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  1. Six areas of Northumberland which have seen large numbers of new homes approved recently have been highlighted as requiring an expansion of GP and other healthcare facilities. Northumberland County Council planning officers made a presentation to last Thursday's (January 17) meeting of the health and wellbeing board about the healthcare implications of the final draft of the Local Plan, as they did at the July meeting in relation to the first draft. There are a number of policies in the document which deal with or touch on health and wellbeing elements, including one to limit the number of hot-food takeaways, but one of the main concerns remains around healthcare infrastructure. The development framework is supported by an almost 200-page Infrastructure Delivery Plan, which aims to ensure new housing is supported by the necessary services. It refers to a number of areas which 'have already seen multiple, large-scale planning applications for housing in recent years' and which 'will require increased capacity in primary-care infrastructure'. These are: Amble/Broomhill; Ashington/Newbiggin; Bedlington/Guidepost; Cramlington; Morpeth/Pegswood; Alnwick.
  2. Five parks in Northumberland are to be upgraded thanks to an investment of £287,000. Northumberland County Council's cabinet approved to spend £204,000, with the remaining £83,000 funded by contributions from the likes of town and parish councils. As part of its medium-term financial plan, the local authority has already set aside capital funding of £150,000 per year from 2018-19 to 2020-21 to invest in parks and green spaces. So far, money has been spent at Jennings Field in Bedlington , Astley Park in Seaton Delaval, and Eastwood Park in Prudhoe. Following the sign-off on Tuesday, Blyth's Ridley Park and Mermaid play area, Alexandra Park in Cramlington , Gallagher Park in Bedlington, and Rothbury's Riverside play area are all set to benefit. At Ridley Park, £45,000 will be spent in total with £25,000 being used to refurbish the hugely-popular water play area.
  3. Cuts to council tax support in Northumberland were given the final nod this week as the cost-saving measure was put to a vote by all county councillors. From April, all households in the county will have to pay a minimum of 8% of their council tax bill, following approval for changes to save £1m a year. At Northumberland County Council's full meeting this week, members agreed a reduction in the level of council tax support for working-age claimants to 92%. The current scheme provides up to 100%, meaning that some households pay no council tax. To a typical band A property, the change will mean a council tax bill of £98.55 per year for a couple/family or £73.91 for a single person. The much-discussed proposal, which has attracted some fervent criticism but was supported by a majority of respondents during a six-week consultation, was passed by 31 votes to 26. There were six abstentions - the Lib Dems and the Bedlington Independents - who could have swayed the vote the other way.
  4. An elderly woman had her purse stolen on Boxing Day after being asked for a glass of water in an alleged distraction burglary. An investigation was launched by officers at Northumbria Police after a report was made on December 26 of an alleged burglary at the home of an elderly woman on Disraeli Street, Blyth. The alleged victim reported that a man had knocked on her door asking for a glass of water – but later discovered her purse and a couple of other items were missing. Police believe the man had attempted to disguise his identity using a coat, scarf and glasses. Christopher Beaney, 40 from Lonsdale Avenue, Bebside, was later arrested and charged with burglary. He appeared at Bedlington Magistrates’ Court on December 28 where he pleaded not guilty to the offence and is next due to appear at Newcastle Crown Court on January 25.
  5. Detectives have made a fresh appeal for witnesses after two people were allegedly stabbed in Alnwick minutes apart. The two alleged assaults happened in neighbouring streets in the Northumberland town in the early hours of Thursday, December 27. Officers were first called to an address on Sycamore Avenue at around 1.37am where a 37-year-old man was found and taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries consistent with a stabbing. One minute later, a second alleged stabbing was reported at Howling Lane. Emergency services arrived and a 33-year-old woman was taken to hospital with serious injuries consistent with a stabbing. She has since been discharged from hospital. Two men have been charged in connection with the alleged assaults but the officer leading the investigation has made a fresh appeal for witnesses who noticed anything suspicious.
  6. A planning document that will shape the future of Northumberland up to 2036 and beyond was agreed by the full county council yesterday.
  7. You often won't know you've been clocked by one until it is too late. However the locations of the region's 'red light cameras' have been revealed. And the overwhelming majority are south of the Tyne - with just four in Newcastle. The cameras, located on top of traffic lights, clock drivers who jump a red light. Over 10,000 North East drivers have been fined since 2015, a Freedom of Information request to Northumbria Police has revealed. However the number of fines has almost halved in recent years.
  8. Bot

    Students’ festive community week

    Carol singing, cabaret, food bank collecting and feeding the homeless were all in a week’s work for the students at St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy in Bedlington.
  9. Three people have been arrested after an alleged stabbing in Walker in the early hours of New Year's Day. Police were called to Walker Park Gardens, Newcastle, at 2.19am on Tuesday after receiving a report of an assault. When officers arrived they found a man with suspected knife injuries to his head and calf. The 26-year-old was taken to hospital with non life-threatening injuries where he remains in a stable condition. A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: "An investigation into the assault is ongoing but two men – aged 36 and 26 – and a 27-year-old woman were arrested shortly after the incident was reported.
  10. A former Perdu bouncer accused of attacking a teenager in the Diamond Strip bar has been quizzed by police. Facebook footage showed Lauryn Parker, 19, having an alleged altercation with the bouncer on Halloween. The nightspot sacked him following an investigation. The Security Industry Authoirty (SIA) which regulates doorstaff, suspended his licence - barring him from working in security. Now Northumbria Police has confirmed it has quizzed the doorman as it continues to investigate the incident. A 53-year-old man was interviewed under caution," said a force spokesperson.
  11. A man has appeared in court accused of the attempted murder of a woman in Northumberland. A 33-year-old woman remains in hospital after suffering serious injuries consistent with a stabbing in the early hours of December 27. Police were called at 1.37am to a report of an assault at an address on Sycamore Avenue in Alnwick. Emergency services attended where a 37-year-old man was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries consistent with a stabbing. A further report was received at 1.38am of an alleged assault at an address on Howling Lane in Alnwick. Emergency services attended where a 33-year-old woman was taken to hospital with serious injuries consistent with a stabbing. She remains at hospital in a stable condition at this time.
  12. As Chris Dobey skirted over his beloved Newcastle United's defeat to Wolves at the weekend, he cut a relaxed figure ahead of his return to the Alexandra Palace stage. This will be 'Hollywood's' third successive appearance at the World Darts Championship and he will hope to better his best run in 2017, where he was beaten by Dave Chisnall. But like Rafa Benitez's side, Dobey - by his own admission - has endured an 'up and down' year. He started the year off well, reaching the last 16 of the UK Open, as well as second ever Pro Tour final. A mid-year slump in form, saw him miss out on qualification to the World Matchplay, World Grand Prix, European Championship and Grand Slam of Darts, but he returned to form in style at last month's Players Championships, reaching the quarter-finals. En route to the quarter-finals he beat five-time major finalist Chisnall, as well as James Wade - who has won two major TV titles this year - before losing out to eventual winner Daryl Gurney. And Dobey has attributed his recent upturn in form to greater dedication on the practice board and insists he is 'full of confidence' heading in to the World Championships.
  13. It has been four years since Paul Nicholson last graced the Alexandra Palace stage. For years, the Geordie-Australian was a permanent fixture in televised darts competition. Brash, erratic, but also immensely talented. You wouldn't change the channel if 'The Asset' was on stage. Nicholson is remembered for some of the most iconic moments in televised darts. His 'wave' to Phil Taylor after beating the 16-time world champion at the UK Open is still spoken about to this day, while the 2012 World Cup final between Nicholson's Australia and Taylor and Adrian Lewis' England was arguably the greatest in the history of the competition. But a loss of form coupled with a number of wrist injuries saw Nicholson slide further and further down the rankings and for the last few years he has had to watch from the sidelines as the sport and the TV competitions continued to grow in stature, global reach and finance. Nicholson even fell off the tour completely at the end of 2016, but instantly regained his Tour Card at 2017 Q-School. Since then, he has quietly set about rebuilding his career and on Friday afternoon, 'The Asset' will make his long-awaited return to the World Championship stage.
  14. The 26th edition of the PDC World Championships rolls into town on Thursday, as darts fans are treated to 18 days of pure tungsten theatre. Rob Cross stunned the sporting world last year, winning the World Championships in his debut year. He thrashed the retiring 16-time world champion Phil Taylor in the final 7-2 to claim his first world title. 'Voltage' will look to join an elite list of players to successfully defend the world title, but he will have to be at his very best to deny pre-tournament favourite Michael van Gerwen. Cross beat Mighty Mike in an exhilarating semi-final last year and the Dutchman is desperate to add a third world crown at the Alexandra Palace. Also looking to become a three-time world champion is Gary Anderson who has won three major titles this year and is many people's tip to win the title. James Wade, Daryl Gurney and Gerwyn Price have all won major TV tournaments this year as well and will fancy their chances of success, while world number three Peter Wright, Premier League finalist Michael Smith and World Matchplay runner-up Mensur Suljovic must not be ruled out.
  15. Bot

    Gym shapes up for toy appeal boost

    The Paramount Health and Fitness Gym in Bedlington is supporting the Salvation Army’s Christmas toy appeal for disadvantaged children.
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