ECONOMY: Towns need a vision for retail

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It’s a good idea to have an event to highlight the fact that it has been 10 years since the 2008 Morpeth flood.

I have memories of that time that will stay with me for many years.

Living where I do, I wasn’t as affected by the flood directly as others I know. It’s the memories of the people I know who were badly affected that stay with me.

Hopefully, we’ll never have as bad an event with the weather again in order to test what was put in place after 2008

But like most people, I do still wish drains were cleared more regularly and that the importance of the issue was picked up on.

The recent collapse of the Hexham BID (Business Improvement District) scheme, which had been highlighted as the model for a scheme to come to Morpeth, confirmed the logic of the ‘no’ vote in having such a business initiative in Morpeth.

But it’s been a while since the vote.

The retail challenge for shops in the towns across the county is increasing.

Travel to Ashington or Blyth, or even talk to someone who works in a shop in Morpeth, for confirmation.

It would be good to see a vision to come out of Northumberland County Council about what it can do to boost the performance of local economies throughout the county.

In case it is forgotten, the late Arch group had a regeneration role.

If there is a commitment to tackle deprivation in the county and officials at County Hall need help to understand the issues, they could do worse than listen to local people in the towns in the county. They know what their towns lack as many have been hoping for positive change for years.

The idea that Tommy’s Field allotments would be protected from the threat of developers is, of course, welcome news, given how important the allotments are to the present tenants and those over the years.

It is especially important, given that a certain proposed roundabout at the junction of St George’s Drive and Dark Lane hasn’t even been started yet. If memory serves correctly, it was due to start in April 2018. The roundabout scheme involved the loss of part of the allotments.

I hope that questions have been asked about what is happening to the scheme, especially as traffic flow in Dark Lane isn’t very good and is unlikely to improve.

Robert Pollard

Northbourne Avenue

Morpeth