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Moving tributes have been paid to a Northumberland community stalwart who has died at the age of 79.
Mick Scott, of Bedlington, passed away last week after an illness.
Mr Scott, who was awarded an MBE in 1992 for political service, helped to organise the Bedlington Fair for many years and was well known in the area.
He was born in Bradford but moved to Embleton, Northumberland, where he spent his formative years.
He left school at the age of 14 to take an apprentice greensman job at Dunstanburgh Golf Club, just outside Embleton, only to be made head greensman two days later because his predecessor fell ill.
Mr Scott lived in Embleton until he was around 22 and moved to London after his parents died. He worked for the London Underground in charge of ordering supplies for various tube stations that were being created.

Bedlington Town Centre - Councillors Briefing, August 2017
Introduction
This report provides an update on progress on the Bedlington Town Centre, former Tesco Site and the Old School housing development.
Bedlington Town Centre
Summary
We are making good progress with development proposals for Bedlington Town Centre, a retail led scheme is emerging that will be capable of transforming the town centre, creating exciting new places to visit, dwell and shop.
Once completed, this flagship Arch development will form a pivotal focal point for the town whilst also delivering a truly mixed-use scheme with many positive economic, social and physical benefits.
Discussions with prospective tenants, in particular the food anchor, are reaching fruition and a number of corporate retailers have expressed an interest in being part of the scheme. Securing these anchor tenants forms the next stage of development now that outline planning consent is secured.
With commercial viability a core objective of the development, our immediate efforts have been concentrated on five key activities:
1. Demolition, site clearance, site investigations and remediation;
2. Design of a financially viable masterplan to demonstrate the capability of the site to the market and provide a balanced mixed-use development that will complement and add value to the existing Bedlington offer;
3. Obtain outline planning permission for the development;
4. Attract new investors into Bedlington to increase retail diversity and create the economic catalyst for commercial development; and
5. Introduce a new housing offer with a diversity of tenures to satisfy market demand for town centre living.
Planning
The pre-planning submission public consultation was held 6th December 2016 at the Salvation Army Hall. County and Town Cllrs and members of the Bedlington Delivery Group were invited to a preview. Over 150 people attended on the day with 140 providing feedback, of which 98% were generally in support of the development proposals, agreed that there is a need for more shopping and leisure facilities in Bedlington and agreed that the scheme would enhance Bedlington Town Centre.
The outline planning application was submitted 9th February 2017 and approved at Strategic Planning Committee in June 2017.
The design team meet weekly and are now working with Arch Developments in preparing the ‘reserved matters’ application and discharge of conditions. However, some of the detail is subject to retailers / other users’ requirements, which are yet to be defined.
Tenant Profile
The scheme is attracting good levels of interest in the retail market and we are confident of underpinning the development with two “anchor” stores. The primary aim is to secure a c.2,000m2 discount food supermarket and a c.1,500m2 non-food discount store, we are in direct discussions with two major retailers to fulfil these roles. Our existing tenant Greggs have expressed interest in a larger unit within the new development.
General feedback is looking positive and once the anchors are secured a number of complementary retailers are also keen to take units within the scheme.
Once an appropriate level of income/capital is accomplished from sales and lettings, a request for funding to commence the development will be brought forward for Arch Board approval, current target is an Autumn Board.
Construction
Due to the estimated build cost of the development, the construction will be subject to OJEU procurement (restricted tender). This will require a PQQ stage to shortlist interest from the market, followed by an ITT to the shortlisted contractors. We are currently targeting to commence with the PQQ this autumn with the aim of completing the procurement to enable construction to commence, subject to viability and Board approval, early 2018.
Development names
A naming competition (My Town My Vote) for the development was launched in February, led by Leading Link, nearly 2,900 votes were cast. The winning name was Pipers Place (947 votes) followed by The Forge (811 votes), Market Square (562 votes) and The Cross (481 votes).
Ballot boxes toured local schools in Bedlingtonshire and were placed in local businesses, churches and care homes. The campaign involved the design of a local mascot ‘Bedlington Ben’ and included stickers and posters, all designed by young people involved through Leading Link youth charity.
The name is yet to be adopted. Consideration needs to be given to its suitability for a retail led development and also the Council’s Street Naming and Numbering process.
Old School, Bedlington
Arch acquired the former Old School site situated on the corner of Front Street and Church Lane from a local developer in February of 2016. The site came with the benefit of a planning consent for 19 apartments – granted in 2009 through appeal.
The intention is to develop PRS/affordable apartments on the site, targeted at the over 55 market.
Arch appointed architects ID Partnership to revise the development, aligning to the PRS market, but maintaining high quality architecture. The revised development provides 18 two bed apartments, ranging from 59-65m2.
A section 73 application for the proposed variations was submitted in September 2016 and the variations were approved by Planning Committee in January 2017.
Arch Group Investment Committee approval was granted February 2017 for the development and appointment of the contractor NB Clark (Morpeth), following competitive tender.
NB Clark took site possession in March 2017. Practical completion is currently programmed for April 2018. At present, NB Clark are currently on programme and are progressing well with ground to first floor brickwork. All underpinning works to the south and west boundary walls are complete.
 
 

A  much valued community funding scheme has been improved and relaunched by Northumberland County Council.
 
One of the key improvements to the authority’s Community Chest Fund is a new grant aimed specifically at the under 18s.
 
Under the new plans there will be a ‘Help For You’ scheme  for young people.  Grants of  up to £200 will be available to help individuals under 18 in pursuing a particular ambition - whether it is sporting, musical or academic.
 
Previous local and countywide elements of the community chest have been retained following a review and the authority is committing £375,300 this year to the fund.
 
For local schemes, there will be a £5,000  upper grant limit with a maximum award of 75% of the cost of any proposal.  These will be managed and allocated by Northumberland’s five local area councils.
 
Each local area council will also have the flexibility to identify particular priority themes which are seen as particularly relevant to their communities.  

For the countywide element, the pot has been doubled to £60,000.  There will be no upper grant limit, but the maximum grant award will be 75% of the project’s costs.
 
Leader of Northumberland County Council, Peter Jackson said:  “We are delighted to relaunch this much valued community funding scheme.  We know that it has been of great benefit to communities across the county and wished to make sure that this benefit is enhanced in the future.

“We have listened to views during a review and feel that we have made some very helpful changes.  
 
One of the most exciting improvements is that we have widened the appeal of the fund to the younger generation. We have introduced a grant specifically dedicated to individuals under 18s, called Help For You.  This is aimed at assisting young people to pursue their ambitions which could be sporting, musical or academic.

“We have also ensured that there is a consistent approach to assessing projects across the county, with the community chest budget managed and allocated locally by each area council and based broadly on the population living within that area.”

The community chest fund has been in operation in Northumberland since 2009 and over its lifetime 1,450 awards totalling £2.6million have been made to voluntary and community groups to develop projects that enhance the environment, improve health and wellbeing and strengthen communities.
 
Key features of the scheme are: A ‘Help For You’ scheme for young people; Community chest budgets managed and allocated by local area councils; The budget for each area council based on the population living in that area; Local area councils able to identify funding themes relevant to their communities;   For local schemes, a £5,000  upper grant limit with a maximum award of 75% of the cost of any proposal; The countywide element of the fund doubled to £60,000, with no upper limit but the maximum grant award of 75% of the project’s costs, and Two funding rounds each year.
The  deadline for the first round of applications is scheduled for Friday 29 September and the second 12 January 2018.

Find out all about the fund here.
   

The second summer season of the Peregrini Lindisfarne Community Archaeology project on Holy Island has been successfully concluded with spectacular results.   In addition to the significant and well publicised discovery of the foundations of a possible early Anglo-Saxon chapel on the crown of The Heugh, other exciting remains were uncovered in the vicinity.   To the west of the chapel, close to the existing war memorial, further investigation was carried out on the remains of a substantial stone-built platform structure partially uncovered last year, which has been tentatively identified as the base of a tower, again possibly of Anglo-Saxon date. Mortared into the south face of the platform structure, which consisted of a single course of rough cobbles, the excavators discovered a socketed stone, thought to be a reused stone cross-base, and an external surface of small rounded cobbles in the same area. The presence of a cross-base suggests the possibility that the platform feature may have originally been the site of a ceremonial cross.   The Lantern Chapel, at the west end of The Heugh, was also investigated. This has been a poorly understood building and, in its current form, bears little resemblance to a chapel, although a chapel-like structure is depicted in this position on a map of the island dating from 1548. Excavation here seems to have confirmed the existence of this chapel by uncovering the footings of an east-west wall sitting directly upon the natural bedrock, apparently the remains of an older, narrower building on an east-west axis beneath the visible walls. A grave had been cut into the bedrock within the chapel and the disturbed remains of several individuals were found above it, but left undisturbed.   Although the dates of construction and use of the three major structures excavated on The Heugh in 2017 remain unclear, it is likely that they represent a long period of sacral activity and it is hoped that the analysis of samples taken from all three sites will provide significant additional information in the coming months.   In addition to the cultural heritage of The Heugh, the natural environment has also been studied and appreciated as part of the wider Peregrini Lindisfarne project, which has been made possible by National Lottery players thanks to a £1.37m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The whin bedrock upon which two of the excavated structures are founded has been studied by geologist Ian Kille, while the plants and animals of The Heugh and its southern shore are as inspiring now as they were to St Cuthbert and his contemporaries. Prior to this season’s excavations, the natural environment had already given some clues to the hidden secrets of The Heugh, when a botanist working on the Peregrini Whin Grassland project recently questioned why different non-whin type plants were present on parts of The Heugh; the archaeology project has answered this question, showing that these plants were growing over the sandstone chapel.   This season’s work on and around The Heugh has confirmed the importance of Holy Island in terms of its natural history and cultural heritage which combine to produce a unique and inspiring landscape. Conservation Manager, Sara Rushton said: "The results of this year’s excavations on The Heugh have exceeded all our expectations and will cause us to radically re-think how this narrow, exposed rocky ridge was used in the medieval and early-medieval period. These discoveries will make an important contribution to our understanding of the development of the monastery on Holy Island."   The significance of the archaeology and the national importance of the natural environment will require a careful balancing act and much thought as to how best to holistically manage both. The archaeological sites have been temporarily backfilled and the nationally important habitat restored in order to give the community and other stakeholders time to develop a new project to look at, interpret and manage the whole Heugh - a real legacy for the Peregrini Lindisfarne project.   Peregrini is a landscape partnership project made up of community, voluntary and public sector organisations. The project has received £1.37m funding through the Heritage Lottery Fund and is part of their national Landscape Partnership Programme. Partner’s funds and other grants dictate that over the next three years the £1.82million project will fund a wide variety of conservation and engagement projects on Holy Island and the adjacent mainland.    The Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership Scheme is managed by a Partnership of professional and community representatives from Holy Island and surrounding shore side area. The lead organisation for the Scheme is the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership, hosted by Northumberland County Council.   Councillor John Riddle, cabinet member for planning at the county council said:  "It is fantastic that this archaeology project is unearthing such significant remains on Holy Island, confirming the importance of the area in terms of its natural history and cultural heritage.  I look forward to hearing the results of the further analysis of samples that have been taken from the three sites and to see what additional information this will provide."


Photo: Aerial shot of the chapel, courtesy of The Archaeological Practice  

A sizzling BBQ, fresh organic vegetables, and a live jazz band are all on offer at the Sleekburn Horticultural Training Unit’s August  open day.

The busy horticultural training unit is opening its doors on Saturday 19 August  between 11am and 2pm,  

Visitors can pop in, enjoy a BBQ and live music and take a tour around the purpose built training facility including the several acres of vegetable and soft fruit patches, greenhouses, potting shed, secret gardens and the stable building and paddock which is home to the centre’s resident horses.

The  BBQ will be running from 12.30 for which there will be a  charge of £5 per person.

Northumberland County Councillor Veronica Jones, cabinet member for adult well being and health, said:

“This  project gives people with all levels of learning disabilities the opportunity to work as part of a team to plant, grow and harvest crops while also selling to and engaging with members of the local community.

“The adults have been working hard throughout the spring and summer tending to a fantastic array of fruit and vegetables which  have been grown without the use of chemicals or pesticides.

“If you are able to support their work by  coming along, having a look around the site, seeing what we do, and perhaps making a purchase  please do.”

Produce on sale at the opening day will all be freshly picked and all money from the sales will be reinvested back into the service.

The centre is used by adults with learning disabilities and is managed by Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust on behalf of Northumberland County Council.

The unit supports 18 adults each day, providing the opportunity to  work as part of a team to plant, grow and harvest a number of crops and to learn how to look after horses and hens.

Food will be served from 12pm .There is a charge of £5 per person for the barbecue.

Sleekburn Horticultural Training Unit can be found at West Sleekburn Farm Cottages in Bedlington, NE22 7AD, just follow the brown sign to Sleekburn Kitchen Gardens.   

Sitting behind her kitchen table at her Bedlington home, screen writer Rebecca Innes got hard at work to produce her first feature film.
Now her masterpiece has been released in Malaysia and she hopes it will be screened in Britain in the near future.
And the former St Benet Biscop Catholic High School pupil has told how she was so proud of her work when she travelled to the Asian country to see the premier last week.
Now the 29-year-old is planning on rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous when the film is entered into the big film festivals, including Cannes, Raindance, Sundance.
“I was really proud when I saw it on screen, it was really nice for me,” said Rebecca. “It is rare to get a feature film before a short film and to hear the actors speak the lines I wrote was so special. They did an excellent job too.”
Rebecca was the lead writer for the film titled ‘Hijabsta Ballet’, which hit the cinemas in Malaysia on August 3.

Parking studies will be taking place in the county’s market towns over the summer which will help develop options for future parking needs in Northumberland.

Concerns about parking capacity are regularly raised with the County Council and the new administration are working to get a clearer picture of capacity and usage of carparks.

A study is already underway in Berwick and further studies will be carried out over the next two months in the market towns of Hexham, Morpeth and Alnwick, with the final reports being received by the Council in November.

Motorists and car park users may see traffic surveys taking place but there won’t be any disruption for drivers.  The people undertaking the studies will be carrying appropriate identification.

Councillor Glen Sanderson, Cabinet member for Environment and Local Services, said: “Despite the introduction of free parking some years ago, communities are often telling us that a lack of parking capacity is having a negative effect on their local economy and the sustainability of their towns.

“We’re listening to these concerns and as a first step have commissioned a study to investigate the current car parking situation within each of the four main market towns where parking capacity has been identified as a key issue.

“This will establish current patterns of use and enable us to factor in the future demand for car parking spaces so that we can fully understand what improvements are required now and in the future and look at what’s needed in terms of any new car parking sites.”

“Ultimately we want all our communities to prosper and have the right balance of sustainable parking for residents, visitors and businesses and this is the first step in making that happen.”  



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