Time running out for County Hall petition

Time is running out to back a petition seeking more detail on the proposed closure of County Hall.

Morpeth Town Council lodged the online petition following a unanimous vote by members to call on Northumberland County Council to publish all evidence that the closure of its Loansdean headquarters and relocation of staff to various parts of the county is in the best interests of residents.

It also asks the authority to carry out a full business case assessment, to include the site in consultation about the Core Strategy and Neighbourhood Plan, and to discuss ways to minimise the impact on Morpeth of losing the town’s biggest employer.

At a meeting of the town’s Finance and General Purposes Committee last week Chairman David Parker said: “My view is that a significant number of people in Morpeth do not fully appreciate the significance of what the county council is proposing.

“I don’t think that people can see clearly that potentially what is being proposed is a threat to the economic viability of this town because of the loss of its major employer. Long-term, it may mean this town is not sustainable.

“The other thing is that people don’t see that what is being proposed is a threat to the Neighbourhood Plan. If the county council goes ahead with the plan to sell that site for housing, it denies the people of this town the opportunity to decide where future housing is to be located.

“The county council has failed to answer the questions we have raised. Morpeth was mentioned in passing in a report to the Policy Board, but there is a long way to go in terms of trying to address the issues we have raised.”

The petition closes on Saturday, May 31. So far, 559 people have signed. It can be found by following the link at www.morpeth-tc.gov.uk/against-the-clo sure-of-county-hall-morpeth