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Russ Wallace

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Everything posted by Russ Wallace

  1. Without doubt this year has been very different to any other. As 2020 comes to an close I would like to give an update on what is happening both in my ward and across Bedlington. I particularly want to touch on why things haven’t moved as quickly as we all hoped on the town centre redevelopment. Like all Bedlingtonians, by now I had expected to see steel frames emerging from the ground, but unfortunately that is not where we are at. Coronavirus has played a large part in this. Ahead of the pandemic Advance Northumberland had both ALDI as the anchor tenant and several other retailers
  2. After what seems like a lifetime since the Market Place development first came under discussion – it was 2015 – I am delighted that Tolent have actually started the work. There are a series of phases with completion is due in late 2019/early 2020. Inevitably there will be disruption, noise, parking issues etc until the project is completed but I hope that the town will now get firmly behind the development and crucially, when it is complete, support the businesses that have invested in Bedlington. These retailers have chosen to come to Bedlington in what are difficult trading times and wil
  3. After what seems like a lifetime since the Market Place development first came under discussion – it was 2015 – I am delighted that Tolent have actually started the work. There are a series of phases with completion due in late 2019/early 2020. Inevitably there will be disruption, noise, parking issues etc until the project is completed but I hope that the town will now get firmly behind the development and crucially, when it is complete, support the businesses that have invested in Bedlington. These retailers have chosen to come to Bedlington in what are difficult trading times and will
  4. As a member of Bedlingtonshire Golf Club I became aware that since the Acres development had been completed problems started to emerge which were making the practice field no longer fit for purpose. Although preventative measures had been taken, golf balls continued to land in the adjacent properties. The course is of championship standard and as such is used for regional events. Therefore, the provision of quality practice facilities is essential for the club to retain this status. The club had been approached by developers with a view to purchasing the land, subject to Planning permissio
  5. As a member of Bedlingtonshire Golf Club I became aware that since the Acres development had been completed problems started to emerge which were making the practice field no longer fit for purpose. Although preventative measures had been taken, golf balls continued to land in the adjacent properties. The course is of championship standard and as such is used for regional events. Therefore, the provision of quality practice facilities is essential for the club to retain this status. The club had been approached by developers with a view to purchasing the land, subject to Planning permissio
  6. I am delighted to learn today that NCC have released £6.5m to allow the Bedlington Market Place development to move to its next stage. This is not the big publicity announcement of the various retailers – that will come later, but the release of this money allows the development of the site to go ahead. Building will begin later this Summer and hopefully be completed by late 2019. Bedlington has been Northumberland’s forgotten town for far too long and this project represents an important landmark in ensuring our town thrives for generations to come. I have been involved in this development
  7. I am delighted to learn today that NCC have released £6.5m to allow the Bedlington Market Place development to move to its next stage. This is not the big publicity announcement of the various retailers – that will come later, but the release of this money allows the development of the site to go ahead. Building will begin later this Summer and hopefully be completed by late 2019. Bedlington has been Northumberland’s forgotten town for far too long and this project represents an important landmark in ensuring our town thrives for generations to come. I have been involved in this development
  8. After a reasonably quiet Easter break, things are moving apace. Firstly, the latest update from ARCH on the Market Place development timescale – we will get there! Pre-work onsite is underway Board approval expected on 28th April Contractor tender returns due on 11 May Clarification/evaluation of tenders complete by 30 June Building due to start by late August Completion late 2019/early 2020 I probably feel the frustration of the time this has taken more than most – it was 2015 when I first sat on the original Bedlington Steering Group. Since then I have gotten to know the ARCH team involve
  9. After a reasonably quiet Easter break, things are moving apace. Firstly, the latest update from ARCH on the Market Place development timescale – we will get there! Pre-work onsite is underway Board approval expected on 28th April Contractor tender returns due on 11 May Clarification/evaluation of tenders complete by 30 June Building due to start by late August Completion late 2019/early 2020 I probably feel the frustration of the time this has taken more than most – it was 2015 when I first sat on the original Bedlington Steering Group. Since then I have gotten to know the ARCH team invol
  10. On 20th February at our Local Area Council meeting, representatives from ARCH gave a positive and optimistic progress report on the Market Place development. The presentation included an up to date timescale with the construction phase beginning in August and completion towards the end of 2019. We were also given a firm indication of the major retailers involved in the project. More information is available from Wednesday, 21st February at http://www.investinginbedlington.co.uk. Like many, I have expressed concern over the timescale of the project. However it is important to realise that
  11. On 20th February at our Local Area Council meeting, representatives from ARCH gave a positive and optimistic progress report on the Market Place development. The presentation included an up to date timescale with the construction phase beginning in August and completion towards the end of 2019. We were also given a firm indication of the major retailers involved in the project. More information is available from Wednesday, 21st February at http://www.investinginbedlington.co.uk. Like many, I have expressed concern over the timescale of the project. However it is important to realise that
  12. As 2017 has drawn to a close it is good to reflect on the year and the lessons that can be learned. Since becoming a County Councillor in May my learning curve has been extremely steep. What I have learned though is that the people of Bedlington want to be kept up to date with what is happening in their community. Through our blogs, Bill Crosby, Malcolm Robinson and I have endeavoured to make sure we have done just that. However not everyone has, or wants, access to web sites or social media. With that in mind I will be leafleting all Bedlington Central households in the Spring with an updat
  13. As 2017 has drawn to a close it is good to reflect on the year and the lessons that can be learned. Since becoming a County Councillor in May my learning curve has been extremely steep. What I have learned though is that the people of Bedlington want to be kept up to date with what is happening in their community. Through our blogs, Bill Crosby, Malcolm Robinson and I have endeavoured to make sure we have done just that. However not everyone has, or wants, access to web sites or social media. With that in mind I will be leafleting all Bedlington Central households in the Spring with an updat
  14. Along with my fellow local Councillors I am delighted to have supported the work to improve the War Memorial area on the Front Street commissioned by West Bedlington Town Council and completed by W L Straughan and Son Ltd. The area provides a fitting memorial to the Bedlingtonians who gave their lives in the service of their country as well as providing a very pleasant recreational facility. Many of the phone calls, emails and surgery visits I receive continue to highlight road safety issues in the town and in particular, speeding cars and motor cycles. I am in ongoing discussion with the Po
  15. Along with my fellow local Councillors I am delighted to have supported the work to improve the War Memorial area on the Front Street commissioned by West Bedlington Town Council and completed by W L Straughan and Son Ltd. The area provides a fitting memorial to the Bedlingtonians who gave their lives in the service of their country as well as providing a very pleasant recreational facility. Many of the phone calls, emails and surgery visits I receive continue to highlight road safety issues in the town and in particular, speeding cars and motor cycles. I am in ongoing discussion with the Po
  16. Thank you to the hundreds of Bedlingtonians who visited the drop-in at Bedlington Community Centre yesterday. The Arch team were amazed at just how many people came to see the plans and full marks to Arch for sending a seven strong team – the turnout meant they were all needed! The feedback I received on the display, which was much more detailed than the previous one, was overwhelmingly positive. For those who were unable to attend the main details were: A range of retailers have leased the five largest units. For commercial reasons they cannot yet be named, but they complement rather than
  17. Thank you to the hundreds of Bedlingtonians who visited the drop-in at Bedlington Community Centre yesterday. The Arch team were amazed at just how many people came to see the plans and full marks to Arch for sending a seven strong team – the turnout meant they were all needed! The feedback I received on the display, which was much more detailed than the previous one, was overwhelmingly positive. For those who were unable to attend the main details were: A range of retailers have leased the five largest units. For commercial reasons they cannot yet be named, but they complement rather than
  18. After a very quiet August council matters are back to normal in September. Like every Bedlingtonian I was shocked and distressed by the tragic events on Station Road. I am sure you will join me in sending your sympathy and support not only to Beth’s family but also to Meg, who not only suffered serious injuries, but also lost her best friend. Recently I visited Whitley Memorial First School and could not help but be impressed by the friendly and happy atmosphere which greets you as soon as you walk through the door. A visit to the other school in my ward, West End First, is planned soon and
  19. After a very quiet August council matters are back to normal in September. Like every Bedlingtonian I was shocked and distressed by the tragic events on Victoria Terrace. I am sure you will join me in sending your sympathy and support not only to Beth’s family but also to Meg, who not only suffered serious injuries, but also lost her best friend. Recently I visited Whitley Memorial First School and could not help but be impressed by the friendly and happy atmosphere which greets you as soon as you walk through the door. A visit to the other school in my ward, West End First, is planned soon
  20. Local issues involving road safety and town parking have come to the fore over the last week or two. Potholes! All 67 NCC Councillors have been asked to nominate three potholes for filling. If you are aware of any potholes please email me at the address below. Don’t worry if they are not in Bedlington Central ward – I’ll pass the information on to other Councillors. Along with West Bedlington Town Councillor Victoria Thompson I met with Richard McKenzie, NCC Senior Programme Officer, to discuss problems on Windsor Gardens where uncontrolled parking has led to both road and pedestrian safety i
  21. In a meeting with Cllr Richard Dodd, Conservative Business Chair of NCC, Bill Crosby and I raised the issue of Bedlington’s position in the Local Area Council set up, as large parts of Bedlington are part of one LAC and most of Bedlington Station part of another. Richard was sympathetic and promised a review early next year. This may lead to something or nothing but we are determined to pursue the issue. Furthermore, I recently attended an East Bedlington Parish Council meeting as an interested observer and I was pleased that the Council agreed that Sleekburn is part of Bedlington and as such
  22. Before moving to the more political, a big thank you to those behind the Bedlington Picnic held yesterday, Saturday 1 July. It was an outstanding event, superbly organised and supported by a huge number of Bedlingtonians. Vic Thomson deserves a medal for her efforts – but she was incredibly well supported by Daniel Wilkinson, Colin Patterson from Station Entertainments, Mayor Chris Taylor and the rest of West Bedlington Town Council, Allison Healy, Dave Johnson and Brian Sykes, to name just a few. Great day, thank you – and roll on Bedlington Picnic 2018! My last blog was entitled “Accentuat
  23. Bedlington has been my hometown for over 40 years. During this time it has changed enormously – not always necessarily for the better – but there is nowhere else I would rather live. I have always been aware that Bedlington has many positive features, eg a fabulous, tree lined, Front Street and stunning walks along the river at Humford. However we regularly hear of what we do not have and what we need – and I agree with many Bedlingtonians over this – but what is often played down and disregarded are the numerous good things about our town In order to ‘accentuate the positive’
  24. Completely unacceptable behaviour yet again in in Bedlington Market Place last night. This incident occurred at 3.00 am this morning. Given the current financial constraints it is clearly unrealistic to expect a 24/7 police presence in the town. It is also right to point out that Bedlington is fortunate to be served by an outstanding Police team who have our full support. As County Councillor for Bedlington Central I wrote to the Chief Superintendent earlier this week to request that Northumbria Police reverse their recent decision to discontinue the presence of Police Officers in th
  25. I attended a Northumberland County Council Strategic Planning Meeting on 6 June and left with mixed feelings. Very positive about the progress being made on the Tesco site development and was happy to speak to the committee in favour. Outline planning was unanimously approved which allows the process to move into the next, more detailed stage. I was particularly pleased that this will allow time for the further consultation over “things that local people have suggested they would like to see added to the proposals” (Council Leader Peter Jackson). Much less positive feeling over the p
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