FESTIVAL: Great idea for book-lovers

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The plans for a book festival in Morpeth this year in September are positive news.

In recent years there has been more bad news than good for local book buyers, with everything from the closure of Appleby’s book shop to the ending of the week-long sale at the Boys Brigade Hall, where traditionally, once you got past the queue, you would have found it hard not to buy a selection of books.

Given the wide range of book readers in the town, aged from six to 76 and beyond, who download for their kindles, buy full price books and buy them at charity shops, hopefully there will be a balance of events to suit everyone so that the festival is a success and becomes part of the town’s calendar for the year.

If you travel by car into Blyth on, for example, a Friday after 4pm, you tend to approach the Asda roundabout with a certain amount of caution as you never know how bad the traffic congestion will be.

But there are two separate issues on that road.

Firstly, there is the fact that minor indecision by one driver can cause the two inbound lanes to slow down past the roundabouts for access to Asda.

But any delay tends to be put into perspective by the line of traffic, which often extends down to the little Asda store on the outbound lane of the road.

Just as the £600,000 of recent investment into that road made little improvement, it will take more that one new piece of road to ease traffic congestion in the town.

Hopefully, the county council will link the work on the new road with a plan of action to improve traffic flow, so easing congestion and improving air quality.

On a visit to Rothbury for the first time in 2019, I was surprised to discover that the Queen’s Head was closed for its refurbishment.

Hopefully, appropriate investment will be made into the building to modernise it, but do so sensitively as one of the things that always crosses my mind as I get off the X14 in Rothbury is how timeless the place is. The historic buildings are well maintained, reflecting the pride of their owners.

The Queen’s Head has always been a fine feature of Rothbury to visitors so we will see how the building changes.

The quote of £71,000 to repair and restore an existing public toilet in Newbiggin generated a response from local residents, who would compare it with the price of available houses in the area.

I would hope that the local council sought a quote or two before accepting it as a “realistic” price and that a comparison was drawn with the cost of building a public toilet from scratch by contacting other councils who had done so in recent times.

Hopefully, an alternative solution can be found as it is quite a walk from The Point in Newbiggin into the main shopping area if you have need to visit a public toilet.

There is much to see in Newbiggin for visitors, but in order to encourage more visitors, toilet access is important.

Robert Pollard

Northbourne Avenue

Morpeth