Village faces tough year

MITFORD councillors will fight the cause for residents in what promises to be a busy year ahead.

The village and surrounding hamlets are bracing themselves for the start of two major projects that will have a big impact, as well as applications for two windfarms, which are opposed by a large number of people.

The Morpeth Flood Alleviation Scheme, expected to start in early 2013, includes an upstream storage dam on the Mitford Estate, and work on the Morpeth Northern Bypass will also have an effect on the area.

Bids for turbines at a field between Molesden and the East and West Edington Farms by TNEI Services and on land at the former Tranwell Airfield by Wind Ventures are expected in the next 12 months.

In his Mitford Parish Council Chairman’s Report, Mike Sharp said: “With the major schemes, we will work with the developers and the county council to manage the inevitable disruption resulting from transport of equipment and materials via parish roads to and from the construction sites.

“The windfarm applications are controversial proposals and the parish council will consult with all parties and our community to ensure that informed decisions are made.”

Addressing other concerns, he added: “Long overdue repair work on Mitford Road was finally undertaken last year, but St Leonard’s Lane remains in an appalling state and is likely to get worse as a result of cable laying for the Wingates windfarm and heavy construction traffic for the bypass and flood defence projects.

“We hope to leverage repairs and improvements of this road and the junction with Mitford Road on the back of these projects.

“The dangerous state of fencing on Mitford Road has attracted a number of complaints to the parish council and we are working with our county councillor David Towns to find a means of expediting repair work.”

With the green space at Fontside being registered as a Village Green in September 2010, the authority has now started the process to implement a formal management scheme, which will further protect the facility.

Members believe the distribution of flyers to communicate with the community has been successful and this will continue, but they admit that more needs to be done with the website — — and this will be addressed in the coming year.

Coun Sharp also explained their decision to increase the council tax precept by 3.7 per cent. He said: “This is below inflation, but to avoid any increase we would have had to reduce our contribution to the community centre capital spending — an action that we were reluctant to take as this money leverages grant awards which have totalled £20,500 this last year, including £5,000 committed by Coun Towns.

“The impact of this capital spend is around us, a facility that is warm and inviting.”