I CAN understand Coun Bob Robertson’s perception, in the Herald’s letters page last week (January 23), that local Liberal Democrats were attempting to politicise the potential sale of County Hall.
However, it should be noted that the letter to which he refers (January 16) was not signed as a Liberal Democrat one, simply with a list of names of some of the town councillors.
Before the letter of January 16, was published, other political parties launched opinion polls, containing much the same type of content as the letter of the 16th, on their social media and websites. Both Bob and I (and many other town councillors and residents) clicked on the ‘like’ button in response and in support of that content.
The letter to which Bob refers did also extend an invitation to all other town councillors to unite, with the people of Morpeth, to get answers from the county council on this very significant issue for our town.
Bob’s letter, unfortunately, was written before, and published after, the town council unanimously agreed a resolution to call upon the county council administration to explain the detail behind the proposals for County Hall’s future and how it will deliver services in that future.
So the town council is united without any party politics to, as a first step at least, gain an understanding what the county council is really proposing with County Hall and future service delivery and what it means for our Neighbourhood Plan.
The information so far is scant and at best can be described as fantasy.
There is much to do and discuss and I have an expectation that the county council will do so very soon. The town council will persevere to ensure that that expectation is realised.
It is really encouraging that all town councillors have signed up to addressing the issue of the potential sale of County Hall regardless of political persuasion, and I am sure that that is what the residents and businesses of Morpeth expect on this and other issues facing the town.
What is disappointing, therefore, is that John Beynon, Conservative spokesperson for Stobhill, made such a political statement to the Herald last week about no-charge parking in Morpeth whilst representing the Morpeth Chamber of Trade (an organisation that is supposed not to have a political bias). The same comments were also attributed to him on the local Conservative website.
After many years of campaigning for free parking, and a number of recent discussions with the town council, the chamber of trade is now proposing a solution that has been thought up at the 13th hour.
Deploying ticket machines, instead of a disc, simply to record arrival time is a very expensive solution. It’s also a solution that still doesn’t address the main concern that the chamber members themselves have about the removal of parking charges, that is the potential for misuse of the system by traders, businesses and their employees in the town, occupying spaces intended for shoppers and visitors.
We really should all be celebrating the removal of car parking charges and not playing party politics on the method of managing it.
The town council and the chamber of trade are, together, committed to raising awareness of the need for responsible parking in Morpeth by traders, businesses and workers.
Let us hope that all political parties can stand together to address the issues faced by our town.
COUN KEN BROWN,