Talks demanded on major shake-up proposals for town

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An urgent meeting has been requested by town councillors to discuss major re-organisation plans for Morpeth.

Members of the town’s Planning and Transport Committee have written to Northumberland County Council bosses calling for talks to set out how local residents, businesses and organisations can contribute to any proposals.

The Herald revealed plans last month to move Morpeth’s high, middle and at least one first school to the County Hall site in Loansdean, and build a new leisure centre there, as well as to move the library into The Chantry and create a riverside development.

The county council said all proposals would be subject to consultation and appraisals.

Town planning committee Chairman Joan Tebbutt said: “We talked about the report about the county’s assets and the fact that it wanted consultation with stakeholders.

“We decided that since the town council is the elected body for Morpeth we wanted to play a principal role in the discussion.

“We want to make sure that everybody is included.”

Coun Joan Tebbutt

“We have written to the county council saying we would like a meeting with the relevant senior officers to talk about how we take this forward and how we engage with all of the other stakeholders in the town who aren’t necessarily elected, but have a right and a need to be involved.

“We want to know what the strategy is and how we can actively engage with all those involved in the town. It doesn’t mean people can’t talk individually to the council if they wish to, but we want to make sure that everybody is included.”

She said that concerns had already been raised in the community about the proposed library move into the historic Chantry building, and the relocation of schools from the north of Morpeth, particularly when housing development is envisaged there.