Majority say civic event is too costly to keep running

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THE Ponteland Civic Service has been scrapped following a council vote.

Although some members thought it should continue, a majority of them chose to cancel the event on economic grounds.

Five years ago, the town council decided to carry on the long-standing Castle Morpeth tradition of a parade and church service, followed by some refreshments, after the borough council was wound up under local government re-organisation.

Clerk Kath Mavin said that this year’s event in May was initially postponed because the attendance was set to be much lower than usual. This had partly been due to the proximity to the elections as well as clashes with other Ponteland events.

Deputy Mayor Carl Rawlings then said he had looked into the service and its costs and came up with four options to choose from, the first of which was to continue with it in its present form.

The others were to have a church service with afternoon tea, holding only a church service and cancelling it altogether.

Coun Rawlings said he would be voting to stop the event because he believes it is an unnecessary expense in the current economic climate.

Other members agreed with him and Coun Richard Dodd said it would be useful to come up with alternative ideas for a civic event as they may be able to provide better value for money.

Coun Robin Ramsay said he was a big supporter of traditional occasions which bring the community together and he would be extremely sad if it was stopped.

Two other councillors agreed with him, but they were outnumbered in the vote to decide whether or not to cancel the service.