FORUM: Impartiality under threat

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On reading the newsletter produced by the Stobhill Community Forum and distributed across parts of Stobhill, Morpeth, last week, residents could be forgiven for thinking they were reading a leaflet from Independent councillor Ian Lindley.

In between taking credit for various things, Coun Lindley accuses other councillors of failing to stop County Hall moving to Ashington.

Yes, this is the same Coun Lindley who supported the move consistently until the last vote when he pulled back from his previous support.

We strongly refute Coun Lindley’s accusations that our opposition to his ‘Shared Space’ project was either politically motivated or unintelligent.

Most residents were not notified about the scheme, hence the consultations were poorly attended and did not justify spending £280,000 of taxpayers’ money on a road only resurfaced two years ago.

Added to this were the safety concerns about this controversial scheme, especially among blind and partially sighted groups.

We are also concerned about Coun Lindley’s position as Secretary of the non-partisan community forum, which produces the newsletter, and its apparent lack of impartiality as a result.

His attacks on elected councillors who disagree with him were allowed to go unchallenged, with no right of reply offered.

This can only damage the credibility of what should be a useful source of information for local residents on what’s happening in their area.

In the run-up to May’s elections, we hope that the forum will issue a newsletter with contributions from all county council candidates, making it truly impartial and informative.

Coun Alison Byard and Coun Johnny Wearmouth

Morpeth Town Councillors for Stobhill