Former Morpeth Mayor to step down as a councillor as he is not a candidate for next month's elections

A former Morpeth Mayor will soon no longer be a councillor as he is stepping down after 24 years.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 5:33 pm
Coun Nic Best.

And Coun Nic Best was formally thanked for his efforts by the Wansbeck Green Party with a presentation ceremony last week in Morpeth Market Place.

He was first elected to Morpeth Town Council in 1997 and sat on Castle Morpeth Borough Council from 1999 until it was abolished in 2009. He served as Mayor of Morpeth in 2014/15 and 2017/18.

Among his achievements over the past 24 years is his contribution to the development of Morpeth Farmers’ Market, which was launched in 1999.

He is standing down after deciding to not be a candidate for the county and town council elections next month.

Coun Best had stood in these elections since October 1989 and he said being active in the community helped him to be elected to the town and borough councils in the Morpeth North ward.

He added: “It was an interesting 10 years on Castle Morpeth Borough Council.

“Councillors had to work together because no one party had overall control and when the council ran into financial problems, there was a coalition and I was given the role of Secretary to the Cabinet.

“Morpeth Town Council has a key role in maintaining the traditions of the town.

“For example, it is involved with discussions about the town’s markets because it holds the Market Charter.

“Along with a number of residents as part of a steering group, myself and other town councillors had the extremely important task of putting together the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan (it came into effect in 2016), which must be referred to when Northumberland County Council decides planning applications.

“I thoroughly enjoyed being Mayor of Morpeth twice. It was an honour and a privilege, and I was given access to a lot of activities and other things in the town that I only had a bit of knowledge about previously.

“You get plenty of compliments about the town when you are the Mayor, instead of being asked to fix things or receive complaints.

“Morpeth’s markets are a key part of life in the town and not only do they support the local economy, they also minimise food miles – both of which are Green issues.”

Coun Best has been a keen supporter of plans for a community orchard in the town and he is pleased that his work with others in relation to a Conservation Area appraisal for Morpeth led to adoption by the county council last year.

Although the Morpeth Conservation Area was introduced in 1970, the reasons for its designation were not formalised and he said at the time in the Herald that it was important to set out in a formal document “how our market town has been transformed over the years, but also why we believe its character should be preserved”.

He added: “Although our views may differ, I would say that all Morpeth Town councillors work for the benefit of the community because they don’t get paid and don’t get expenses.”