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Glastonbury acts are set to appear at the Lindisfarne Festival in Northumberland this summer.
Building on the success of the last two years, Lindisfarne Festival 2017 is gearing up to be an even bigger and better showcase of music, comedy, culture and creative arts.
With Glastonbury 2017 now underway and festival fever in full swing, Lindisfarne Festival organisers are delighted to be showcasing a number of same name acts at their Northumberland event including DJ Norman Jay MBE, Huey Morgan, The Showhawk Duo, Beans on Toast, The Pale White, Backyard Rhythm Orchestra and Little Mammoths.
With tickets sales already ahead by 55% compared to the same time last year, the team are equally delighted to welcome comedian and Punch Drunk founder Kai Humphries to the festival, who along with hosting the main comedy tent at Glastonbury will also be curating this year’s Lindisfarne Festival comedy line-up.
With a stellar list of stand-up talent soon to be announced, full details of the line-up will be revealed at their sold-out Punch Drunk event in Blyth on July 3 featuring Britain’s Got Talent finalist Daliso Chaponda.
Comedian Kai Humphries said: “Punch-Drunk Comedy has had an outrageous start to 2017, welcoming the likes of Zoe Lyons (LIVE AT The Apollo), Dave Johns (I, Daniel Blake), and Paul Sinha (The Chase) to our stages in Blyth, Bedlington , Ashington , and Cramlington .

Northumberland County Council is providing reassurance to residents that it is fully prepared to respond should a major incident occur within the county.
 
The council regularly carries out reviews of the emergency procedures that are put into action for major events such as serious flooding, severe winter weather and other incidents.
 
Cllr Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council said:  “Following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire, and aftermath, the council is acutely aware of the importance of a swift and robust response to such an incident from the local authority.
 
“We would like to reassure residents and communities that Northumberland County Council has detailed plans in place to respond to major incidents, which are regularly tested.
 
“Over the last week we have been looking at a number of issues with the aim of providing reassurance that suitable procedures are in place and that we have confidence in our processes.”
 
The council regularly reviews and updates its plans, including how it works with partner agencies to resolve emergency issues and restore normality as soon as is possible. To test arrangements, the council undertakes exercises and trains for these scenarios - including planning how people would be rehoused if their homes were lost or damaged.
 
This planning ensures the council is ready to act when such a situation arises, as was the case early in December 2015 when Storm Desmond hit the region with devastating effect.
 
The county council’s  emergency severe weather response plans were activated and a multi-agency control room was established at Northumbria Fire & Rescue Service’s HQ at West Hartford, where Police, Fire and Rescue, Environment Agency and County Council staff converged to put in place a co-ordinated response to the incident.
 
Departments across the council have been working proactively following the Grenfell Tower fire, to provide reassurance that safety procedures are in place and that there is every confidence in processes.
 
Whilst Northumberland does not have any residential tower blocks of the type involved in the Grenfell Tower tragedy, there are residential low rise premises of up to four storeys.  There are also premises within Northumberland which are fitted with external cladding and the council is working to establish the type and make of those panels.
 
As part of a wide range of measures, the county council will also be liaising with external partners and contacting premises across the county to provide an offer of support, advice and guidance on fire safety matters and asking that they take steps to satisfy themselves that there are no safety concerns for the premises for which they are responsible.  

The route for the eagerly-anticipated return of the Tour of Britain to Northumberland has been revealed.
Covering 117 miles and passing through 26 communities, one of the most gruelling and prestigious dates on the cycling calendar will make its comeback in the North East on September 4.
Cyclists will begin in Kielder Water & Forest Park at 10.15am and then pass through Bellingham and Otterburn, before heading towards the coast via Elsdon, Rothbury, Alnwick, Eglingham, Chatton, Belford and Bamburgh.
The course then travels down the stunning coastline, passing through the communities of Seahouses , Beadnell, Embleton, Longhoughton, Lesbury, Hipsburn Warkworth and Amble along the way.
Riders will then pedal through Widdrington, Widdrington Station , Longhirst, Ulgham, Morpeth, Guide Post Choppington and Bedlington.
Spectators in Blyth have the chance to see the cyclists twice as they pass through on their way to Seaton Sluice and Seaton Delaval, before looping back to the finish line for the race’s conclusion which is expected at about 3.30pm.

Detailed route information for the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain has been announced today – and the course will give scores of Northumberland residents a grandstand view of some of the world’s top cyclists.
The UK’s biggest and most prestigious cycle race will go through the heart of the county on Monday, September 4, passing through 26 communities and covering 117 miles.
Northumberland is hosting stage two of the race, which will start in Kielder Water and Forest Park at 10.15am.
The cyclists will then head out through Bellingham and Otterburn before heading towards the coast via Elsdon, Rothbury, Alnwick, Eglingham, Chatton, Belford and Bamburgh.
The competitors will then head down the stunning Northumberland coastline, passing through the communities of Seahouses, Beadnell, Embleton, Longhoughton, Lesbury, Hipsburn, Warkworth and Amble. The race will then travel through Widdrington, Widdrington Station, Longhirst, Ulgham, Morpeth, Guide Post, Choppington and Bedlington, before passing through the finish line at Blyth to take in Seaton Sluice and Seaton Delaval before culminating in an exciting finish back in Blyth, scheduled for around 3.30pm. This will give spectators at the finish line in Blyth the chance to see the riders pass twice.

 
Scores of the county’s communities are to get a grandstand view of some of the world’s top cyclists after route details of the UK’s largest  and most prestigious cycle race were revealed.
 
The Ovo Energy  Tour of Britain will travel through the heart of Northumberland on Monday 4 September,  passing through 26  communities and covering 117 miles.
 
The race will start in  Kielder Water & Forest Park at 10.15am and head out through   Bellingham and  Otterburn  before heading towards the coast  via   Elsdon,  Rothbury, Alnwick, Eglingham, Chatton, Belford and Bamburgh.
 
It will then head down the stunning Northumberland coastline passing through the communities of Seahouses, Beadnell, Embleton, Longhoughton, Lesbury, Hipsburn Warkworth and Amble.  
 
The race will then travel through Widdrington, Widdrington Station, Longhirst, Ulgham, Morpeth, Guide Post  Choppington  and Bedlington before passing through the finish line in Blyth to take in Seaton  Sluice and Seaton Delaval before culminating in an exciting finish in Blyth, scheduled for around 3.30pm. This will  give spectators at the finish line in Blyth the chance to see the riders pass  twice.
 
The Northumberland stage of the race  will also incorporate three intermediate Eisberg Sprint sections  and three SKODA King of the Mountain hill climbs which  are expected  to prove particularly popular with spectators.
 
The Eisberg Sprints will take place at Seahouses, Warkworth and Seaton Delaval and offer fans the chance to see riders sprinting for points and bonus seconds. Riders will also  tackle three categorised SKODA King of the Mountains climbs at Elsdon, Rothbury and Alnwick, gathering points for the best climber’s jersey.
 
Northumberland County Council has worked with race organisers Sweetspot, finish sponsors Blyth Town Council and start sponsors Northumbrian Water to bring the Tour back to the county. It was last here in 2015.
 
Councillor Peter Jackson, Leader of Northumberland County Council said: “It’s going to be  a really  exciting day for spectators as the cyclists race through the county’s towns, villages and hamlets and we will be keeping local residents fully informed of  the race details as plans progress.
 
“ The race will travel through  some fantastic scenery and pass  iconic landmarks including  Bamburgh Castle and Alnwick Castle along its route. The Tour is to be broadcast in over 120 countries and we look forward to providing a warm welcome to the competitors and supporters and showcasing our beautiful county and communities to an huge global audience.”
 
In 2015, The Tour of Britain swept through the county creating a wave of excitement as some of the world’s top cyclists including Sir Bradley Wiggins cycled through our communities.
 
Residents and businesses dressed the route in the distinctive red and gold colours of the Northumberland flag and thousands of spectators lined the route to cheer on the cyclists and give them a fantastic welcome.
 
This year, the eight stage race  will begin in Edinburgh  on Sunday 3 September and finish in Cardiff in Wales  on Sunday 10 September. Northumberland is hosting stage  two on Monday  September 4, after which the  pro-cyclists  will re-start in North Lincolnshire  on Tuesday 5 September. Subsequent stages will take the race to the Cotswolds, the Malvern Hills and The Wye Valley.
 
The  route through the county was announced at the Northumberland School Games Festivals at Cramlington Learning Village where over 1,000 young people were competing to become county champions in a range of sports.
 
Northumberland County Councillor, Cath Homer, Cabinet Member for Culture, Arts  and Leisure   said: “It is fantastic  that we were able to announce the detailed route of the Tour of Britain at the Northumberland School Games. It would be great if the race inspires more people to get on their bikes and explore our beautiful county.”
 
“ Cycling is a sport that is relatively cheap and accessible and we have some excellent cycling routes here  in the county, including Sustrans Route 68 and the Coast and Castles.”
 
Mayor of  Blyth Town Council, John Potts said: “In 2015 when the cycle race came to Blyth the town was buzzing with excitement. The Town Council supported the event and the velodrome in the market place was very popular with children and adults alike. We will be supporting the event again this year and hope the whole Town gets involved in decorating the streets to show Blyth at its best. This international event generates a huge amount of publicity which can only be of benefit to all of us.”
 
David Hall, Head of Leisure, Strategy and Transformation at Northumbrian Water said: “Northumbrian Water works hard to support events that benefit the economy of the North East and as the Tour of Britain passes through what we consider one of the best cycling counties in the UK, it will help to boost regional tourism and showcase Northumberland to the rest of the world.
 
“As a business, we have a long association with cycling, both in terms of supporting races and providing opportunities for leisure cycling at our sites and we’re delighted to be able to help bring this elite sporting event right here to our region.”
 
Mick Bennett, Race Director of the Ovo  Energy Tour of Britain said: “We are delighted to be returning to Northumberland this September. Two years ago the reception that the county gave the race was outstanding, so we are looking forward to more of the same this September. To see the routes decorated in the county’s colours of red and yellow was fantastic, and with this year’s Stage Two route reaching new parts of northumberland, we are sure to see even more of this fantastic support.”
 
Full Northumberland route details can be found at www.nlandtob.com, or for further information about the National Tour, please visit:  www.tourofbritain.co.uk/home.php
 
 
 

A new parking area has been established to help alleviate issues for motorists in Hexham.
 
Land at the former Fire Station at Tyne Mills has been opened up and spaces marked out to provide all-day parking for people who work in the town.
 
Northumberland County Council and local county councillors are working with the town council to find long term solutions to car parking issues in Hexham, and have reaffirmed their commitment to long-term improvements.
 
Alongside work on permanent long-term car parking solutions, the council has been looking at sites that could be readily available - and further sites in addition to the fire station are also being considered.
 
The temporary car park at the fire station is available now and provides up to 50 spaces.  Parking will be free and there will be no restrictions or controls in place, although it is aimed primarily at all day parking for those who work in the town.
 
Cllr Cath Homer, county councillor for Hexham East said:  “I am very pleased that these interim arrangements are now up and running, and hope that they have a positive impact in alleviating some of the parking issues.
 
“I am also pleased to say that the council is actively looking at both short and longer term solutions to the car parking issues we experience here in Hexham.”
 
In relation to longer term solutions the council is assessing the suitability of a number of sites in the town - including the potential for a multi-storey car park or more extensive surface parking.
 
Due to the historic and compact nature of the town centre, options to significantly increase overall parking capacity in the town are limited, however a small number of potential options are being explored.  
 
Sites that could have potential are being considered in relation to access and traffic impact, and where not owned by the county council discussions are taking place with landowners to allow options to be appraised.
 
Cllr Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services at Northumberland County Council said:  “We are committed to making progress on improving the car parking situation in Hexham.  We have identified some potential options and will be assessing these as soon as possible and consulting the local community.”  

Detailed investigation work is getting underway ahead of proposed improvements to a world famous bridge spanning the River Tweed between England and Scotland.
 
Northumberland County Council, Scottish Borders Council and the ‘Friends of Union Chain Bridge’  are working together on an ambitious £8m project to safeguard the future of the Union Chain Bridge near Berwick - the world’s oldest single span suspension bridge still open to traffic.
 
The internationally significant bridge, constructed in 1820 and spanning the River Tweed on the Anglo-Scottish border requires urgent conservation and engineering repairs to secure its future. It has been on Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk’ Register since 2013.
 
A funding bid for the restoration is now being prepared for the Heritage Lottery Fund, with a maximum of £5m available towards the bulk of the work.
 
The County Council’s Cabinet will next month consider recommendations to contribute funding over three years towards the scheme, with both Northumberland and Scottish Borders Council ultimately contributing towards the project. Other stakeholders will also be making significant contributions.
 
Ahead of this, site investigation work is getting underway on the bridge from June 26 for up to four weeks, which will mean the road will be closed to vehicles from July 3 on weekdays for a fortnight.
 
The investigation work is important in providing a greater understanding of the status and condition of the bridge - and allowing a more robust bid to be submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund.
 
There will be local diversions in place for traffic during the week, the bridge will be open to pedestrians and cyclists at all times and to vehicles at weekends.
 
Engineers have already spoken with local parish councils, nearby businesses and other key stakeholders and are speaking to the Hutton and Paxton community council this week.
 
Councillor Glen Sanderson, Cabinet member for environment and local services, said: “The Union Chain Bridge is of international significance but its condition has been of growing concern for a number of years.

“Along with our colleagues in Scotland we are committed to safeguarding its future and status, both as a key transport link and as a contributor to the local tourism economy.

“The site investigation work is vital ahead of any major project starting and engineers will be working to keep disruption to a minimum throughout.”

The bridge itself is a single suspension span of 137m of timber construction supported from wrought iron chains by wrought iron hanger bars. If these vital repairs are not undertaken, the bridge would ultimately close to vehicles, losing its World status as the oldest surviving suspension bridge carrying traffic, causing serious loss to the local community.
 
Councillor Gordon Edgar, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Roads and Infrastructure, said: “I am pleased we are seeing progress in the bid to retain the Union Chain Bridge as the world’s oldest single span suspension bridge still used by traffic.

“The iconic crossing has provided a vital link between Scotland and England for almost 200 years, and we want that to remain the case.

“The short-term closure of the bridge to vehicles will cause some inconvenience but will provide important information for its long-term future.”
 
Robbie Hunter, Chairman of the Friends of the Union Chain Bridge said:  “The Friends of the Union Chain Bridge are delighted to hear of the continued significant financial support from both Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council towards the restoration of the bridge, which is a unique part of the UK's engineering history.
 
“However, the success of the project is reliant on receiving HLF funding  and the Friends with their large community support, on both sides of the Border and internationally, will continue to lobby hard to ensure the success of the project, with the aim of restoration underway in time for its Bicentenary in 2020. It would be an unforgivable tragedy if we failed to save this engineering icon.”
 
Northumberland County Council’s Cabinet will discuss the report on the bridge on July 11.  

An ambitious programme of extra verge cutting and weed spraying is getting underway as the county gears up for the main tourist season.
 
The county council is drafting in extra resources over the coming weeks to carry out additional grass cutting along highway verges across the county.
 
The work is vital  to ensure that vegetation does not restrict visibility for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. In addition to the road safety benefits, these works also improve the look of an area and keeps the network in better condition by preventing plants taking hold on the side of roads.
 
As well as bringing in more staff the council is leasing two more tractors with special cutting equipment over the summer.

Weed growth on pavements and kerb edges is an on-going problem across towns and villages in the county, especially during periods of warm wet weather when weeds grow very quickly. In order to improve the appearance of the county extra weed spraying is being done on pavements and kerb edges, so that residents should notice weeds dying back before being cleared away.
 
Councillor Glen Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Environment and Local Services, said: “One of our priorities as a new administration is to improve the condition of the road network and invest in improvements that benefit everyone.
 
“Our county brings in millions in tourism each year and it’s important our streets and highways are well maintained, both for safety and the overall look and feel of the place.
 
“We’re committed to reversing the previous administration’s cost cutting on highway verge maintenance and weed control and have taken immediate steps to improve these key areas of activity to ensure Northumberland is looking its best ahead of the main tourist season.”
 

Her Grace the Duchess of Northumberland has been hearing about the final plans for the seventh annual LOVE Northumberland awards, which she is due to present to winning groups and individuals on Wednesday 5th July.
 
During a visit to the Alnwick Garden the Duchess heard about some of the great entries that have been received for this annual celebration of initiatives that improve and enhance the environment of Northumberland.  
 
Her Grace also chatted to local historian and broadcaster John Grundy, who will be the presenter who announces the winners this year, and to Jeannie Kielty, representative of main sponsors The Banks Group.
 
Applications have now been judged and individuals and representatives of shortlisted groups are being invited to the awards event, which is set to be held in The Alnwick Garden pavilion.
 
Jeannie Kielty from the Banks Group said:  “We have been very pleased to support these awards since back in 2012, and I am continually impressed by the range and standard of new applications we receive each year.  There is a wealth of groups and individuals out there with some fantastic stories to tell about how they help to improve their local areas.
 
“The spirit of the LOVE Northumberland Awards matches our own commitment to supporting the communities in which we operate, and we’re very pleased to be able to help to recognise the contributions made by local people in enhancing their county’s environment in the last 12 months.” 
 
New cabinet member for environment and local services at Northumberland County Council, Councillor Glen Sanderson, was unable to attend the visit due to other council commitments, but said afterwards:  “I am very much looking forward to being involved in the LOVE Northumberland Awards this year.  It is very good to be able to celebrate all the excellent work done by local people right across the county.  I very much look forward to hearing about all the great applications - and wish the best of luck to all shortlisted entries who are coming along to the ceremony on 5th July.”
 
Nominations for awards were invited from schools, community and voluntary groups and individuals in seven categories for projects that preserve and enhance the environment or that address local environmental issues or problems.
 
The judging panel was made up of representatives of the council and sponsors and supporters of the awards.
 

A comprehensive scheme to improve one of Northumberland’s most congested roads is now complete.
 
The £740,000 scheme to reduce congestion on Cowpen Road in Blyth was carried out in three stages consecutively, speeding up the work and improving the traffic flow.
 
The project involved the removal and improvement of traffic lights, road widening and the creation of an additional lane on the exit from the Asda roundabout.

New road markings are also in place on the A189 roundabout and approaches, along with improved road signs.
 
Councillor Glen Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Environment and Local Services, said: “This scheme is a great credit to our staff who worked tirelessly to get the various stages of the work done as quickly as possible.
 
“We did everything we could to minimise disruption and it’s important we bear in mind why this work was done in the first place - to improve safety, reduce congestion and improve journey times for the thousands of people who use this road every day.
 
“Feedback has been very positive and the standard of the work is first class.”
 
Local County Councillor Susan Davey, who long campaigned for the changes and helped secure funding from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “It’s fantastic that this long-awaited and desperately needed scheme is finally complete.
 
“I am delighted that these adjustments have had a marked improvement on the flow of the traffic. The opening of Spencer Road on the industrial Estate has not only taken away the heavy lorries from the main body of the road but have helped the Port of Blyth to consider the relocation of their entrance.
 
“As with all works and an ever increasing  number of vehicle on our streets, monitoring of this road will remain a high priority.”
 
Ray Browning, Programme Manager at the North East LEP, said: “This was an important upgrade to help alleviate pressure at peak times at key junctions  benefiting not only the local community but also importantly helping efforts to attract new investment and jobs into the Blyth Riverside Business Park and the enterprise zones sites around Blyth Harbour where the North East LEP is also supporting infrastructure investment.”  



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