Community does not have appetite for town twinning

FULL–SCALE town twinning with a foreign town will not be progressed by Morpeth Town Council following a lukewarm response to its consultation.

The authority set up a member working group in July after calls for a review of its policy about the issue and it investigated the resources available and community appetite.

The topic was discussed by the Town Team Wider Stakeholder Group, Morpeth Heritage Collections Steering Group and the Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade and a survey, targeted mainly at community organisations, was produced.

As for resources, the working group discovered that the current EU programme to help fund initial studies and the early stages, but not the ongoing costs of twinning, is coming to an end and the programme for 2014-21 has yet to be agreed.

A report by its three members, Couns Nic Best, Ken Brown and Alison Byard, said: “The response in discussion was unenthusiastic, with anecdotal reports of previous twinning attempts and community group exchange programmes, such as the Lions link with a similar local group in Holland.

“Generally, these started well, but after five or six years ran out of steam.

“Only one response to the survey was received.

“While there is some sporadic exchange activity by community groups in the town, there seems to be no appetite for full-scale town twinning.

“The working group therefore recommends that no further action is taken and the twinning policy should be reviewed again in 2017.”

This recommendation was approved at a recent full meeting of Morpeth Town Council.