TRADE: Monitor impact of out-of-town

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I was talking to a friend who lives in the south of Morpeth. He admitted that due to traffic he weighs up shopping at the Co-op in Loansdean with Sainsbury’s in Stobhill before he considers driving into Morpeth.

With the increasing importance of business matters to the county council’s budget, I wonder if both the chamber of trade and the council are keeping an eye on the impact shopping visits to sites at the edge of Morpeth are having on the profits made by businesses in the town centre.

It’s an impressive piece of resurfacing work that’s been done recently in Manchester Street.

I suspect that visitors from other parts of the county will compare it with repair work done in their area, using it as a benchmark.

Manchester Street is heavily used and traffic caused damage when added to variable weather conditions to local roads.

Hopefully, the powers-that-be have the stretch of road from outside the Methodist Church to the junction with Dark Lane down for similar treatment as in places you can detect the history of various resurfacing works.

The free bus pass for people of pensionable age is very important for existing pensioners, indeed I hope it’s around when I’m of an age to be eligible.

With the increasing number of new housing estates cropping up in the area, I hope thought is given to linking in the estates to bus routes to increase demand.

Take, for example, the Number 2 bus from Morpeth to Blyth. There could be benefits to providing bus stops at Allery Banks and services to the railway station, even before you consider the new housing in Stobhill. That is just one route of many with options to consider.

With recent national examples of school age children going on strike over environmental concerns, I wonder if this will lead to local councillors who are school governors making more of an effort to see how politically engaged the students at the school they represent are.

There are a range of potential options, including encouraging environmental schemes at school, such as a pond to encourage toads, newts and other wildlife, as small-scale schemes can be used to illustrate major points about the environment and the impact we can all have on it.

It can lead on to encouraging debate and discussions about the major political issue of the day, for example, Brexit.

It’s not that long until the BBC has to decide what to do about the free TV licence for over 75-year-olds, something that’s been an institution for many years and, I admit, I hope will be around when I reach the age.

For many people of that age group the television is like a friend as many people don’t see people to talk to face to face regularly.

When I see people I know who have to battle a range of medical concerns as part of their day to day life, I respect the resilience they need to display. Similar resilience will be needed over this issue as a decision on the possible options doesn’t seem likely in the near future.

The scaffolding supporting the balcony at the entrance to the Lions’ bookshop in Alnwick has been there since last summer.

Given that a visit to the book shop has gone from a straightforward walk in off the main street to a somewhat more circuitous route, there will have been a noticeable effect on the footfall, and so sales figures, at the book shop.

Hopefully, the county council is working with all concerned parties to bring a resolution to the matter.

Regular visitors to Alnwick will know how long scaffolding being up in the town for this length of time ranks in terms of other local examples.

Robert Pollard

Northbourne Avenue

Morpeth