessarily on any list of vulnerable adults. I want to make sure these individuals are included in our efforts! Please if you know any elderly folks within my ward (Bedlington West…..Bishops Meadow, The Chesters estate, Meadowdale estate , West Lea, Red house Farm, Hazelmere, Netherton Village and Shields Road) who might not have needed help previously and were able to look after themselves but may find the current and ongoing situation difficult please let me have names and addresses. Do not post publicly but rather send me their/your names and addresses to: malcolm.robinson@northumberland.gov.uk or phone me on 07779983080.
  3. 5 points
    Hello fellow Bedlingtonians I have not been on the forum of late because I have been in hospital recently for 90 days I had a knee replacement done and the specialist found I had sepsis in my left ankle and right knee so I am lucky to still be here just wanted to wish my friends on the forum Merry Christmas and a happy New Year see ya lads
  4. 5 points
    November 2019. First up a site visit to Hexham at 10am Monday morning. Even with the traffic I made it in time and we all stood at the site entrance. This one was about developing a bit of derelict land at the entrance to Hexham. The real crux was the listed stone wall which will have to be removed and re-sited further back for a new roundabout and access into the site. The officers took us through the application explaining what was proposed. Took about an hour to get through and walk around. I can see this will be pretty controversial tomorrow night when it comes in front of our committee. Strategic planning this afternoon but first a presentation about a possible schools project in Hexham. We heard that and asked quite a lot of questions, it actually overran by about 30mins. Next was the planning meeting and we had an application for Bedlington to discharge reserved matters on the proposed new houses next to the Chesters. First were two applications related to the Hexham application. Both were considered as one but voted on separately. The first was about the new store and hotel which is being proposed as well as possible secondary retail offers. I just thought this hotel will dominate the site and its basically a square box pity we don’t see some imaginative design for it. We also considered this listed wall and its removal. It is to be re-sited around a new curve allowing vehicular access to the site but I pointed out that most of the stone which is to be reused is shot so new stone will have to be used and it won’t look the same. I asked planners to take the aesthetics into account when agreeing materials. There are also old bricked up tunnels under this road and wall which we all hoped might come back into use for pedestrians and cyclists. This application went through unanimously after hearing it had been a blot on the landscape for 30 years! Next came the Bedlington reserved matters application. I had asked for this to come back to committee even though the developer didn’t see the need! We had the scheme outlined by the planners and then had a member of the public speak about safety issues at the proposed junction and then the spokesperson for WBTC who had tabled several objections. The problem was that most were not specific to the application! However some were and needed to be answered. We then had members questions and I waited until the end before asking mine. I did this because I could only ask about matters pertinent to the application and those brought up by the planners and highways. I had to say I was struggling to contain my questions to the application only given the history and the planners knew exactly what I was saying! Because of questions and replies given earlier I started by saying what had really happened and why and explaining some of the reasoning other members had asked about. I then asked my questions, we had heard about a speed reduction, where was that proposed, trees were to be removed where abouts, the S106 agreement and how it will be delivered and do we have a definitive settlement boundary now? Each one was taken by several officers and it took quite some time to get through as we argued and debated back and forth, especially about the S106 infrastructure funding. In the end with only my vote against the application passed. Full council meeting today and again only questions off independent members tabled to the administration! Mine was first. I wanted to know about the build quality of these new social houses are are supposed to be building and used another council’s award winning scheme to illustrate how we could be doing them. Seems we are going to look into the build quality and running costs so I spoke about the project Northumbria University are currently doing with the North East’s very own George Clark, one of channel 4’s architect building experts, and could we get the recommendations and suggestions coming out of that to use in our own builds? No commitment but at least they know about it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0ym88gG-Ng&t=1612s Again a ping pong match between the main parties each trying to score points over each other. Even the Lib Dems got into this one! Facilitated a meeting at County Hall today with a group of residents and the appropriate officer to see if solutions to their problems could be found. Hopefully they have and we will see some action soon. Remembrance Day and a full schedule today for me. I declined the NCC parade and instead attended the West Bedlington Memorial. First up was a scrutiny meeting at County Hall about the forthcoming budget amongst others. I had quite a few questions for this scrutiny meeting across all the subjects. I had read one paragraph over and over and it still seemed to me to be something other than what was promised. This was about a budget consultation but it only said the proposals would be presented and explained. It never mentioned anyone responding to the consultation would have their views considered and might ultimately influence any decisions made. As I said that’s a PR exercise not a consultation! This was disputed by the portfolio holder and I eventually gave him the benefit of the doubt, but I will closely monitor this consultation and see if anything coming up influenced any of the proposals in anyway! https://www.northumberlandgazette.co.uk/news/politics/council/call-meaningful-consultation-budget-ps10million-cuts-planned-northumberland-county-council-974817?fbclid=IwAR01_EPvFO-Mv5FzGgCZGtk7vILJsM4yWp3bNoZ1Y_j6QsZN-WLRdCJNhmQ After this meeting it was back to Bedlington for the Remembrance Day service at the Memorial and then up to West Lea Cemetery to officially unveil my new plaque. I had asked Sydney Graham to do the honours as he organises the Remembrance Day parade for our armed services and the Royal British Legion. He has also identified most of not all the war grave in this cemetery. Parachute Regiment veteran Bill Johnson came too. We had an all member Local Transport Plan meeting today and about a third of the councillors turned up for it. After an outline we then broke into LAC groups to go through each of our proposals. I registered my immediate concerns that none of my proposals had made it through into the schemes to be worked up. After checking my email trail the officer apologised and wrote them down again, this time into the approved schemes! We spent most of the allocated time with the first officer then had a swap as the technical officer came in and again I managed to get another two of my schemes into the mix. So from going from zero input I managed to get 5 schemes into the mix! I also mentioned something which bothers me personally and even though its not even in my ward I had to mention it. It was the road out of Bedlington up the Horton Bank, especially the adverse camber coming down this road towards the Attlee Park bridge. I was surprised this had never been mentioned but it was agreed this was something to be looked at especially when the officer emphatically agreed with me it is very dangerous! We then had an inclusive last session on things like plastic added road surfaces and after I had some questions about that the meeting was called over. One thing which had made it through already was my call to get the 40MPH bit of road at the bottom of Choppington Road reclassified as 30MPH. I felt it was a morning well spent but only if we see some resulting actions! LAC tonight and the chair has been in touch to say she is unwell so could I chair it. I got to Netherton Club in good time and agreed to open the meeting then hand over to the Planning chair for that part of the meeting. I had to declare an interest in the only application before us so once the planning started I left the room. Had to remind another member she had the same interest! Once the planning was over, and it took about 10 mins, we had 45mins to wait before I could restart the meeting! Daft! I reminded everyone that we were not a Hustings, we were a Local Area Council operating under Purdah so don’t try it on! Once the meeting restarted I opened with public questions and seeing as we were in Bedlington there are always some of them! Once members of the public had asked their questions and been satisfied with the responses I moved onto the agenda. We had several presentations and updates off NCC highways and local services. Good hearted meeting tonight and I allowed members of the public to ask their own questions to the officers. I might get into hot water again because of that but if I’m in charge of the meeting then members of the public can have some access! Not sure if this has been seen by many……. https://www.newspostleader.co.uk/news/local-plan-proposals-main-towns-south-east-northumberland-399418 Next meeting was the LAC chairs meeting when once again I requested more public involvement into the area LAC’s. I did this because of a specific question relating to this at our last LAC. The answer came back that public involvement was at the discretion of the chair, so at least I have some justification if needed! Several other matters were discussed and county wide community chest applications heard. I had to go back up to County Hall this afternoon to chair our area’s community chest and once again there was one application which didn’t adhere to the rules so we had to dismiss that one. Very pleased it wasn’t a Bedlington based organisation! The rest of the applications went through with just about all getting the funding they had applied for. Once again we have an underspend so an extra round in Jan/Feb was called for. Well that’s just about it for this month and as my December diary won’t be seen until January I wish all the readers of this a Merry Xmas and a very happy New Year.
  5. 4 points
    Hi CL, Safe and well but in desperate need of a hair cut as all the Barbour's are closed. Good to hear every ones ok.
  6. 4 points
    Good to see our youngsters getting involved with the NCC tree planting initiative. On a very cold and windy day too!!!!!
  7. 4 points
    Thank you kind sirs! Missed my usual roll in the snow this year as there isn't a flake to be seen anywhere round here. Mind you, I didn't miss the shovelling snow which was a cause of great joy. Spent a quiet(ish) day planning a holiday in the sun before hubby starts being weaned off all his medications. Thanks again!
  8. 4 points
    December 2019. After taking the lads on holiday it was straight back into the thick of things with an Advance Board meeting. We have eventually got through all the new policies which needed to be put into place and now there is just a few agreed amendments to make. Its been a long hard slog with meetings lasting well over 6hrs sometimes but it really needed to be done to make sure the excesses of Arch never happen again! Once again I raised the sore point about the Bedlington redevelopment and the parking problems. Scrutiny meeting today and along with the normal cabinet scrutiny there was one special item, the Climate Emergency strategy. It emerged that there is special provision within the SE of the county for tree planting. With up to 29 sites identified I asked for a map and was assured one would be forthcoming! Friends of West Lea Cemetery tonight and again a well attended meeting. Similar sorts of problems came up and I said I would invite the manager and head of service along to our next meeting so things might get resolved face to face. A phenomenal amount of funding has been raised by the dedication of this group and a few very hard working members! Well done Issey, Sarah and Susan! WBTC Christmas meeting tonight with most getting into the spirit of the season early! Site visit Hartford Bridge with head of service, cabinet member for housing and a couple of officers. Pleased to say they are responding to my requests and I hope a solution has been found and agreed. I had a meeting with cabinet member for local services and the head officer to ask about some requests we have for the cemetery. It was agreed head of service would attend a site visit and see what could be done about my specific requests. The cabinet member did remark that there were other cemeteries in equally parlous states or even worse but I replied that whilst I might agree they aren’t in my ward! LAC Meeting at Concordia tonight. I chaired the last one and had been asked several questions which I said I would have to find the correct answers to add report back. I had done so and gave the answers to the meeting when we went through the minutes. This one was mainly planning and one application in particular about extending opening hours of a take away in Seaton Delaval. I did have some questions about this and the one which I still find curious was that a 12 month trial would be conducted with a 6 month review after close monitoring. I had to ask again who would be doing the monitoring because the answer was the applicant? So the applicant who wanted the increased hours would assess any incursions which might not allow that to happen. A farce would be too kind a description! Anyway it was agreed by majority. The rest of the month I was chasing stuff up for residents so we could get closure before the Xmas holidays.
  9. 4 points
    Happy new year to all our forum friends, wishing you all good health for 2020. Vic & Dot (Doreen HPW!)
  10. 4 points
    Happy New Year to all me Marra's on this great forum! Noo! Canny Lass,ahem,[cough cough!],me being a clean-living lad,who nivvor smoked ,nivvor drank,nivvor gammelled,a can HONESTLY say....aam 0 on the shaggy dog scale!....except aam buggaad wi aad age in me bones!! My New Year's Resolution..[same as last year but broke it for domestic reasons..]...Aam determined ti get oot more on me Bike,since this time last year,a did 40-odd miles,and that was gaan for MOT, and CBT!!! Aav written it on me calendar as weel as me second resolution,and that is ti try and write more of me book,which a started in 2009!! Aav been advised by a published Author who me Wife and me met doon Cammis a few days ago,a luvly friendly aad Lady caaled Mary Bowmaker,who has three books on Amazon,and is busy wi a fourth book. She was enthusiastic when a telt her a was writing me life story from a wee bairn,growing up from the late1940's,ti aal me experiences doon the coalmines. SO!...it's here in black n white!...we'll see hoo things gaan at yem! Aal thi best folks!
  11. 4 points
    Season's Greetings to all Bedlingtonians from a hot,dry and firey Oz.
  12. 4 points
    September 2019. September started off with a bang! First up was a site meeting up in Berwick. I had to be at County Hall for the bus then up to a pretty chilly Berwick leisure centre to hear what the proposals were. Had a pre- planning meeting today about a possible new large scale development. I did have questions, one of which was about offering apprenticeship schemes within the projects seeing as it would probably last 3 years plus. Strategic planning and a rush to get down into the full council chamber to take my seat. I had to declare an interest in one agenda item so I had to leave the room for that one. First one was the Berwick proposal and I questioned the officer about various aspects but especially pedestrian safety seeing as there are two schools at the other side of the main road and whatever way the kids cross they have to cross a road on quite a steep hill. There was also the question about the roundabout which is actually on quite a slope. Other members echoed my concerns and some asked if we might impose conditions. I said could we not include a suggestion after the planning offer said we shouldn’t really impose conditions. Again after some discussion that was not allowed either! During the course of my interchange with the highways officer it emerged that they could only consider present and historical pedestrian figures in their assessments? Now that sounds crazy to me, here we are proposing to build a new leisure facility with 2 schools opposite and we cant consider any future usage figures in the application. I thanked the officer for giving us an insight into the crazy rules and regulations they had to operate under! The application was passed with only one member abstaining. I had to leave the meeting for the next item and halfway through I was joined by another member who realised he should have declared an interest too. Returning there was another two applications to hear and after some discussion both passed with one member abstaining on one of them. Full council today so I left work early to get home grab a quick shower and change before getting up to County Hall in time. Seems our usual seats have been taken over by the last opposition leader and his cohorts so Russ, Bill and I found seats near the front. Lots of the usual political shenanigans at full council but I am more and more thinking that we could be doing this better, its all too stage managed! I did have a question this one about the report by the standards committee which said anything I said in public, and that is verbally or written, I did so as a member of NCC. I said I believed that subjugated my right to freedom of expression because I have a life outside these walls! That had to go to the solicitor to answer because no one else understood what I was getting at. He did and assured me it wasn’t a policy proposal only a repeat of a central government line which wasn’t even being proposed yet if ever! It did produce reactions from other members one of who supported my warning. Another said he expected conversations he might have in public places to be treated as confidential, but that isn’t what this sentence said! The opposition leader said we were under the guidance of the Nolan Principles anyway which actually backed the point I had made when I said as elected members we operated under strict guidance anyway but as private individuals we were entitled to have personal views as well. If this comes back I will fight it because it curtails my ability to have a personal life. I did say I realised there was a problem with this issue but gagging people wasn’t the way to fix it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqxN2M-_1XU&t=3716s Had a meeting with our highways technical officer today and we walked around the area I wanted him to look at. Pleased to see the interactive speed signs have been fitted and working at Netherton Village and Hartford road. Still more road markings to be done and taking out the 60 MPH sections as we leave/enter the Town on the B1331 and the A1068 in an effort to curtail speeding cars. Had our Classical concert tonight and for once I was able to make it. Absolutely stunning performances with something for everyone. I was pleased to see so many people turning up for this and many messages of congratulates. I passed them onto the organiser who along with the Staff at Plessey did a superb job for us all. Working on more events down there with the next at Halloween. I have to say here that trying to make them free events while putting on real professional entertainers isn’t easy, but if it was everyone would be doing it! STOP PRESS……..STOP PRESS………..STOP PRESS………..STOP PRESS…… Just heard the funding for our next Plessey Woods event has been agreed. Look out for a kiddies spectacular just after the New Year! It will be super…..literally! >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Had to go to Blyth today and do training regarding State Aid. Interesting session with lots of legislation to consider. Given some of my ‘hypotheticals’ and the answers which came back I have to wonder how some of the more outlandish historical schemes and the associated funding by Arch was even considered never mind rolled out! Had a meeting with the Advance officer who is in charge of project management and an officer from Active Northumberland. I started off by asking about public loo provision within the Bedlington Town Centre regeneration project. Again I was told it was never considered which seems strange seeing as I now have the planning application which actually lists a public loo! I said he had better get an answer to that because I will be using it at any future public meeting! Discussing a sporting provision then produced some interesting results, none of which I wanted to hear! Only one thing to do now so I’ve put a request into the top echelons of NCC for an immediate meeting. Getting back from Ashington I had a detour to the WBTC office for a meeting there. Pension training today along with North Tyneside Council up in Edinburgh. It was their session really but the Actuary used it to give us a private update on our, NCC, valuations. Everyone is pleased at the valuations because going from a £200M deficit to an above 100% coverage is quite extraordinary and definitely a much better place to be in. It looks like my pleas for trying to protect this position has been listened to as well and we all agreed to some de-risking in the portfolio. LAC meeting tonight at Concordia. With no planning on the agenda its wasn’t the usual mad rush back from work to get ready and the meeting started at 6pm. Didn’t seem to be very much on the agenda but as ever these things change! We had updates off the NCC public safety officer and the police and these turned into quite a long session, firstly with the safety officer. I did have several questions some based off what he told us. Next up was the police update and I think all the Bedlington councillors thought it was great! He said he had just taken over the inspector role and the softer line taken by the police with regard to anti social behaviour (ASB) in Bedlington is now changed and a much harder approach is going to be taken. Previously we had worked hard to stop our youngsters being criminalised but that obviously hadn’t worked given the repeated levels of ASB we have seen so back to old fashioned policing. I nearly gave this new inspector a round of applause! Funding had been acquired to increase on the beat policing and we all thanked him after the meeting and said if we can help with anything just ask. Had the chance to speak to our manager for Local services and again asked him to look at the hedging along the front of the cemetery seeing as I have had more complaints about the fact that pedestrians now have to walk on the road to get by because of the state of the Blackthorn hedging. He promised to look into it straight away and he has because it was cut the very next day! Well done Local services. Good meeting with the new Friends of West Lea Cemetery tonight and a constitution was adopted and officers elected. We now have a formal group to look after public interest in the cemetery. https://www.facebook.com/Thefriendsofwestleacemetery/ Had a meeting with constituents today about some concerns they have and I have forwarded them as I promised to do. Pension Panel today and another huge pile of papers for it. 9.30am – 4.30pm was listed for this meeting. Most of the committee had heard the Actuary report up in Edinburgh so no surprises there but that was just the first 30mins. It was good to get home that night and get sorted for work this weekend! Well the weekend wasn’t the normal because on top of everything else my holiday has disappeared! Thanks Thomas Cook! I had a LAC chairs meeting today and there was two presentations as well as the normal agenda to hear. First one was the Library service. There is a public consultation going to be rolled out soon as we try and increase library usage figures, which at the moment are declining. I have already submitted my ideas for bringing the service into modern day usage and having been assured non library users will be included in this consultation I will be promoting it when it comes out. I think Library provision is important for any conurbation but changing it into something which appeals to a greater amount of users is important to keeping it. Next up was a report and presentation about social care apprentice scheme, which seems to have been a huge success. Knowing first hand some of the problems within this service I asked if these apprentices would be subject to follow ups because I would be very interested in seeing how they interacted within other parts of our service. It seem they will and given that education and increased qualifications are offered to all carers it will be interesting to hear how it all rolls out. One item came as a surprise to some members, the fact that 82% of the workforce in this service was made up of women. I assumed it would be quite high anyway seeing as the vast majority of carers I know are women. Anyway good to see it being presented as a credible career with good prospects for anyone. We then had a presentation about the way some types of anti social behaviour is going to be reported and the figures collated and shared. This was for things like dog fouling. I asked about the way we respond to reports and could we do anything to bring the response more into real time. I had to explain that so I said I have several football pitches in my ward as well as a cemetery and there will be reports going in on say a Saturday when the footballers use the pitches but the ‘offence’ could well have taken place the previous Wednesday, Thursday or Friday and there might well be someone who saw it taking place. I think the answer was no we can’t react immediately which was what I expected to be fair. It was good to hear the chair of this committee saying we really need to make these LAC meetings much more relevant to members of the public and drive up attendance figures. Well its taken a year but at last my message seems to be getting through! Wonder what’s happened to my lists of possible agenda items? Had a follow up meeting with officers about the Bedlington Regeneration meeting we had last month. Bill and Russ were there too and we thrashed out some ideas for potential future strategic projects in Bedlington. It was a pretty positive meeting with follow ups expected! Last meeting this month is the Advance Board meeting. Again dominated by putting new governance policies in place which are all aimed at putting to an end any possibility of malpractice from now on! It was quite an intense meeting lasting nearly 7 hours non stop!
  13. 4 points
    This month my surgery was on Monday the 1st and as usual plenty of questions to get answers to. Next day I had to be at county hall before 9.30am to get a small coach for this site visit to Kirkwhelpington. I think only one member of our strategic planning committee did not show so most of us got to see the spectacular scenery the rural part of our county has to offer. Getting up to where this monument was proposed to go was quite something as we had to stop and inch past tractors quite a few times. Eventually we stopped beside Tit Hill where this was being proposed for the top of. A few protesters lined the route with their placards but we were told not to speak to them under any circumstances because this was a delegated planning site visit under strict regulations. Didn’t stop a couple of members engaging with the protesters and the chair had to call them back in! Once we had a good look at the proposed site from this vantage point we had another two to get to and look from. It was difficult to imagine what this monument would look like imposed on the landscape but the planners had done some mock up pictures with it superimposed. I have to say this site visit did give extra gravitas to the proposal. We made it back just after lunch and I nipped home for a cuppa then back up to County Hall for a meeting at 3pm, this time for one of my pet projects! Once we had conducted that business it was about time for the strategic planning meeting at 4pm. Again we heard off our planning head, residents, councillors and the applicants agents each with their own version of what should be done. After many questions a proposal was made to reject this application and this time it succeeded. It was gratifying to hear the reason put forward for refusal was exactly the reason I had stated at the last meeting about this, namely there was merit in the idea but not at this location! This time I had done the background and listed chapter and verse within the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) why I thought refusal was the correct outcome. I could see the head of planning nodding at my assertions. Again I was left wondering if some members were just playing to the audience as one even stopped to get a round of applause! Never mind I think the right result was reached. I was supposed to have a meeting with our local services manager today but something cropped up at the last minute and he couldn’t make it. I would like to see him sooner rather than later so I can progress residents requests. Had a Corporate Scrutiny meeting this morning but I had to declare an interest in one agenda item, that being a revised governance of Advance Northumberland. Getting the relationship correct with NCC is vital in making progress on the new internal governance within the group. We also heard about the current position regarding NCC debt with regard to council tax and business rate payers etc. Next came a report about the new road which is being proposed for Blyth and finally a last minute addition, a report about a new countrywide lottery. Plenty of questions all of which got answered! Had the afternoon meeting cancelled because of an accident. It needs to be back on sooner rather than later because it’s about additional Bedlington investment! Today, along with Bill and Russ, I had a meeting with the Leader and some of the other senior NCC cabinet members. We have all been pressing not just for more investment into Bedlington but also having some of our basic social needs addressed properly. It was a very businesslike meeting and there are some, what look like, halfway decent results. I did make the point that we have heard plenty of rhetoric from the Administration it was now time for action! Once that was over I had to run to my next meeting because I had to chair it. This one was the LAC Community Chest and we had to go through several applications. I would urge everyone who applies to actuality read through the guidance because we had to take some of the applied funding out and dismiss one or two entirely because they clearly breached our guidelines for funding and that’s something we all hate to have to do! That done I thanked the members who made the time to turn up and closed the meeting. I had an extra LGPS Panel meeting this afternoon and I expected it would be quite a short meeting. As usual it didn’t turn out that way because there were so many interconnected things to consider and we were making a fundamental change to our strategic asset planning. Again I did make the point that we are in the middle of a pooling restructure, considering a merger, implementing a strategic review and considering an asset reallocation, each one worthy of very careful consideration in itself and each one putting extra stress on our team, most of all our officers and the Board members. That was acknowledged but we did finally make a decision to de-risk some of our assets, something which I have been arguing about for over a year. I had a brief talk with one of the police officers who oversee our Town about a suggestion I had made at the last meeting we all had. I have expanded that suggestion and I await the reply. Hopefully it might help tackle the seemingly growing anti social behaviour we are seeing. Nice meeting today at a special school in Cramlington. This came about because of my comments when their new play area came in front of our LAC planning group. The questions I asked were later answered by the school’s new head of comms and funding. We eventually chatted about the school and the pupils and I was asked to go to an opening event they were holding for a new garden area the pupils had done for themselves. I suggested asking all the LAC members and said I would ask our Civic Head to officially open it for them. The invites went out and Ian our Civic Head of Northumberland and his deputy Eileen agreed to officiate. Lovely to see all the undoubted hard work paid off in such an inspiring garden area. I chatted to the school liaison officer and suggested ways they might try and attract extra funding into their school. Today I have our LAC to chair because Christine the chair is away on personal business. So quickly back from work for a shower and change then straight out for the pre planning meeting at Seaton Sluice. Only two applications both of which were uncontested. As Bernard was the chair of planning and I had to take it on temporarily until a new chair was found, this was the first planning meeting for our new chair Councillor Ian Swithenbank. I opened the LAC gave a brief explanation how it operates went though the first three agenda items and then passed the meeting over to Ian for the planning part. He took us through the two applications with the planning officers and both were agreed unanimously. We had 30 minutes to wait until I could restart the LAC! One restarted straight into public questions and the very first one was something we couldn’t consider. I gave the speaker as much leeway as possible to eak out a question to us but in the end what was being said had no relevance to our LAC and I had to stop the line of questioning. His next question was about members conduct during elections and I asked if he wanted an explanation of Purdah? He said so and I gave him my understanding which was about the types of communications members used and the tools allowed to do it. I was corrected when I suggested members should even say they were already elected members in the authority. In fact the new Labour leader said no one would stop her saying she was an elected member and supported her preferred candidate. After one other question, which I requested a written reply to because we couldn’t give a definitive answer verbatim, the meeting carried on and we had several updates from our local area managers, notably highways and neighbourhood services. We then got to an update on the cycling Tour which is coming through Northumberland again. A presentation ensued from very enthusiastic officers and they answered our questions afterwards. I then wrapped the meeting up. Today I had a meeting about the old council offices in Bedlington trying to get something done. Thats seems all but impossible given the way this was put together originally. It’s almost like one step forward and two back sometimes! Had to go to a planning training meeting today and again more empty seats than full ones. In fact it looked like most of the planning department was here so even less member attendance and we all sit on one planning committee or another! In fact the head of planning stated the Central government guidelines which says members have to undertake training or they wont be allowed to sit on planning committees. The head of planning then gave the presentation and launched into ‘what is planning’ as the first part of his presentation. Some interesting points were brought up and in the Q&A session I had a few questions. One bit I did want clarification on was the assertion that planning had to ‘facilitate economic development, that I hadn’t heard before. I asked if that was a material consideration and the reply was yes it is. That was a bit strange because profit, per say, isn’t and do you get one without the other? Second presentation was about houses and again I have several questions. I asked for specific training along the lines of what the Strategic Planning committee had asked for several times, S106 developer funding, and also I asked about conditions and varyco’s attached to applications both before and after a decision. I said I had sat in committee and attached conditions to applications only to see them changed or just taken out as soon as a developer started work. I said that wasn’t right because the development didn’t now look like what we had considered. I also questioned him about the term ‘affordable housing’ saying I thought the term at best misleading and I postulated that in actual fact infrastructural improvements were much more rewarding to a greater number of people in the local communities than half a dozen ‘affordable houses’ and the fact that they are now dished out to housing associations behind what looks like closed doors only adds insult to injury as far as I was concerned. He took my points and said they warranted further consideration. Well just come back from a site meeting with a sports facilities funding officer and he said he was impressed with my ideas because they were far more inclusive than just applying to one sporting body. He is going away to do some work to help me progress this and I now have to think up ways to fund another feasibility study into need in Bedlington. Last time I did this was back in 2010 and we got KKP to do a report but their conclusion was that a £20M investment into a new school with modern sporting facilities at Bedlington Station couldn’t be ignored and the easiest option would be to make them accessible for the greater community. Of course what we actually got was a £10M new school and very limited community accessible facilities. So the fight goes on to get Bedlington what it deserves! Just come back from another Advance board meeting and again it was dominated with new governance and policy matters. Anyone might suspect we could possibly end up with a regeneration company fit for purpose at this rate! I did have to stop the meeting at one point to raise a concern and that will now have to be addressed before that particular item is progressed. As an aside it looks to me like the company really needs to assert itself and not be held back by quasi public sector restraints and ways of doing business. Fleet of foot and agile of mind would be my maxim regarding how this company develops now, with the proviso that the governance is sorted of course! Well someone was listening. Several phone calls off Advance today but finally my concerns were addressed and we can now proceed with that particular project. I did use this time to further ideas for more investment into Bedlington of course! First meeting today was the LAC chairs. I’m only there because I am vice chair of ours. Several item on this agenda and a presentation about the possible Northumberland Lottery project. The chair moved the presentation up so the presenter didn’t have to spend all morning sitting listening to the usual meeting before she got to her bit. She did say some of us would have heard her presentation before and I was one because she had given the same to scrutiny earlier. As she explained this was all about getting good local causes potential funding because players picked which of the good causes listed they wanted to support with most of their stake monies. I did have another couple of questions about this such as how long would players be subscribed for, seeing as it is entirely internet based. Also was there any constraints on how the good causes spent their possible windfalls? Other members had their questions answered too and the whole thing is going to cabinet for their approval, or not, at their next meeting. On with the normal meeting and again I said I wanted to see a much greater turn out at LAC meetings so making the agendas interesting for the public was essential. This time the business chair intervened and challenged me directly to list all the possible updates and presentations I wanted to see and send him the list so each one could be checked off as it was delivered. I have already made a start on this list! Back home for a quick cuppa and get some mails sported then back up to county hall for another meeting , this one the LDF or Local Plan update. We had the update and its expected the governmental hearings will start in October with Morpeth Town Hall booked to deliver the public sessions. A couple of items were on as separate updates, one being affordable housing and the other planning obligations. Both of these topics enlisted several questions from members and I had a few of my own. The SPD’s or supplementary planning documents will be going out for consultations quite soon because we all want to see this local plan in place. Again it was stated today that pretty soon if members do not take up planning training they will be barred from sitting on any planning committees. Seeing as all members sit on at least one planning committee there could be sparks soon with that one! Planning law, like Local Government Pension training, isn’t the easiest thing to get your head around but the new head of planning is insisting members have to attend. Might start to improve attendance records for some! Had a meeting with our Highways Technical officer today about the road issues and the solutions we have been working on. Russ was there too and he got his issues sorted while mine were about the new speed signs I have already paid for and other traffic calming measures especially on the B1331 and Netherton Village. I had told residents I would not let this officer go until I have a set date for the installation of these signs because we seem to have been waiting months and months for their installation after being agreed and paid for! Well I did get assurances that both the signs at Netherton and Hartford Bridge will be in within the next 2 weeks. There are also other measures to go in and these are hoped to be completed before the end of the school holidays. In fact it might look to some like overkill but Netherton Village especially has suffered far too long from excessive speeding and if these measures don’t have an impact a far more drastic solution is in the wings! One of the measures is to reduce the speed along sections of both the B1331 and the A1068.
  14. 3 points
    West Bedlington Town Council 2019 - Autum Newsletter - https://westbedlington.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/3.-Autumn-2019-Residents-Newsletter-FINAL.pdf gave info on a Sun Dial for the Bedlington Market Place. Today - John Krzyzanowski posted this photo, and comment, on the Facebook group - Bygone Bedlington John Krzyzanowski Admin · 18 hrs I know this isn't historical yet but for those of you who no longer live in Bedlington I thought I would show you this new sundial on Bedlington Front street. designed and made by a Bedlington man. I think it's a fantastic piece of art that I would definitely stop and look at if in another town on holiday. Apparently Mr Moss spent 4 years on it. Photo courtesy of John Fox.
  15. 3 points
    I was a cub from 1954 at the age of 5 until I left as a Queens scout at the age of 17 when those things that wear skirts became more interesting! During my time there the building went from a wooden hut to a brick building with the work beginning around 1964-5. The building was built by Phillipson builders who were based behind Bridge Terrace at the station. The plumbing and heating works were carried out by Henderson Plumbers who had their yard behind Jubilee Terrace. A gas boiler was installed with radiators throughout. Much better than the paraffin fuelled portable heaters with a circular wick that were used. A ladies toilet was added and a new kitchen complete with running hot water. I cannot remember the name of the electrical company at this time but may have had a shop where Sonia's is now. An electrician called Brian Metcalf may have worked on the building. I think the new building was built down to a price. The workmanship was good but the bricks used were not the best or near the best though all other materials were good quality. Money for the new building was raised via jumble sales, beetle drives, bob-a-job, raffles, carol singing at xmas and any other way possible. The only 'ghostly noises' I can think of were creaking sounds in the wooden hut when the wind blew hard. Perhaps others felt differently but I'm like eggy as regards the paranormal and I'm not frightened in the dark. That branch of the scouts was officially designated The 1st Bedlington Station, 15th Bedlingtonshire troop. Blue and yellow neckerchief's were worn as part of the uniform. Walter Gregg was chairman or president. Here's a story. On one of the weekly Friday evening meetings in the wooden hut one of the those portable paraffin heaters suddenly flared up with flames going up 3ft. One of the scouts(no names, no pack drill) grabbed a bucket of water and threw it on the heater. This is , of course, absolutely the wrong thing to do. The flame immediately went from 3ft up to the ceiling and turned along the ceiling in every direction. The ceiling was painted with gloss paint so very quickly the hall filled with black acrid choking smoke. The scouts were soon evacuating though the windows as well as the main door. The scout master grabbed a fire extinguisher and bravely got the flames under control. I don't know how he managed to withstand the conditions. The whole place stunk for months. One of the sign boards on the outside wall indicates it is still a cub/scout meeting place so must be a shared venue. My time spent in either building brings back happy memories.
  16. 3 points
    Bringing us up to the present day ... The Anglo-Saxon word halig, meaning “of good augury” (a good sign/omen) or “inviolate” (free or safe from injury or bad health), was already in use in Old English and there is good evidence to support a theory that it adopted some religious significance during the Middle English period (1100-1450). We find this evidence very near to home – in Durham. William M Aird in his work, St Cuthbert and the Normans: The Church of Durham, 1071-1153 (1998), tells us of Cuthbert’s importance in defining the identity of those who lived in the “Liberty of Durham”, an area of private jurisdiction not directly administered by the king but by someone who enjoyed the same, or similar, rights – in this case the Bishop of Durham. Cuthbert, Aird says, became an important symbol of the autonomy of the area and because of this the people living there became known as the “Haliwerfolc”. Knowing what we know so far, it’s not too difficult to break that word down into its component parts: haliw-er-folc. Haliw is the OE word halig, the letter ‘g’ having been replaced by ‘w’ in an attempt to reproduce the ‘hockle’ sound which I discussed earlier. Er is a Middle English genitive implying a connection to (rather than ownership of) a thing or person and no prizes for guessing that folc means folk. From this we can see that at the beginning of the Middle English period the word halig has acquired a definite religious significance. There are some who believe there is a relationship between ‘whole’ and ‘holy’ and that the religious sense of holy may have developed from keeping believers spiritually whole. https://www.google.com/search?q=holy+etymology&rlz=1C1GGGE_svSE562SE627&oq=holy&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j35i39l2j0j46j0l2j46.8504j0j15&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 A quick peruse of the Oxford Concise Dictionary of English Etymology confirms that the roots of whole and holy are in fact the same – hal. In retrospect, “whole” and “free from injury” do have a lot in common. Barber, The English Language, a Historical Introduction (1997), notes that already at the beginning of the period, 1100 AD, a few other Anglo-Saxon words were being used in relation to Christianity, among them: eastre (Easter), derived by Bede from the name of a goddess whose feast was celebrated at the vernal equinox and hel (Hell), then meaning to cover or conceal. However, halig despite its transferred meaning is still being pronounced with the long vowel sound ‘a’, as in Harley (without the ‘r’). This pronunciation appears to have changed early in the Middle English period in a series of vowel changes which included the previously mentioned munt to mount when some short vowel sounds were lengthened. Several scholars have described these changes, and among them is the transition of the Old English long vowel sound ‘a’, as in Harley, to a different vowel sounding like ‘aw’. Scholars usually compare it to the vowel sound in law but, having heard this sound during my studies, I prefer to liken it to the same vowel sound ‘aw’ in bought but with a heavy leaning towards the Geordie pronunciation of boat. This new sound was represented in spelling by the letter ‘o’ so that halig/haliw became holig and, like Hollen, it eventually lost its last consonant. These changes, I might add, only occurred in the north of England and the reason why is as yet unexplained. My own personal theory is related to influence from the Viking invasions. Southern England continued to use ‘a’ both in speech and writing and later, towards the end of the Middle English period, we find the first recorded evidence of holy in its present form, translated from the ecclesiastical Latin, sanctus spiritus meaning Holy Ghost in the Wycliffe Bible of 1382. A further change to some long vowel sounds occurred in the following period of Early Modern English (1450-1700) – but this time only in the south, more particularly in the London area. In a process which lasted at least two hundred years, and probably the biggest ever change in the pronunciation of English, The Great Vowel Shift, as it’s come to be known, changed the pronunciation of a special group of vowel sounds – those long vowel sounds which are formed at the back of the mouth, like the ‘a’ in halig. The result was vowel sounds which were formed at the front of the mouth, like the ‘o’ in holy which halig became. This was not, however, the same ‘o’ sound being used in the north. This was the result of a completely different process. The southern ‘o’ sound was the sound we now hear in what we call the Queen’s English, or ‘posh’ English as some call it, when the word ‘boat’ is said. So, for many years we had two different pronunciations of the word holy- one sounded like Queen Elizabeth II, the other like @High Pit Wilma. It’s not really known why this major change occurred. Several theories have been put forward. The redistribution of people due to the Black Plague causing changes in the vernacular of London is one such theory, while the hoi polloi’s struggle with pronunciation of the influx of French loanwords is another. A third is a wave of nationalism which swept over England when French rule finally ceased in the fifteenth century. No one really knows. What we do know is that it added to the confusion and irregularity of English spelling in a very big way causing pronunciation and spelling to diverge even further. Many other languages have undergone a similar ‘shift’: German, Spanish, Latin and French for example, but their nations have, through spelling reforms etc. tried to bring the written language nearer the spoken. In England, there is, traditionally, no regulating body for this sort of thing so the idiosyncrasies, irregularities and difficulties of English spelling remain. Thank heavens for that, I say! Without them we would not be able to see and feel the wings of history in our language. Even though the language is constantly changing, no major changes have occurred since The Great Vowel Shift and for this reason I don’t intend to research our words, Holly, holy and mount, any further. They have, to a great extent, arrived at their modern day form and pronunciation by the end of the Early Modern English period in 1700 AD but, it was some years later that the southern variant of pronunciation became the Standard English pronunciation. This is hardly surprising as the seat of power was London. London had always been part of the dominating dialect area: first on the southern border of Mercia, then included in the East Midland dialect area which was later accepted as the standard variant of English much thanks Caxton’s printing press. There’s a saying in linguistic circles that the difference between a dialect and a language is that a language has an army and a fleet of ships. It’s true! All over the world standard languages have arisen from the adoption of the dialect spoken in the areas of power, administration and finance – the capital cities. Time to move on to Bedlington now and a question: Does anybody know of any map of Bedlington before 1806? If you do I’d love to hear about it. To be continued ….
  17. 3 points
    I remembered - to nights one liners :- I’d like to start with the chimney jokes – I’ve got a stack of them. The first one is on the house. Do twins ever realize that one of them is unplanned? I did a gig in a fertility clinic. I got a standing ovulation I have kleptomania. But when it gets bad, I take something for it
  18. 3 points
    First, a correction: “Cnoc an Chuillin (Irish Gaelic) means literally ‘Hill the Holly’ as does the Welsh equivalent ‘Bryn Celyn’ - holy hill”. That should read holly hill and not holy hill. Moving on to the Old English period (OE) 700 – 1100 AD, the Romans had now left Britain but there’s not a lot of evidence to throw any light on what effect they had on the language. What little does remain of their influence is, strangely enough, found in place names. We know that they built military settlements and this is visible today in the names of their major settlements, now ending in –chester which is derived from the Latin castra meaning camp. According to David Crystal The English Language (1990), there’s also the odd borrowed word such as street from straet, but this is of no help to us in unraveling the mystery of Hollymount. I think we can safely say the Romans had no part to play in that name. However, what happened next had a profound effect on the language as Crystal goes on to explain. It was a turbulent time for England with many invasions and this turbulence also found its way into the English language. The sheer number of invaders eventually outnumbered the Celts making it easy for their languages to get a grip on England. England had become a nation of small kingdoms each battling for supremacy and the same thing was happening with their languages. The result, however, was not one united language for England but four different dialects: Northumbrian, Mercian, Kentish and West Saxon. Northumbrian and Mercian came from the Angles, Kentish from the Jutes and West Saxon from the Saxons. The Northumbrian dialect went on to be greatly influenced by the Vikings but it was Mercian that went on to become the standard English which we use today- hardly surprising as Mercian was the dialect of London - the seat of power. As if that wasn’t enough for England to be dealing with, side by side with those invasions another invasion of a more ‘spiritual’ nature was happening as Irish monks arrived to establish Christianity (and monastic buildings) the length and breadth of England. Many of their buildings, Lindisfarne among them, have not stood the test of time and are now in ruins but their contribution to the English language, in the form of the Latin alphabet and many Latin words, has done somewhat better as most of the words they introduced are still in use today. Understandably, most of these words relate to the church: abbot, chalice and hymn as well as many of the words used in church services but some words relate even to their monastic lifestyle with its self-sufficiency in housekeeping, such as: radish, plant, oyster and candle but they left nothing in the way of place names to help explain Hollymount. The Old English period of language development also saw a start to writing manuscripts in this new ‘language’ and those that have survived give a fair amount of authentic research material. The majority of the written material which survives from the period is written in West Saxon dialect but the oldest surviving texts, noted by both Barber and Crystal, are in the Northumbrian dialect: Caedmon’s Hymn, Bede’s Death Song, the poem Leiden Riddle and of course the several thousand names and places in Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, translated from Latin at the request of King Alfred in the second half of the ninth century. Credit must be given here to our North Eastern forefathers who never let anything go to waste if it could be saved for later use! Thank heavens it didn’t end up torn into neat squares and threaded on a string, to be hung behind the door of some draughty, outdoor netty, as has been the fate of so much other written material! What a service they did for historical linguists everywhere! Understandably, there were major changes throughout the period in many aspects of language: spelling, grammar, pronunciation, an ever increasing amount of new words and, of course, place names. During the Old English period, topographical names continued to be used and some new Celtic names may have appeared. Some totally Anglo-Saxon names would certainly have appeared as the invaders built their new settlements and some names, like the previously mentioned Cumberland, mixtures of the two languages, would also appear as the dialects rubbed shoulders with each other. However, the Anglo-Saxon invasions caused a new type of place name to emerge. As land was being taken by invaders, numerous settlements were appearing and these were being named after the chieftains or landowners – presumably of high status and therefore well known should one wish to find one’s way by asking. Most of us are aware of a couple of Old English (OE) place name endings: –ton from the OE tun, meaning an enclosure, farmstead or hamlet and –ham from the OE ham, meaning homestead or from hamm, meaning meadow. Barber in his study The English Language, a Historical Introduction (1997) adds -ley from OE leah meaning wood or glade, -field from OE feld meaning open country and several other endings of a topographical nature. Hollymount, having neither ‘endings’ nor personal names to help us, requires us to now break down the word into its component parts – holly and mount – to look for clues. As previously said, topographical names were still being constructed during the period so all hope is not lost. Next, I’ll be reporting my findings on holly and mount and having a look for any connections with holy. … to be continued.
  19. 3 points
    I am not sure if anyone would be interested but I have a copy of the Evening Chronicle for the 7th May 1945. Here is a picture of the front page.
  20. 3 points
    My garden is 2-3 acres! That's the bit nearest the house. Most of it I try to keep looking like woodland so most of those leaf trees are planted by me (saplings dug up on my travels) or self sown by wind and birds. I found the density of the forest close into the house on all sides rather oppressive when I came here and I've worked to open up and make more 'airy' the space around the house. The Hawthorn bush in the foreground is grown from a pip brought from England, Wooler to be precise! I've also planted in hundreds of Birch saplings. I like the way they move in a breeze. Fir trees are so stiff and lifeless to look at. I never tire of that view, which I also have from my kitchen window. It's beautiful whatever the time of year whether it be winter: or, my favourite, early autumn when the cold air pressing down on the lakes causes the moisture to rise into the air: Magical!
  21. 3 points
    Happy Anzac Day , Lest we forget.
  22. 3 points
    Answers to last Friday's quiz: 1. Wimbledon 2. Egypt 3. The USA and Canada 4. Somerset 5. 66 feet 6. Sarah Brightman 7. A, B, AB, O 8. Bald Eagle 9. Australia 10. 1901 11. Percy Sugden 12. Galileo Galilei New quiz tomorrow.
  23. 3 points
    Answers to last Friday's quiz: 1. Rawhide 2. A bird 3. British Thermal Unit 4. Mark Phillips 5. Chartwell 6. David 7. Polio 8. Jules verne 9. John Curry 10. Disraeli 11. Empire Day 12. Geometry New quiz tomorrow.
  24. 3 points
    Hi Folks! Aav been locked in for five weeks , since me Wife had a really serious Seizure ,the worst one she has had for over thirty years,cos for the first two weeks after the seizure,I couldn't leave her for a minute,as the saying goes,it was full on nursing from me at home. Then the lock-down started,and since then,very good neighbours of mine have been doing our shopping,it's at times like this when the value of good friends and neighbours is very much appreciated!! Both of us are in the really vulnerable category,so are strictly abiding by the rules for everybody's sakes. The positive side is,we have gardens front and rear,the front garden is decent-sized but faces right onto the main road,which normally has a constant stream of traffic,but which is now strangely quiet!..I can hear Birds whistling a mile away!,and last night,under the glow of the street lamp outside our house,I was in the drive,and glanced around when something caught my eye,moving slowly in the darkness. Mr Foxy, [of the four-legged kind!],was standing,brazenly staring up at me,then after a few seconds, ambled away unconcerned,walking on the dry road,cos it was better than the damp grass...[what a pity!] Nowt like having Elk on your doorstep,Canny Lass,but for Bedltn,it's a lovely sight to see! Fortunately,wor back garden faces owa thi back fields,reet owa ti Scotland Gate,and futher owa ti Hepscot way,so it's a wid open aspect,wi aal the birds coming in. So we're fortunate ti have somewhere ti waak aroond,and ti potter on with. Aav got a wee pond in the back garden,and when a put it in,twenty years ago,a asked me [then] fower-year-aad Niece ti fetch me some Stickleyback fish ti put in,cos a aalwis loved them when aa was a bairn. She came wi her Granda one day,after been doon the Furnace Bank,ti thi River Blyth,and she proudly presented me wi a jamjar wi fower Luvly Stickly's. Owa the last twenty yeors,them fower fish have bred,and bred several generations,and aav noo got aboot thirty.[having given dozens away to friends,and released hundreds back into the river!] So a can sit and watch me fish on a nice warm afternoon,for aboot ten minutes,then back ti thi grindstone![nivvor still!] Vic,and Canny Lass,a cud live amang the forests withoot any persuasion!![we did for owa twenty yeors,wi thi touring caravan,farm and Forestry Commision sites,from 1977-on..when the bairns were young..] Aav got me guitars and recording gear,noo that's a hobby that,if a had the time,a cud spend hours and hours...nay..days and days..on a project...multi-tracking,and creating me aan music![which a used ti dae,afore me Wife became disabled,and a became her full-time carer]..nivvor mind,nowt's a bother to me,aam cool!! Me motorbike is an ornament,nice ti luk at! Same wi thi car!..aam not grousing,a feel very fortunate to not be in the same sad predicament that a lot of families around the world are in. Then,late at night,to relax,a watch U-Tube music videos,documentaries,or a dvd noo and again. A divvent watch telly,haven't for aboot thirty years,knaa very little aboot what's gaan on,in the news,except for the latest Govt Briefings,and what snippets me Wife tells me ..!! Wi me health problems a hae ti avoid stress,and a gaan thi best way aboot it!! So that's my life story ,Isolation doesn't affect me mentally,aav telt folks in conversation,for years,that aa can easily mix wi folks,or a cud just as easily live in the jungle or an island on me own!![as lang as a had me guitars and me laptop!] Both me Wife,and mesel,have found aal the comments in this thread really interesting,as ti hoo other folks are coping. Big thanks folks! [First time aav ivvor commented withoot ivor mentioning.............COAL!...[drat! ...a just did!]
  25. 3 points
    3G and myself are doing fine here in Italy. We are in the South, and are fairing far better than the poor people in Lombardy. That's not to say that it's good, we do still have many cases here, but compared to the north we are getting off very lightly. We don't go out very much at all, but do have a very large garden we can get out into. 3G hasn't been out at all since 20th March, when he decided the daily bike ride wasn't worth the €3000 euro fine if caught. The lockdown is very, very strict here. We have to carry a form with us when we (I) go out, stating exactly where we have come from, where we are going, and why. Only one person from the household can go shopping, and at our local Lidl only 10 people in the shop at any one time. I go out to do the shopping no more than once a week if I can help it. That's it then, that is how things are for us here in Italy.
  26. 3 points
    Hi Vic, I'm catching up on the D I Y duties around the house/garden although I'm having problems getting bits and pieces because most of the builders merchants will only supply the trade. My other pastimes are watching the missus hard at work , I could sit there for hours on end. 😃 We have no snow to clear here so during her allotted break we have a game of darts,...she's now beat me three nights running !🥵 On the plus side I'd just bought a new car before the current restrictions, It's doing three weeks to the gallon.
  27. 3 points
    Unfortunately I have no idea. It was installed within Facebook on my old Windows Vista Desktop PC and it still keeps it's dictionary up to date but the version/release number is not displayed anywhere. I said above it was four years ago but I think it's more like six + years as the stats show I have played over 4,000 games. When I switch on my Windows 10 PC I will see if that gives the version number. Don't hold your breath, I'm struggling to get out of bed at the moment - my diary is more like Ann Franks = Day 1 Hid - day 2 Hid - Day 3 Hid........................
  28. 3 points
    Had to give the Scrabble up about four ago - involuntary reflex actions of the legs kept knocking the coffee table and destroying the board. Changed games and now play an online version of Scrabble = Words_With_Friends and the board stays intact.
  29. 3 points
    Over 70s are now in home-quarantine for two weeks here (to begin with) . Dug the Scrabble and the Yatzee out yesterday. Fortunately we stocked up on wine on a w/e in Germany a couple of months ago. Also hoping for a bit of good weather (we finally got snow that stayed, a couple of weeks ago) so that I can get some gardening done without interruptions.
  30. 3 points
    Not sure if this is it @Alan Edgar (Eggy1948) sorry about the watermark but the pirates have been selling them again.😡
  31. 3 points
    February 2020. Just into February and already meeting times and dates are clashing. I had to be at Whitley Bay for 11am so I had to give apologies for a planning site visit this morning at Widdrington. I then had my monthly surgery and again quite a list of things to do resulted. I had another Fell-a-Ship meeting today about men’s mental health. Again quite a few representatives turned up all dedicated to promoting good mental health in men. We now have enough groups enlisted to support initiatives within Bedlington. What we need now is for people to come forward to put those initiatives in place with the full backing of this group. Hopefully when people see this sign and banner they will recognise it for what it will stand for. Strategic planning tonight and with only one application on the agenda it might be presumed to be a short meeting. But this is planning and this single application took nearly 2 hrs. This was the Widdrington application and going through the paperwork I did have several questions. In fact as the meeting progressed I had even more! At one point I had to say planners had done their usual and pulled out the trump cards to curtail me getting reasonable answers to my questions! It annoys me when they do this, use seemingly arcane planning law which we don’t know about to answer quite open and honest questions. In the end I agreed with the application because this development was aimed at and costed for first time buyers. I had requested a visit to the old council offices in Bedlington and I had the guided tour today. I really wanted to see just how bad the state of the building is in so I have a better idea of what usage it might be put to. There is a huge problem which seems to have put everyone off this building and seeing it first-hand I can understand why. However it’s not insurmountable in my view, although it will be costly and fraught with legal and technical problems! Yet another grim legacy from the days of WDC! Meetings galore today but first off a MOT for my car. The rest of the day was spent trying to sort out some of the concerns residents have passed to me and for once a few resolutions after I insisted on face to face meetings with the appropriate personnel. I also had the Plessey Woods event to tie up any loose ends. Saturday and the Superheroes were at Plessey Woods. Again it’s another event I can’t attend for work commitments but I’m more than happy to make these things happen especially as it was enjoyed by so many of our kiddies. I have even arranged for canopies and seating in case it rained, thanks Tony! It didn’t and the afternoon was another great success, thanks Charmaine, Danny and the ground staff. Another busy day today with a Scrutiny meeting at 10am kicking it off. One of the main items was the proposed budget and once again Jeff Reid and myself raising most of the questions. I had further questions about the proposed rail link as this was another agenda item. The full cost of this will be in the order of £160+M and we are looking for around £100M off the government through one of their funding streams. Other funding will come from other applications with NCC putting in nearly £30M. Listening to the officer things are now proceeding in the right direction because we have built up a good tail wind with support from most if not all bodies which will input into this. I did have several questions about finance and ownership not least. Also the fact that these new stations, or newly used stations, could and should be attracting economic regeneration in their own right and this was generally acknowledged and agreed. I had a further question about the actual rolling stock which will be used, particularly how it would be powered, given that we have called a climate emergency and we are supporting a huge infrastructure in green energy production. I said not using our own green energy and relying on old diesel rolling stock was such an obvious own goal I hope this won’t be the case? The officer responded by saying electric seemed the way forward and we could very well see the pantograph raised near Newcastle but then lowered in Northumberland where battery power could take over. Sounds like a plan to me! The last order of business was the proposed new arm’s length trading entities NCC want to initiate. Possibly up to 5 new trading companies all controlled by NCC. I wanted clarification as to what was going to be included in any business models (looking at the last time this was done and the associated ‘indiscretions’!) and the fact that it said these would be looking at new income generation, NOT SAVINGS on existing service deliveries! The CeO replied to my questions and assured me she was going to make sure safeguards were in place this time and only trading outside of our existing service provisions would be considered. Given what I have seen of her ridged insistence on proper governance at Advance board meetings I was happy with the answers. This might go some way to respond to my calls for the biggest employer in Northumberland (NCC) to seek out contracts within the private and public sector to generate income and not to solely rely on putting up tax rates year after year. I expect this will be used to create more discord for political reasons but as I was the only member to question this item in its details then once again disingenuousness would seem to be the order of the day. Having now seen the political manipulations in the press it seems my prediction was spot on! Instead of getting to grips with this stuff at committee where changes could possibly be made some are happy to sit on their hands only to wring them in public later! This meeting closed then it was a dash to get back to Bedlington for some tree planting. I was struck at the previous scrutiny meeting where the new urban tree planting initiative was discussed that this should be opened up to our youngsters to get involved with. So I contacted the schools and youth groups in my area and arranged for them to come down, with the environmental portfolio holder, and help plant these trees on the 20 Acres. 29 sites have been identified within the urbanised SE to be used for planting new trees. The ambition is to give every young person in the county a tree to plant so they can identify with it as it grows and matures. That is the bigger countywide initiative as well as planting up a new ‘People’s Forest’. It was a very cold windy day but we had a good turnout of young people to help and they seemed to enjoy it. This is only the first batch which will be going into Bedlington so I’ll do the same for the next lot which are going in behind the Hartlands. I have been asked what sort of trees were used and I now have the list….5x Acer campestre, 5x Alnus cordata, 5x Crataegus laevigata Paul’s Scarlet, 4x Malus tschonoskii, 6x Populus tremula, 5x Prunus padus and 5x Tilia tomentosa. So 35 in all and they are semi mature not the usual wisps. I had to be up at County Hall today for my LAC community chest meeting. I chair this one and again insisted we held this extra one to use up every last penny in the budget, given that is all goes to community groups and voluntary sector. Once again after going through all the new applications and doing a bit of jiggling we spent everything in the budget! As I left I had the chance to collar cabinet members and press them to attend a ‘talk’ I have organised. There is another ‘talk’ being held about councils, democracy and environment with some of our young people, thanks to the help from Leading Link! It’s something I have always been keen to support and I normally go myself and talk to any of the youngsters interested in politics, with a small ‘P’. This time I have invited most of the big shots in NCC and failing to get our first choice of chair I have agreed to chair it myself. It will therefore be something like a Question Time. Great chance for our youngsters to put their questions directly to the movers and shakers up at County Hall and given who will chair it there will be no hiding places!!!! Another Friends of West Lea Cemetery tonight and again a good turnout. This time I had invited the officer responsible for cemeteries within the county and he duly attended. It was good to see how each side can help and interact with the other to get our cemetery not only up to expectations but surpass them! The group has designs on the old building there and this is something we are starting to look at in greater detail. The officer responded to all the questions and concerns which were put to him and in fact sorted some out as he sat there. I had pushed Advance to hold regular Bedlington Business meetings and our second one was today. Good turnout but I still would like to see more Bedlington business making use of the help and advice on offer. Been putting together the funding for the new fence and hedging for the front of West Lea Cemetery and I expect to see work starting very soon. I think this will tidy up the whole of the front of the cemetery, which was the first ask from residents who live opposite, and provide a bit more security. Thanks go to WBTC for agreeing to a contribution for this cemetery project, I’m hoping it’s somewhere we can all take a renewed pride in soon. I have a full council meeting coming up, it’s the budget one, and going through the reports and papers one stands out as inconceivable. It’s the report into the county council planning function. Once again like the Active report and the Arch one we read previously, the more exasperation and incredulity took over. Here is the link……… http://committee.northumberland.gov.uk/Meeting.aspx?MeetID=9674 When anyone reads statements like this you know something is very wrong………. “There is now significant evidence that appears to suggest that attempts were made to subvert these functions in respect of a major planning application, namely the application for Dissington Garden Village. This is clearly of significant concern and is explained in detail further below.” Also…… ” The independent investigation report found that, in respect of the specific planning application (which was for a large residential development of some 257 hectares on a green field site), decisions and conduct in relation to that planning application were not transparent or appropriate.” “It appears that significant efforts were made by several persons in positions of authority and control within the County Council to collude with and secure a 5 number of inappropriate advantages for the planning applicant / developer in the application in question. Such advantages would not be conferred on any other planning applicant in the normal conduct of the Authority’s planning functions.” There is evidence that discussions between the previous executive / senior management of the County Council and the developer / planning applicant had been ongoing and in addition to other discussions reached an advanced stage regarding the provision of a loan, from the County Council to the planning applicant concerned. This loan, for which heads of terms and other correspondence have been obtained, offered the planning applicant an initial £34million from the County Council to fund the development with further funding of 55% of the site value “once outline planning permission was granted”. The ‘site value’ is not clear but the planning applicant has indicated that the site was forecast to “have a gross development value of c.£772million”. This correspondence was conducted by a former chief officer of the County Council, on that chief officer’s personal email account (not that officer’s County Council email account). It is now clear that senior officers within the Planning department were similarly using personal email accounts to transact County Council business in respect of this same planning application, this is further outlined at paragraph 21 below. It would be highly irregular for any local authority to enter into a funding arrangement such as this with any planning applicant. That Northumberland County Council appears to have been offering such substantial funding to a planning applicant – and that the Authority is the Strategic Planning Authority which would determine the planning application in question – may well raise valid questions as to the impartiality and objectivity with which the application would be determined. In terms of financial governance, the values concerned in turn were likely to represent a serious financial risk to public finances.” “There is evidence that the applicant and / or their advisers in the specific planning application were invited / allowed by a very senior officer in the Planning department to write and alter parts of the Planning officers’ report to the Strategic Planning Committee. This report ultimately recommended approval of the application. The applicant was also allowed to view confidential drafts of the report which would not normally be published outside of the County Council. There is therefore serious concern of undue influence / conflict of interest on the part of the planning applicant, enabled by a senior officer in the Planning department having already offered and given significant hospitality to a very senior officer.” “Anonymous Allegations – in December 2017, two anonymous letters were sent on to the County Council by two elected members. However these elected members then circulated the anonymous letters widely, not only sharing these with the External Auditor, but also the (then) Police and Crime Commissioner, many officers, and a number of elected members. The anonymous letters were clearly politically motivated and much of the content was pejorative in nature. Notwithstanding this, those aspects of the anonymous letters which were capable of checking back to facts were thoroughly examined. This involved interviews with officers and elected members, as well as gathering and analysis of all available supporting information. Following this detailed, impartial and evidence based investigation, it was established beyond any doubt that the anonymous letters were wholly without basis. However, that these letters were relied on so prominently in the legal action brought against the County Council and others, again the Authority would contend is further evidence of the spurious nature of the claims made against it in the writ and underlines the lack of any evidence to substantiate those spurious claims.” I’m going to have to question this at the meeting! Full council today and a meeting with the Leader just before to make sure we are on the same page with my sports centre proposal. I have been working on getting a small sports centre up at West Lea for about 2 years now and this is the final push. I have had planners there, sport professionals there, builders and funders and all of them have backed my ideas to change the small changing rooms there into a proper sports multi-use complex. I have negotiated half a million pounds to kick start this and I wanted to know the in’s and out’s before it was put to members in the budget proposals. Happy with what was discussed and if the budget gets approved later we can finally start the next stage in the process. Just a picture that no one in Bedlington has ever seen before! A stand along budget item for a community sports facility in the town. It’s been a lot of hard work and although not the multi millions other towns have had its something to start with and build on. Its half a million no one else has ever been able to get in writing, even those belonging to whatever political party in charge, so much for an independent member not being able to get things done! Went down for full council and I was expecting fireworks on one of the agenda items. I wasn’t disappointed. When the audit report came up and questions were allowed it didn’t take a genius to see who was on the war path and who were battening down the hatches! Several members voiced their outrage at what had happened and I was particularly keen to suggest we needed some resolution to this and previous reports if only for the reputation of the council. I expect to see more fireworks about this over the coming months! I have to say yet another debacle deriving from the last administration, surely there can’t be anymore? As we have seen Active Northumberland report……lacking any sort of competent administration, Arch……lacking any sort of financial governance at all, and now this……..and all done under the last Labour administration, what were these people thinking of? The budget came up and after the presentation and questions it went to the vote. It passed by about 38 to 1 with 25 abstentions! Now it wasn’t that long ago I was accused, very vociferously and vocally, of letting my residents down by abstaining on a vote, even though I explained my reasons why I had chosen to take that path. I was also “told” abstaining wasn’t in the remit of a decent councillor! The very same people were now abstaining en-mass. Might be worth a look at a dictionary…….. At the very least it clearly shows a political whip in play! As it now stands the video of that meeting has been taken down even though it was a live recording and available until late this morning! Also there were plenty of members of the public in attendance at the meeting so if this is an attempt to stop the information coming into the public realm it seems flawed. Two members were named in the meeting for the actions they had taken and I can only assume there has been some sort of complaint by either, both or a political party which has resulted in this public account being taken down! I will be pressing to get it reinstated so everyone is aware of what has been going on. Well the video has been reinstated with only the names edited out. Gets exciting about 22 mins in…………and why they tried to stop me from speaking I don’t know! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDto-qIHd0g&t=1329s Unless and until we get some sort of resolution to this and other past ‘events’ then I have to disagree with the legal opinion expressed in the video. I would be more than happy to abide by any verdict which resulted from a group of 12 open minded citizens which had heard evidence presented to them in a court of law. Not allowing that outcome can only result in more accusations and allegations because there is not a final and transparent result. Just had reason to look at the comparison data matrices for the main towns in Northumberland. Bedlington has a greater population than the towns of Alnwick, Berwick, Hexham and Morpeth but town centre footfall is the lowest. My argument is that there is little reason to walk down into our Town centre, comparatively, until we see the investment into our town centre redevelopment start to bear fruit. Of course we actually need the infrastructure built to enable that! Considering the downturn in the fortunes of high street retailers shouldn’t we be looking to augment that footfall with other non-retail usage? That’s why I keep lobbying to get Bedlington taken seriously as a site for an Enterprise Hub with training and mentoring and even small units for bespoke businesses to try out in. That would help footfall for the retailers in the town, new and existing, and start to make Bedlington a destination town rather than the crossroads it is at present. I hope someone has been listening to me droning on about this and I can only wait until June to see if that has happened! Local Area Council meeting tonight and only the Local Transport Plan on the agenda. We heard the presentations and then quite a few members had questions. One big bugbear came out to not just me but Russ and Bill as well. Once again it seems Bedlington, as a whole, is faring less well in terms of funding than other areas, even though we have meticulously gone through the scoring criteria to make sure our proposals were vindicated, so we have made a complaint! Getting around 1% of the budget for the 4th largest Town in the county wasn’t something we feel we can accept! Further meetings have been agreed now! I had to call into Leading Link today to talk to the youngsters about this upcoming Question Time. One of the teachers led it and we went through some of the types of questions they want to ask. Well it looks like the 5th Column are out again drip feeding their one sided views to anyone who will give them time. Have to say it’s a bit disingenuous to suggest I haven’t kept people aware of what’s going on after publishing a monthly diary of my time as a NCC councillor from the very first month. In fact the feedback told me I was publishing too much at one point! As for taking a role in Advance Northumberland, I said at the time I was accepting this poison chalice if only to get the Bedlington Town Centre development over the line and it may have taken some time but I have brought it up at every board meeting and been party to quite a few tense and terse meetings about it. As it now stands a press report is going out this week detailing the agreed timetable for the works but I don’t see why it can’t all be achieved earlier than listed and that’s a line I will be taking and pressing for! https://www.investinginbedlington.co.uk/2020/02/25/Bedlington-town-centre-redevelopment-update-on-project/ LGPS today at County Hall and again a very intense session not least because of the proposed merger with another body. We have been examining this merger and it has been worked on for the last 18 months and had been agreed at the last full council meeting but we still have months of oversight to complete. So half the meetings was taken up with the intricacies of this merger, the other half business as normal for the panel. I had to leave at noon and had already told the chair but we were just getting to the nitty gritty of a proposed new alignment in our investment portfolio so I had to stay for the vote. This meant I was running late for the next meeting at Ashington. I made it to the next meeting an Advance Board meeting just as it was about to start. Again another large agenda to get through with all of the new governance procedures in place. Advance is now so far removed from what Arch used to get up to its unreal and I feel the popular view that’s its one and the same in its conduct is unfair. New web site about to go live which if anyone takes the time to go through it they will see for themselves just how different the two companies are these days. Just one item to note will be the publication of board minutes something unheard of previously but one which can only increase transparency. Same day and the trees and overgrown hedges have been taken out for the Town centre development. Seems lots of people are saying they are distraught at this action but it had all been listed in discharge of conditions attached to the planning application. Also new trees are included in the proposed landscaping to make up for taking these out. Not only trees but shrubs and flowers are included too to soften the hardness of this commercial development. We are finally seeing some action which can only mean the real build out is a matter of weeks away. Aldi have their planning application due on 16th March after which, if successful, they will issue a timetable of works. I have already insisted the Advanced works and the Aldi works run in tandem to minimise any necessary disruption a build out of this size will inevitably result in, for Bedlington residents.
  32. 3 points
    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 ? 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. 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. 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. Retirement doesn't seem that bad - at least you have more time to look for soup spoons.
  33. 3 points
    Vic, this is the strangest autumn and winter I've experienced! We had our first snow in mid September! That's early even by Scandinavian standards. It didn't stay more than a day however and, with the exception of a 3 inch fall in December, it's been more like spring ever since. Haven't had the shovel out once. My arm muscles are wasting away. I've had to change my favourite whisky glass for one that's less heavy.
  34. 3 points
    Any New Year resolutions waiting to be broken? PS. Happy birthday 3g!
  35. 3 points
    Best wishes to all ... hoping you all have a good Xmas and a great New Year.
  36. 3 points
    I think there was a church of some description before 1069. . The site is important . The Golden age of Northumberland and the rise of Christianity had many people believing and then going back to pagan ways . 1069 was the monks fleeing from the Normans. I believe the history of Cuthbert’s body being here in Bedlington starts before that date. Hence they return to safety . The church site is on higher ground . The river is nearby we have a holy mount. ( ok Hollymount now). No one can disagree because no one really knows. Again Bedlington says to me Bede town in honour of The Venersble Bede. Various vicars make reference to a time before 1069.. The service was by candlelight and in Latin . Very atmospheric .The ancestors have all left their mark in making the place special regardless of belief. ‘Honour those that went before us. There is a group called Show of Hands and they do a track called All Hallows’ Eve. Basically you light the lantern at your door and honour those that went before on Halloween . A better use of time than trick or treat and scaring your neighbours. Just go for the chocolate to remember. Being back in the Shire life gets busy. Even managed to get to the Gallowgate end to watch the Toon play the Palace..
  37. 3 points
    Beginning of the financial year, mileage allowance 45p/mile. He can't have already clocked up 10,00 miles in 28 days to be getting the reduced rate of 25p/mile - can he? 90p gives him a two mile journey for each log entry. Maybe he just popped out for lunch: Hare & Hound, up Pimlico way, Star & Garter, south bank, Fiddler's Elbow, Camden Town, The Granny Knot, Bayswater, The Frog & Whistle, Lambeth - the list is endless depending on direction from place of work. Mind you, I'm assuming he was alone in the car because otherwise he'd be entitled to an extra 5p per mile for every "qualifying" passenger and that makes the maths too difficult (wish I'd paid more attention to Miss Wilkinson)!
  38. 3 points
    Merry Christmas everyone.
  39. 3 points
    Well if nothing else at least it’s good to see the Front Street nice and busy today.
  40. 3 points
    Hi This is my father he was a overman down the 3/4drift tally number 453 ..locker row 4 bottom ..All ways seen him on the Golden mile before going down the pit . I worked with him had the locker above him . All ways looked after the lads that worked for him .. Great fellow everytime I when to see him at home he give me a job to do then watched me do it .Once an Overman all ways an Overman ..Dad xx
  41. 3 points
  42. 3 points
    I said I would write a thank you to the people who helped make the Commemorative Plaque at the West Lea Cemetery possible. Some might not know but West Lea Cemetery in Bedlington is a nationally recognised War Graves site and with this in mind I came up with this design for a commemorative plaque which could be attached to the entrance. With over 28 graves directly attributed to the second world war and many more annotations on family graves mainly attributed to the first world war it was time we saw a permanent memorial plaque. Taking my idea and design down to Mike Robertson and his innovative team at Barrington Metals they came up with an all metal plaque which exactly matched my expectations. After a whirlwind week it was produced and fitted in time for Remembrance Day. Thanks go to Tony and Stephen, NCC cemetery management, and also the CeO of NCC who I needed special permission off to pay for the project. I am especially grateful for the kind words and recommendations off so many people in our community when they have seen this new plaque. With a new Friends of West Lea Cemetery group I can only see this usually forgotten and neglected important local asset improve and become something we can all take pride in.
  43. 3 points
    October 2019. October and after a short break straight back into it. Being a Thomas Cook customer on top of everything else is sending the house into meltdown! Having had to cancel my surgery because of a change in travel plans I now have several home visits to do. First one in the Chesters. After a nice chat and seeing first-hand what the problems were it was then a quick trip up to Netherton Village for another home visit. This one will be more problematical but given some of the meetings I have this week I should be able to get this mentioned during them. Along with Russ and Bill I had a meeting with the local police team today but it had to be cancelled at the last minute. I had some constituency concerns to address so I insisted on a private meeting with them anyway. Lots of food for thought with this one and I’m afraid more questions than answers, which wasn’t really the fault of the local cops its just the complexity of the issues. I have been trying to get a meeting with the NCC leadership for some time and received a message off the secretary saying if I could make lunchtime today they were all in one place at the same time! I went up and waited in the secretary’s office! We had what I would consider a positive meeting and one I expect results to flow from! I put my positions forcefully and had agreement in the end. There were several topics covered, each with their own nuances but in I think we worked out a strategy for each. Once home I had a quick cuppa then it was off to a meeting at Gallagher Park. This one was with the Barnesbury Cycling Club as they try to get funding pulled together for a renewed BMX track. The other independent councillors, EBPC and WBTC had met earlier in the week with them and most had pledged some funding to support their ambitious plans. I had already shown them how to apply for one funding source and they have been successful with that one. Strangely only EBPC and the Labour councillor for the Sleekburn ward have refused their plea for funding help. Seeing as they need to match fund a generous Sports England grant it was a no brainer for me because helping them reach half the amount unlocks so much more and improves the offer down there for all our young people, I just wish I could have offered more. Again once home a quick cuppa then out for a WBTC meeting. During my update for them I told them about the Halloween event in Plessey Woods and the event aimed at our youngsters for next February. I have even arranged for shelters for the seating area for the February one, just in case. Part of the challenge I was given when I got the money for the new play park down in Plessey Woods was to increase visitor numbers and I know how much extra its being used now and given we are using it for extra events as well even these numbers can only increase in the short term. I also know there is another event for which a funding bid has been worked on and submitted. Just had an audit committee meeting for Advance and good to hear the new governance and polices which we have been putting in place for the new company is starting to have the desired effect. I did have several questions for the external auditor which were answered in their entirety. We were also given reports by internal audit and again very helpful as we transform the company. Been up to see a couple of my constituents who are both reporting problem with roads and paths within the ward. For some reason NCC have been out and marked the bad bits of roads but have never completed? In fact its been that long the marker paint has eroded off both. Why NCC fail to keep residents informed is beyond me and seems to me to be a prime requirement for any ‘business’. I think a question at full council is called for because I have had many such issues! Another likewise problem is with trees situated in our housing estates. Seems to me at some point in the past we have planted the wrong type of trees and they are now mature enough to cause real problems for residents. The pretty rows of nice looking plantings the developers left as they moved out of the estates are now pushing up paths and pavements, undermining foundations, touching roofs and blocking reception and making some paths unusable. Forward planning at its best! Given the amount of contact I have been having concerning these problems I will do a spreadsheet to list the item, concern and any actions forthcoming. Thats the only way I can think of to keep on top of this seeing as some have been listed for action but in fact nothing has been done since the problem was reported. Had to attend an internal audit for Advance and nice to hear things seem to be changing. We did ask for a more contemporary update taking into account the changes which we have put in over the last few months to measure their performance. That was agreed and I hope it shows the huge change in corporate governance we have put thorough recently. No more “Arch” type shenanigans! Had another Friends of West Lea Cemetery meeting tonight and I hope there are some actions forthcoming. Plenty spoken about so getting them seen to is the way forward now. Pleased the ‘spoil’ heap has been moved! Local Area Council or LAC meeting tonight but it was just for planning matters. In fact there was only one item on the agenda, the new play area for WBTC. Christine the Mayor gave a presentation about the project and we heard the response off the legal consultees. One really surprised me. It was off public protection and made mention of a noise assessment and secondly went on about floodlighting the area? I said I was bemused by this seeing as floodlighting wasn’t even in the application so by planning standards we shouldn’t even be able to consider it, but I wanted to know exactly what the noise assessment was about. Are we really going to measure the cheerful noises off children playing in the new park? Seems it was more about the noise off the new equipment so I made sure that was listed as the sole reason for the noise assessment! It was only in front of us because NCC own the land and it went through unanimously. There was a Locality event on in the Community Centre today and I had tried to promote it as much as I could. This will lead to a directory of local voluntary groups etc and should show people exactly what’s going on in the Town and environs. There was a good turn out and I hope it all gets listed. A directory of local groups would make my job of telling them where funding is available much easier so we get as much inward investment into the voluntary sector here as possible. Fire fighters pension board meeting today and as usual a whole swathe of papers to go through. In fact I suggested doing this in bite sized chunks might be advisable so we have doubled the amount of meetings. So much to consider and much of it very technical in nature. Having shorter meetings but more often would make it much easier to keep on top of. Just had a meeting with highways technical after residents got in touch to complain about their estate road. He agreed their road is needing quite significant works done but that has to go into the LTP for consideration and budgeting. He did promised remedial action on the worst bits would be done ASAP though. I had a meeting with NCC about my sports project this morning and after discussing the best way forward it was agreed to ask for the feasibility funding as a first step. That is now proceeding! Its taken 2 years to get to this stage! On my way home I called in to report back to a resident about the concerns she had been onto me about and whilst they are going to be addressed I couldn’t tell her exactly when. That depends on budget pressures but if not this financial year then certainly next. I then had to call in to see a Development Trust member because they have agreed to fund an item for another voluntary group. Next up a visit to the manufacturer for the memorial plaque I have commissioned for the West Lea Cemetery to make sure that’s still on track. With all that done I could then get on with my own stuff for work this weekend. I had a meeting with WBTC and NCC Cemetery’s about West Lea Cemetery. Good positive meeting and the new Friends of Group is a welcome addition according to NCC officers! Plenty to get on with and agreement on most. Advance Board meeting this afternoon and again quite a lengthy meeting. We recapped the new strategic strategy we have put in place for the group and explained what the internal audit had said. The Chair had to pull my horns in when I spoke about Bedlington but apart from that the company is being turned around slowly but surely and with a large new project in Blyth…… Ahem Mr Chair that will be Cambois or Bedlingtonshire, its our side of the river, not to be parochial of course! Still lots to do but at every meeting we see a whole swathe of new governance and policies put in place. I hope we soon see some business help put in place in Bedlington and help the businesses we have as well as help anyone thinking about starting one. Just heard thats coming this month! https://www.northumberland.gov.uk/News/2019/Jun/Council-to-declare-climate-emergency.aspx All member Climate Change meeting tonight and a decent turn out of councillors for once. We heard two presentations about the problems and what NCC intend to do about them. The projects are aimed at making us carbon neutral in about 10 years. There were some pretty impressive facts and figures quoted and at the end we did have a chance to ask questions. I asked about how much of our current energy usage is delivered by renewables, given the trends we see in vehicle production and the fact that gas supplies into new houses is to be ended in the near future are we reasonably able to take all that extra usage and still be carbon neutral by the anticipated date and lastly do we assess carbon footpaths into our calculations given things like battery usages. Seems we are just over the 50% in renewables at present and if we get all the subsidies and grants off central government etc we stand a good chance of achieving the outcome we want. As for measuring the carbon footprint of all associated items the answer was no but the speaker did admit there are some pretty nasty ingredients in batteries which would skew any resulting calculations! Trees and peat bogs were spoken about as a means of carbon capture with a large investment going into tree planting in urban areas. Keilder was mentioned and I asked if broad leave or pine trees were better at carbon capture. Broad leaf trees are much better but to me that means decades of growth before they reach their potential. One item which did prick my ears up was the hydro power generation which is being looked at. I think we have a reasonable possibility for that using the tidal estuary on our river. In fact I have just wrote in and suggested looking at the possibility of using modern designed hydro units to generate power for Bedlington! Maybe the old Iron Works could still yet give us an insight into using water to provide power for Bedlington! Whatever happens change is coming and I want Bedlington into the forefront of any possible investment.
  44. 3 points
    August 2019. Second of August and I have a meeting with WBTC about the Local Transport Plan trying to get some real benefits out of it for all our residents. What a refreshing change to talk to Town councillors and other county councillors about schemes which address concerns residents have raised and the only thing on the agenda was improving the current situation. We went through all the concerns and suggestions which residents had sent in to NCC highways and settled on the ones which hadn’t already been addressed or were in the process of being addressed with a view to support them. Strategic planning today and going into county hall for the meeting I chatted to other members of the committee who all asked me to curtail any objections or suggestions I had. Looks like I’m being blamed for the meetings overrunning, ha ha! I did have to declare interests in two of the agenda items, as did another member, because Ascent Homes were the applicant and they are a division of Advance. First application was about new school facilities within Haydon Bridge High School. This is a maintained school so NCC was the applicant. After the presentation by the planning officer and as there were no speakers we went into members questions. Seems I was the only member to have some questions about this and I could almost hear an audible groan! I said while I had no problem with the school extension I did have a problem with the fact that we were cutting down 44 trees, which to me seemed an inordinate amount, with zero mitigation? I went on and said we have just declared a climate emergency and here we are ripping out the lungs of that area, we can and should be doing better! I pointed out that there was already a condition in the application which specifies “agreed landscaping” and I suggested we insert the need for replacements for the trees lost. To add insult to injury some of the trees are to be cut down to provide more parking spaces! The rest of the members agreed with my comments so at proposal and vote we included this “aimed” condition. The legal officer suggested allowing the exact wording to be delegated to the chair and lead planning officer which I agreed but insisted it had to feature mitigation for the lost trees! The application passed unanimously. Next up was a varyco to a plan for an extension to Kyloe House at Netherton Park. Again this passed unanimously. I then had to leave as did another member while they heard the Ascent applications. I had a meeting with the head of Active Northumberland. We talked about the proposal I made at the last full council meeting about giving our armed forces veterans free access to our leisure centres. I did get a reply and it was quite thorough in explaining what discounts veterans can apply for now. I said I did understand the constraints imposed on Active but made a further proposal that any armed forces veterans injured in the line of duty get free access to our leisure centres. That seemed to fit in with the aims of a charitable company such as Active is. That proposal is going to their next board meeting and would at least be a step in the right direction of recognising service to country! Two steps forward and one back as usual. Phone call today off Bernicia telling me the table I acquired for a group of residents is causing a problem? I was asked for help in tidying up a communal area within a block of flats in my ward and I got them some hanging baskets, thanks Brenda, and paid for the compost and hanging brackets myself. They also wanted a table so they could sit outside in the summer once the area had been cleaned up. So I asked around and one of my contacts within NCC came up with a suitable table with integral seating. I even got them to deliver it and helped get it into place. Seems one of the residents has complained about it and I now had to have a meeting with the Bernicia officer. She did understand what was being attempted and we tried to get it sited in a couple of other places but the resident wouldn’t have it. So it now has to come out! This reminds me of the green at Red House Farm where I worked with a resident group to turn it into a kiddies football pitch and gardens. Again one resident complained and that kicked the whole project into the long grass! Maybe when people complain about things not being done they might like to consider the stuff going on in the background and the real reasons for the associated unrealised projects! Well the Bedlington Regeneration meeting finally took place yesterday after many months of trying to get one sorted. I didn’t like the make up anyway with supposedly 3 members from WBTC and 3 from EBPC which I said would unbalance the group and mean very parochial items were forwarded instead of strategic aspirations for the Town as whole. It was said by one member that NCC should be doing everything but as the officer who lead the meeting explained that isn’t how this would operate the people present would have to do it all but they would get administrative backing off NCC. We did discuss the Town Centre development of course and as the chair of Advance sat next to me and we had the regen officer from Advance too they gave an update on the current position. The 2hr meeting overran by 30 mins and I had a chance to speak to the officers who had led it. I know what I took away from this meeting and told them so. Busy few days as I keep up the pressure for the traffic improvements at Netherton and outside Hartford Home Farm. They have been paid for and I’m wondering why we haven’t seen them installed as yet! Had a meeting with our manager for local services and as usual took him around my ward showing him the problems and concerns residents have contacted me about. I also had a couple of suggestions about improvements at the West Lea cemetery and again they have been well received but I now have to get the rest of NCC departments on board. The problem is most of the people I need to speak to are on holiday at the moment so a couple of weeks before I can progress them. Well all the posts for the new interactive speed signs have been installed, just the signs to be fitted and by the mail I have received off Highways that happens next week, once the concrete has hardened. I have been invited to go up to Hadston today and take a look at their sports centre. This is a smallish centre catering for local need and I have been told there are ideas there which might well translate well into one for Bedlington. Open to all and any ideas so a trip up there is called for. I did go up to Hadston and met with Active Northumberland officers who showed me around and told me how they manage this centre. Few lesson there for making a small sports centre sustainable, something which we have to get right if we are to have any hope of getting one in Bedlington. At last Christine Taylor the chair of West Bedlington Town Council has called a meeting to try get a Friends of group for West Lea cemetery. Lets hope we get a good turn out. Its not about doing what we expect the council to do its about keeping up the pressure so they know what we feel is important and trying to get even more done there than what’s currently being done. Well done Chris. Just had a reply off my question about needing planning permission for one of my projects. Seems its not needed so I can at last progress this one. Just had the first meeting about forming a Friends of West Lea Cemetery. About 20 people turned up and some interesting suggestions, now to get it formalised and see what we can do. There is already a list of actions and more to come by the sound of it. Great start!
  45. 3 points
    @HIGH PIT WILMA - posted on the Friends of Bates Colliery Facebook group by Trevor Gregg : - ' Here is a photo I took from the top of the No 3 Shaft Headgear on a cold but beautiful winters day' Trevor didn't specify a date.
  46. 3 points
    As it passed through Bedlington............
  47. 3 points
    Heh heh!..apologies to all,for digressing..this forum and aal ye folks are like a was sitting at yem,and a just get carried away! Pete,we first started to practice at the Wharton Arms,as we had all just gotten togitha,ti form a group. We were aal young,no group experience,no proper gear,as aa just explained,and we had to learn as we went alang. One of the other lads knew a lass who was a canny singer,[Sandy Shaw/Cilla Black style],and we agreed to give her a try.She played three or four "bookings"...as we caaled them in them days....not "Gigs"...[which a think came from yankeeland and soonds poncy as hell ti me....!],but wor Bass player and her got together,and were married within a few months...at short notice. The poor lass died a few years ago,much too early in life,as did wor Singer,who a mentioned in the above posts,but this was in later life,and still much too young to die. Once we got a bit experience,and a bit better..[proper!] gear,we changed practice venue to a place which no longer exists... ...the place was pulled doon ti put a new road through...but aa digress.....! ....just ti keep ye in touch wi Geordieland/Northumbrian/Bedltn dialect,Pete ,ye spell nivvor,like "nivvor" Hoo did ye knaa we practiced there Pete,aam ashamed ti say aav forgotten ya sornyem,after we met doon thon Fornace Bank woods orlier in thi yeor... Can ye mind the big fella who ran the Wharton,Pete,he was a giant of a man caaled Derek,it was kind of him ti let a bunch o yung kids mek a racket and chase customers oot!..whey, a say "Kids",we were aal working men,two of us were pitmen,aa was just eyteen ya- -raad-ish..!..[ ye grew up quick doon thon deep black hole...ye had ti stand on ya aan two feet...!] Noo aam just torned 75 last month,and a still plonk on wi arthritic fingers and hands,and wrists...but it's as much fun noo,as it was 60 yrs ago when a forst larn't thi guitar mesel. Cheers Bill. ps..aam still puzzled as ti hoo Pete remembered wor nyem!
  48. 3 points
    Nr. 1: I knew his face rang a bell! I'll get my coat.
  49. 2 points
    Hi Alan,firstly,the Bates pic,No 7 is Derek Burt,a smashing really weel-liked lad,who went on deputy work and was posted back onto the face in charge of his own Marra's!!...Unconventional for that to happen,they usually sent new deputies to a different face. Derek used to shout and bawl on at the men ti keep the coal coming ...then play football with them all on a Sunday...highly unconventional,he's Marra's used ti say,jokingly,that he was "Crackers"..!! No 1 looks very much like Davy Wood who took part in the short documentary called" Report from the Northern Coalface",also featuring Alan Dixon,[one of our contributors in the past],and John Douds,who built a model of a pit in intricate detail,which also features in that documentary,and which was on display at the Woodhorn Museum a year or two ago. It's a brilliant well-made Pro. film Doc, and if ye haven't seen it Alan,it is really worth watching. It was made by "Crinkle-cut Productions", and it's advertised on the web. Noo! Thi 1956 pics doon Bedlington main street,and doon Bedlington Bank ,were taken when aa was only twelve years aad. Aa lived just aboot 30 yards doon the street and in ti Hollymount Square on the left turn in, doon Bell's Place. A divvent knaa anybody on thi pics,Alan,but a dae clearly remember an older fella,who used to dance side to side doon the road aal the way from the top-end doon ti thi Field,drunk as a newt,and there is a bit of footage of him on this gallery in one of the short cine films on one of the picnic days. But that fella did that every year!,and he was a lot older,and not as tall,as this lad,in these pics. A can only remember the one fella daeing that,Alan,a cud nivvor mind of anybody else daeing it..he was so funny,we kids used ti watch ti see where he was going to drop onto the road!! Great ti see thi aad Gas lamp on the Bank..nivvor seen that since aa was a wee skittering young ched!! If ye look closely,ye can see a hundred years..[it seemed!], worth of Graffiti on the big wall on the bank,there used ti be some great bits of artwork,only lads in the old days didn't hae spray cans of paint..not even chalk...it was aal done wi a bit o stone,or a bit of red hoose brick! ...AND!...it wasn't caaled "Graffiti"...it was just "Aal thi writin' on thi waal doon thi bank"...ti local folk....and thi Cooncil weren't bothered aboot it...they didn't mek any effort ti clean it off..the weather gradually did a lot of the clean-up. After the Wartime rations ceased,and import restrictions were relaxed, My Mother came in one day from Hemsteads,with a few bananas..the first time we had ever seen one,apart from in Bob Hope films at thi top-end pictures!...they were huge things,and as I grew up and started the pits in 1959,me Mutha used ti put 14 sammidges up for me bait,wi one banana!..YE try putting SIX sammidges up wi one Banana noo..!..aa dae ivry day for me midday bait at yem...and these wee banana's are an insult! Then another day,me eldest Sister,aged aboot 16 yrs,in the mid '50s,came in wi a Pomegranite..the name alone freaked me oot,when a was aboot ten,and it seemed weird to me that we aal sat aroond wi sewing pins,picking sweet seeds oot o this queer-lukkin' fruit! Aam digressing again Alan,but pics like this bring back floods of happy memories of me yem toon,and that bank was the gateway ti wor childhood living!.. Cheers Alan!
  50. 2 points
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