CYCLE ROUTE: Time will tell if it’s a success

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Given the recent investment in improving the cycle route down Stobhill Bank, I would be interested to know if there has been any sign of an increase in cyclist numbers on the hill.

I have heard more about increased congestion, increased delays for car drivers and even more problems for bus users.

Still, when the scheme is reviewed after five, and then 10 years, the reviewers can take stock of the extent to which the work has met its aims, or what will need to be done to address the problems it has caused.

The Meet the Mayor event at a local coffee shop is a good idea as it’s important for the Mayor to build relationships with local businesses as a representative of the town council.

It also enables the Mayor to listen to local people, who may not know who the Mayor is, or indeed who their local councillor is, but will have views to share on local issues, such as house building in Morpeth or the need for more school places in the town.

At future events, the Mayor could take county council colleagues like Coun Bawn and Coun Wearmouth, who could explain the positive work they do at County Hall for Morpeth residents.

Despite the amount of local farmland that is sold for house building, amidst the complexities of the Brexit negotiations, I hope the powers-that-be understand the importance of supporting our farmers, who have relied on European funding as a part of their financial planning for some years.

They will need support so that they can continue to provide us with a choice of fruit and vegetables at a reasonable cost, which we have grown used to.

If importing produce becomes more of challenge, then it will be necessary to encourage farmers to grow specific things.

Changes in practice need time to be introduced, ie, they won’t happen overnight after a specific Brexit day in 2019.

The bypass across Cottingwood Common runs not far away from Kind Edward VI School so I wonder if thought has been given to creating an access road from the school to the road to enable school buses to bring the students to the school and not the bus station.

It’s but a small part of how the trust that runs the school sees the school developing to meet the changing demands of the next five and ten years.

Over both periods the town’s population will grow and so increase demand on places in the school.

Speaking as someone who bought a book or two at the week-long winter event at the Boys Brigade Hall over the years, I was saddened by the news that there will be no more such events in the town.

I use the word ‘event’ because you have to stand in a queue and talk to people you haven’t seen in some time. People of previous generations did the same when queuing for the first day of Rutherford’s Christmas sale, which has been considered an important event in the town for many a year.

It was a shame that there was a very limited explanation as to why the fund-raising event is being brought to an end.

But if the hall, and indeed the Town Hall, have their challenges in being used for similar events in the town in the future, then finding an alternative location will be difficult.

Robert Pollard