COUNTY HALL: What about devolution?

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At a time when Northumberland County Council Leader Peter Jackson is promoting the virtues of the North of Tyne devolution proposals – ‘the mess of pottage’, according to Professor Tomaney – the announcement of the significant investment in rebuilding County Hall in Morpeth was surprising.

Whatever the result of the referendum on the issue, is there much certainty of how local government will look in five or ten years time?

If the referendum is won and one of the other partners becomes Mayor, then surely the centre of influence will shift to their area.

Even if the referendum is lost, the devolution arguments will still continue.

Considering the decentralisation work the county council did as part of preparing for the move to Ashington, surely before the announcement of the grand county scheme, further decentralisation could have been looked at, particularly given the scale of the property portfolio and the need to stimulate the local economies in all parts of the county.

l Talk about how to deal with the problems caused by loneliness is always welcome as it’s a hidden problem until the effects on people cause medical issues.

Like many long-time residents of Morpeth, I look back to a time when you talked to neighbours as you left the house, talked to people in the street, in shops, at the library, you got your gossip face-to-face, rather than from Facebook.

However, looking back doesn’t mean you can turn the clock back.

Consulting people and finding out how they would like their feeling of isolation to be eased would be challenging, then there would be the challenge of funding to build a greater sense of community in the town.

But as people rush through an average day, it is an issue to think about.

In itself, a scheme that generates more income for Woodhorn Museum to increase its financial sustainability is a good thing.

However, when you spread any extra income around to the facilities covered by the Woodhorn Trust, I wonder how thinly it will be spread.

In Morpeth, local interest groups have been funding the storage of the historical collection that was once based at the Town Hall.

It is unfortunate that the county council couldn’t have offered more constructive help as protection of the heritage of the county should be an important consideration for the council as whole, with a countywide strategy to recognise and protect collections and assets that are of value.

The proposal for the Woodhorn pricing scheme is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done to protect the history of our area.

Robert Pollard

Northbounre Avenue