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EVENT: Surprised by the attendance

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It was good to see the Chantry bike riders come into Morpeth, with many wearing the Suffragette colours.

What surprised me at the unveiling of Emily Davison’s statue was the number of people in attendance for the event, with some having travelled a fair old distance to get there.

Fortunately, traffic on a Tuesday in Morpeth is quieter than on a Saturday, but hopefully people who were held up coming in and out of Castle Square would have appreciated what was going on.

l Someone, no doubt, will have access to the figures for the amount of vegetables grown in the Morpeth area over the years, whether it be cabbages, potatoes or even sprouts.

With changing EU funding arrangements affecting farming practices, and also with more farmland being built over, it is likely that the amount of vegetables grown in the area will have declined over the years.

However, given the high quality of locally grown vegetables, hopefully there will be enough financial support available for local farmers to increase the amount of vegetables grown in this area.

This will hopefully mean that if a local supermarket advertises ‘locally grown potatoes’, ‘local’ won’t mean a county or two distant.

l Section 106 agreements in planning haven’t been an amazingly successful instrument for local government over the years.

So if Northumberland County Council has now found an approach that works, it will be to its credit.

However, it’s one thing to plan a development at, for example, a local school with money as you know you have it to spend, and it’s another entirely to plan a development and only be able to go ahead with it when a given developer gives the money over.

At the end of a financial year the county council, when asking for such a large amount of money, will be judged on how much is collected and what is done with it.

This will show how successful the council has been with the latest approach of doing business.

l It will be interesting to see what type of hospital will be built in Berwick in terms of how many beds it will have and what type of services it will provide.

If a leisure centre will be its near neighbour, then car parking provision will be a major concern.

Who knows how long it will take to build? By then one assumes a decision will have been made as to whether the existing constituency boundaries will be redrawn in the way the boundary commission envisages, ie much can happen.

But as with the hospital at Cramlington, issues raised at consultation stage and not addressed will remain a problem, such as public transport access.

Hopefully, people organising the consultation over the Berwick hospital will have learned from other relevant hospital consultation exercises.

Robert Pollard

Northbourne Avenue

Morpeth