County Hall: let’s look at the full story

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I write with regard to the ‘promoted content’ I read in last week’s Morpeth Herald, (January 5).

The benefits of spending millions in moving 900 jobs from County Hall in Morpeth to a new County Hall in Ashington are highlighted.

That’s £32million, or £35,555 per job, to move County Hall a few miles along the road, and not a single new job will be created.

The economic impact on Ian Lavery’s Wansbeck constituency is therefore zero, as is the impact on the Northumberland economy — £32million to deliver nothing.

Two hundred jobs are also claimed for the Asda superstore. Is there a new one, or is it the same store that opened in 2009?

One hundred jobs have also apparently been created at the showpiece Ashington Leisure Centre.

New jobs? What about the jobs that would have been transferred from the old Ashington Leisure Centre?

Significant private sector investment is mentioned on the back of the public sector investment. What private sector investment?

The Asda development pre-dates the leisure centre and the proposal to ‘waste’ £32million of public money on replacing the 35-year-old County Hall building in Morpeth – that’s 35 years old, not 350 years old.

The suggestion that the land freed up in Morpeth will result in a new first school, 200 homes and shops does not tell the full story.

The shops include a McDonalds drive-thru opposite the new first school, which flies in the face of national public health policy.

There are already almost 3,000 houses being built or have planning permission in Morpeth, which is way above planned targets for the town.

The retail and housing proposals are contrary to the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan, which is the most up to date planning document for Morpeth.

However, the county council, as landowner, appears to see it as nothing more than a minor inconvenience and pushes on regardless.

This is a document that was endorsed by 93 per cent of Morpeth residents who voted in 2016.

What a great example of local democracy that is, but it is seemingly being completely ignored by Northumberland County Council’s Labour administration.

Paul Scott

Morpeth