Parish must foot CCTV repair bill

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A PARISH council has been left to foot the bill for CCTV repairs, it has been claimed, after a cash-strapped company has said it cannot afford to pay for the maintenance because the funds ‘simply do not exist’.

East Chevington Parish Council forked out for work to be done to some of the cameras at The Precinct, in Hadston, and asked Thrower Stone Group – which owns the site – if it would put some money towards the cost.

But the company has said that it is currently unable to do so – prompting a hostile response from councillors.

At Monday night’s meeting, parish council clerk John Douglas read out a letter from the company, which said: “We have recently spent just short of £5,000 on improving the lighting of the communal areas (at the Precinct) which we had plans to do anyway in this year but the council had served notice on us and we had to do this last year.

“We are being hounded with rates bills for the car park and the vacant units which we have marketed aggressively but not got any serious inquiries.

“Unfortunately at this point in time, the way things are going, the funds required for the repairs required to the CCTV systems simply do not exist.”

The company added that if the local authority could provide a ‘concession’ for ‘our substantial rates bill or similar, we will be in a position to allocate funds towards the repair of the CCTV’.

But parish council chairman Coun Scott Dickinson described this as ‘totally unacceptable’.

He said: “Surely the empty units are more saleable with the fact that the CCTV is in place which protects both the public and the shopkeepers.

“The CCTV provides a great benefit and we should respond to them saying we are disappointed with their lack of contribution and support.”

After the meeting, he added: “The parish council has been left to foot the entire bill and we feel the company should contribute something.

“We are not asking for thousands of pounds, simply a contribution in support for the work we are doing.”

Councillors also criticised the general tidiness of the Precinct.

Members claimed that Thrower Stone was due to clean the area bi-monthly, but this promise was not always fulfilled and the quality of any cleaning was poor.

Coun Cheryl Willcox said that she had seen workers cleaning the area but the pressure washer they were using ‘was no harder than the tap in my bathroom’.

NORTHUMBRIAN Water has provided a response to investigations it carried out at a flooded Hadston property – two years after the parish council requested it be done.

The company undertook the survey at a home in Woodside Crescent.

In a letter to the parish council, the company’s customer advisor Nick Warner, apologised for the length of time it had taken to provide a response.

The correspondence, which was read out by Mr Douglas, stated: “These investigations indicated that the flooding reported at the property noted occurred as a result of overland flow of surface water and not as a result of a service defect within Northumbrian Water’s sewerage network.

“Although I sincerely hope that this property never experiences sewage flooding again, it is important to explain that Northumbrian Water cannot give a full guarantee of this. The reason for this is that flooding may occur for many reasons beyond our control.”

Coun Dickinson said that he was pleased that the parish council had received a response but added it had taken two years to get one.

DEVELOPMENT work at the former Petticas Garage in Red Row could start soon, the parish council has been told.

It follows concerns raised by members about the appearance of the site.

Mr Douglas read out a letter to the parish council, which was from Karen Ledger, Northumberland County Council’s head of development services.

It stated: “It is my understanding that the developer does intend to develop the site in the near future.

“However, I have no information as to when work on the site may recommence.”

The letter added that the development of eight properties at the site had stalled due to the economic climate.

A £12,000 GRANT has been awarded to Hadston House Youth and Community Projects Ltd to transform catering at the centre.

As a result of the money, which has come from UK Coal, there are plans to install a new kitchen.

It is hoped cafe hours can be extended and there will be potential for training opportunities.

Easter holiday activities are also taking place at Hadston House, on Bondicar Road.

The art and craft workshops will be held on Monday, April 2, and Thursday, April 12, from 11am to 3pm.

A packed lunch will be needed for youngsters aged eight to 14.

It is £2.50 per session.

For more information about the workshops, call 01670 761537.

A SEAT which is in a poor state of repair is to be removed from the top of Chibburn Avenue in Hadston, unless there is a massive outcry from the public.

FENCING around the skateboard ramp in Hadston’s community park which was restricting the use of the area has been removed.

It follows a request for it to be taken down.

THE parish council has supported a planning application by Broomhill First School to install solar panels on its roof.

THE parish council has been thanked for its £100 donation to Alnwick Playhouse.

Victim Support and the Great North Air Ambulance Service has also praised members for donating £50 to each cause.

THE next meeting takes place on Monday, April 2, at Hadston House Youth and Community Building, at 5.30pm.