COUNTY HALL: Listen to the residents

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In its haste to undermine opposition arguments about the future of County Hall, Labour seems to have again misled residents.

In last week’s Herald it claimed that the Peer Review and auditors Ernst Young ‘gave the thumbs up to the devolution plans and expressed the opinion that they were value for money for the council taxpayers of Northumberland’.

Plans for ‘devolution’ or ‘decentralisation’ are, as yet, to be fully outlined, let alone costed.

The Labour Leader refuses to talk to Morpeth as, apparently, his plan for the town is nowhere near finished and he has no idea how many jobs he will allow us to have based here.

So, what details about ‘decentralisation’ could the auditor have audited?

I was told by one former senior head of service at county that the only way that particular service could be decentralised would be if there were more staff.

That is likely to happen sometime never.

So, if ‘decentralisation’ is not a totally empty promise, does it mean that individual services will be deposited in specific towns, such as education to Hexham, planning to Alnwick or highways to Berwick?

That would create even more of a silo effect than exists already at county, with communication and joined up thinking (or lack of) becoming even worse than ever.

So is this kind offer to the main towns in the county genuine or not?

We have to wait until the great one decides to let us in on the secret of what is to become of our own town and whether we may get six, 12, 24, 48 or whatever number of jobs he ultimately deems appropriate.

He allows us no say whatsoever.

I, therefore, repeat what I have said to Herald readers before – write to Councillor Davey at County Hall and tell him your views.

He and his Labour colleagues have a duty to this town too, and it is about time they listened to us instead of coming up with expensive, but useless ideas like the ‘super-school’.

Joan Tebbutt

The Kylins

Morpeth