Council to assess appetite for town twinning idea

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COUNCILLORS have set out the criteria that will determine whether or not Morpeth wants to establish a town twinning partnership.

The town council has resisted such an arrangement with a foreign town in the past, but a working group was set up to look into the idea after it discovered that there is significant European funding available for investigating the options and possibilities of twinning.

The three members of this group, Couns Nic Best, Ken Brown and Alison Byard, have met to discuss the issues and Coun Brown presented their findings so far to fellow members of the authority at a recent meeting.

He said: “We now have in place an outline project plan, which defines the steps to be taken to build up to a proposal on whether or not twinning is a viable proposition.

“It includes questions such as why do it (what objectives and activities would be undertaken in twinning), who would or could be involved and is it sustainable?

“The plan also looks at the costs and benefits, grants available and the approach we would take to identify an appropriate town twin, as there are many factors that would have to be taken into consideration.

“The working group will make a presentation to the Town Team Stakeholder Group at the end of August and will assess any appetite for twinning.

“An update will be provided at full council in September, but if the project seems viable it is likely that a full report will not be ready until November’s full council.

“This is because the current round of EU funding for twinning is now closed but a new one re-opens in the first quarter of 2014, so if we wish to proceed it is likely that a funding bid could be submitted in February 2014.”