Building on a strong record

The Mayor of Morpeth Coun Phil Taylor (right) joined by Coun Ken Brown with the Morpeth Coat of Arms with Morpeth Clock Tower in the background.
The Mayor of Morpeth Coun Phil Taylor (right) joined by Coun Ken Brown with the Morpeth Coat of Arms with Morpeth Clock Tower in the background.

NORTHUMBERLAND Liberal Democrats say they are proud of their record running the county council, but more still needs to be done.

The Party has published its manifesto for the May elections, setting out its key areas of focus.

There are countywide proposals, such as building affordable housing, as well as plans for localised work, with neighbourhood budgets and community hubs.

Candidate Ken Brown said: “The things we hear in Morpeth are the state of the roads and potholes, the need for flood alleviation and flood insurance, and it is very clear that we need to tackle poverty. We need to do that through job creation schemes, but at the same time we have to make sure that there is significant and ongoing social care so that vulnerable people are looked after.

“We would like a circular bus route around Morpeth. At the moment if you want to travel from Kirkhill to Stobhill you have to get a bus to Morpeth town centre, get off and wait for another bus. What we envisage is something that takes you around all of the locations in Morpeth, with drop-off and pick-up points along the way.”

The manifesto says there should be locally-based, integrated services, more accountability and neighbourhood budgets.

The future should be secured by a more sustainable economy, finding new solutions and strengthening creative industries and tourism.

Affordable housing, especially for rent, should be built and an integrated transport network would include improved rail services and dualling of the A1 and A69.

There would be an emphasis on renewable energy, but onshore windfarms should only be in appropriate places, and there would be development strategies for settlements.

School building projects, apprenticeships, Northumberland College and the creation of a University of Northumberland would be supported.

Barriers between social care and health services would be broken, ensuring people get the help they need and enabling disabled people to live independently.

Anti-social behaviour and crime would be tackled through partnerships and a restorative justice system would deal quickly with nuisance crimes.

Coun Brown said: “The situation that was inherited by the Liberal Democrats as a minority administration five years ago was pretty desperate and the economic climate has not got better, but the Liberal Democrats have to be proud of achieving what they have, particularly things that affect Morpeth like the flood alleviation scheme and the funding of the Morpeth Northern Bypass, all against a backdrop of council tax not being increased over the last three years.

“There is a strong track record there, but there is still more we can do and will do if elected.”