Objection signage ‘may face removal’

Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade chairman Jacky Beesley.
Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade chairman Jacky Beesley.
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As a group of people opposing two controversial schemes get set to march tomorrow, a Morpeth business organisation says it has been threatened with enforcement action over objection signage.

The campaign by the Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade and others includes some Say No banners against plans for up to 200 new homes at the current County Hall site and a commercial development on the former fire station and Merley Croft sites on empty retail units.

It has received permission from the people who own the buildings to put them up, but the chamber said it was contacted by Northumberland County Council a week ago warning enforcement action could be taken if signage was not removed within seven days.

The group believes it is in relation to the Say No signs and it contacted the local authority to ask for clarification.

Member Ken Stait said: “The council appears to have no problem with much larger signs in Morpeth advertising the sale of council-owned land or a banner that rightly celebrated the success of Morpeth Town FC as FA Vase winners last year.

“All we are trying to do is get our message across that the retail park will cause huge damage to the town centre.”

The march will leave from Morpeth Market Place at noon, with those who wish to take part asked to arrive at 11.45am.

Members of the chamber also said they had intended to present a copy of the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan to council leader Grant Davey once the march reaches County Hall, but they claim they were told that he is not available and neither is anyone else from the administration.

Chairman Jacky Beesley said: “This is yet another lack of respect shown to Morpeth residents and businesses.”

A county council spokeswoman said: “The council leader has a long-standing prior engagement outside the county this Friday.”