BID: Work together for a solution

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I read with some amusement, John Beynon’s letter (Morpeth Herald, August 31) in which he seems to attempt to berate those Morpeth traders who have dared to suggest that the proposed Business Improvement District (BID), is not a good idea for the town.

John also failed to explain what BID actually stands for.

Some straightforward questions need to be answered by John and his colleagues.

For example, but not exhaustive:

What are the lessons that the Town Team Steering Group has learned from Hexham’s mistakes? Please be specific.

Quoting Penrith as a successful BID example is misleading.

Penrith is not the same as Morpeth in a significant number of ways.

Conversely Hexham is.

What about these “learned lessons” John?

The investment, speculatively quoted as £170,000pa, is surely not being “brought” into the town, but is to be “extracted”, from the local business community?

Not quite the same thing as fresh money is it.

First call on these funds is presumably the Government loan repayments and consultant’s fees?

Given that we already have, a Gathering, a Fair Day, a Food Festival, and Christmas Lights, as well as a number of smaller but no less important events, what is it that a BID would expect to bring to the table?

This question has already been asked several times and is repeatedly met with waffle and vague evasive answers.

Most comical of all, having no clear idea himself of the answer to the above question, he asks the “No BID” campaigners, for ideas.

How much dafter can this get?

On a separate but perhaps equally emotive topic for some folk, Phil Slater’s letter in the same edition, appears to suggest that Morpeth Town Council is being heavy handed in its dealings with the Tommy’s Field Allotment Association.

Mr Slater would seem to be following closely in the footsteps of his predecessor Rod Bramald, the previous chair of the TFAA. Neither of them seem able to tell a full story only the bits that suggest that they are the innocent and grossly wronged party.

Closer examination, however, of the real facts and circumstances, may show this not to be the case.

Isn’t it time the two elements, the TFAA and MTC came together behaving like adults for a while and negotiated an amicable resolution to this situation?

Most importantly, gaining a properly documented commitment to the maintaining of Tommy’s Field, as allotments, in perpetuity, as a valued facility and contributor to the character of the town and its residents.

For a county councillor to be on record as stating that “There will be no net loss of allotment land”, is not quite the same as saying “Tommy’s Field won’t be interfered with in future” is it? And neither is a couple of lines to that effect in a newspaper.

The people of Morpeth need to be aware that they are the custodians of the town’s heritage, and their elected representatives, paid or otherwise, are there to represent them, not to tell them what’s happened after the event.

Bob Robertson

Morpeth