Morpeth could team up with Menorca

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MORPETH could be linking up with Menorca in a new town-twinning scheme.

The Menorcan town of Es Castell has invited Morpeth Town Council to consider the idea due to the communities’ shared links with Naval hero Admiral Lord Collingwood, who led the British fleet to victory at Trafalgar.

Following the battle Collingwood expected to retire to his Morpeth home in Oldgate with his family, but he was ordered to take charge of the British Mediterranean fleet in Menorca and lived in Es Castell.

Morpeth Town Council has previously turned down twinning requests from other European towns as it is against its policy, but there could soon be a change of heart.

Coun Nic Best suggested a review at last week’s meeting of the Finance and General Purposes Committee.

He said: “The modern versions of town twinning are very different from the old idea of councillors’ junkets.

“I would like to suggest that we propose to the full council that we review our policy on twinning and look at the modern version and the EU support for twinning.

“There are a lot of cultural and educational opportunities that we are missing out on.

“Morpeth is one of the few towns that isn’t twinned and our schools and voluntary organisations are missing out. It is not just the town council, we are missing out on opportunities for the development of people in Morpeth by not being twinned. That is why I want to review the policy and I would like to start the process now.”

However, Coun Les Cassie said it would be better to leave the issue to the newly elected council in May.

“We went into some considerable depth at full council as to why we shouldn’t be involved in town twinning to make that policy. If that is to be reviewed I think that is a matter for the new council. I don’t think we should be trying to do it between now and then,” he said.

Other members suggested that a less formal relationship could be formed with Es Castell, particularly with commemoration events due to take place in March to mark the anniversary of Collingwood’s death.

However, they were told plans are already under way for joint celebrations.

Committee members voted by six votes to one to refer the issue to the full council to consider.