Sunday, November 25, 2012

So for the benefit of Councillor Castle and any other Tories who are ‘in the dark’ about how school building is funded under their own coalition government, he we go.

Grant Davey
Leader of the Labour group
Northumberland County Council
County Hall
Morpeth
Sir
As Alnwick’s resident Tory Gordon Castle has kindly asked me to explain the complexities of the school funding deal Northumberland’s Liberals have entered into, I’ll see if I can do him justice. In Voice of the North (23 Nov), Councillor Castle reminded me (and readers I hope) that council motions can be revisited ‘in 6 months’ and he asked why I hadn’t acknowledged that fact when commenting on his wholly irrelevant and piecemeal motion to last Full Council.
So for the benefit of Councillor Castle and any other Tories who are ‘in the dark’ about how school building is funded under their own coalition government, he we go.
The council was asked by his own government to give a commitment to ‘set aside funds’ to assist with the construction of three schools; Alnwick, Bedlington and Prudhoe. His motion, and he admits this too, asked the council to commit even further than his own government and then give a promise to fund more equipment. So in times of austerity, where councils are being asked to sack thousands, cut services to the most vulnerable, reduce its basic services and basically shrink, Councillor Castle wants to go even further than his own government funding for three schools which won’t be built under this current council which concludes in May 2013. In fact, the next council will build one and start up another but the third (Prudhoe) won’t be built until after 2017. So I’m afraid Councillor Castle and his Tory colleagues are ‘playing a political game here’, making reckless promises and ‘spinning’ for all their worth.
They need to consider that with real time inflation running out of control, his ‘political promise to fund any gaps’ doesn’t take into account the cost of borrowing and leaves all of the counties other schools with a smaller pot to find money which they might need. This really is putting the needs of the few against the needs of the many.
So I’m afraid that Councillor Castle has to take his place with his leader, Councillor Jackson in the class ‘that must do better’. He needs to get his sums right before sallying forth on his latest wheeze and I’m just wondering where both the Liberals and the Tories have found a ‘money tree in Northumberland’ because all of this additional spending has to be paid for?
Councillor Castle BA Hons

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Council waiting list ‘out of control’

Press Release

Council waiting list ‘out of control’
Fears grow that ‘bedroom tax’ will ‘wreak havoc on communities’.
Northumberland Liberal administration has come under fire for ‘failing local people’ as figures released show that the council’s standard ‘Homefinder’ waiting list has rocketed to a record 13,424. The figures also show that countywide around 5000 families are also affected in ALMO and Housing Association properties by the new Universal Credit due for introduction in April 2013.
The council is currently assessing its stock as changes brought in under the new Universal Credit rules will introduce the ‘so-called Bedroom Tax’. The council currently estimate that the ‘bedroom tax’ will affect over 1500 HfN tenants in ‘under occupied’ properties across the county. Latest figures released by YOUGOV estimate that the average housing benefit claim of £80 will be reduced by £40 for each empty room.
The changes introduced by the coalition government are due to be phased in from April 2013 and Labour group leader Grant Davey is calling for an urgent statement from Liberal Council leader to set out how the council is proposing to deal with what he describes as ‘a ticking tax time bomb waiting to blow up in the faces of the most vulnerable people in the county’.
One of the biggest problems facing the Liberals at County Hall is a chronic shortage of one bedroomed properties which would be needed as the ‘under occupancy’ issue hits working age families some of whom who have lived in their communities for many years.
Labour group leader, Grant Davey said
‘The changes heralded by the ‘bedroom tax’ will come as a major shock to communities and it comes as a direct result of the coalition government. Before this is dismissed as scaremongering, local Liberals and Tories have to let us into their plan to deal with their government’s ideological attack on communities in Northumberland. For example, a couple living in a three bedroom house (married couples only qualify for one bedroom) will have their total housing benefit removed if they stay in their historical home.
Not only will this law, made in Whitehall but delivered in Northumberland by its very own version of the ConDem alliance, break up communities and families but it will wreak havoc with the council’s already stretched finances. This policy could see people moved out of properties against their will and there are no plans currently to deal with the fallout. The Liberal Democrat administration is failing its own people and we need an urgent statement from the Leader of the Council.
End
Notes for Editors
This release was based on information released by the authority to questions put by Labour members
  • The Homefinder waiting list stands at 13424 as of last Thursday (15 Nov)
  • County wide 5000 families are affected dwelling in Almo and Housing Association properties. The rural urban split is similar.
  • Most underoccupiers require 1 Bedroom properties.
  • HfN have 24 x1 bedroom properties empty.
  • Homefinder have a total of 136 x 1 bedroom properties
  • Yougov  tell us the average housing benefit claim of £80 will be reduced by £40 for each empty bedroom under occupied
  • A couple living in a three bedroom house (married couples only qualify for one bedroom) will have their total housing benefit removed if they stay in their historical home.
  • 1 bedroom properties: 1898
  • Bedsits: 20
  • We have an estimated 1500 affected by the under occupancy charge.
  • It will always be difficult to be precise without direct contact but we are still door knocking to get a full picture.
  • Some of those cases will be under occupied by more than one bedroom. These are only working age people.
  • There is more widespread under occupancy in the older age groups
As of today the voids by bedroom are:

HfN
Blyth
Alnwick
1 Bed
24
19
5
2 Bed
79
70
9
3 Bed
32
25
7
4 Bed
2
2
0
5 Bed
0
0
0
Total
137
116
21






Thursday, November 22, 2012

It seems Councillor Jackson has jumped in and got his sums wrong yet again.

Sir

It’s nice to see in Voice of the North 21 November 2012 that Peter Jackson and his Northumberland Tories wish to degrade public properties and create slum areas on our high streets in order to fund his ill-judged cardboard discs.
Where do we start on the weaknesses of Councillor Jackson’s ‘big idea’ on car parking? 
The administration costs and added bureaucracy of managing an individual per car scheme will be immense and hasn’t been acknowledged by the Tories, he’s ‘flip flopped’ on last year’s ‘big idea’ of a £15 charge ‘for free parking’ and the building asset ‘fire sale’, he describes as funding his basic scheme is on very shaky ground as I’ll set out below.

It seems Councillor Jackson has jumped in and got his sums wrong yet again.
The administration of Northumberland County Council has transferred 50% of building assets out of the Councils budget to a partner provider, lowering the maintenance cost of empty buildings well below the level of savings required to replace car parking revenue.
If he and his chums wish to fund car parking losses from building maintenance then they must be planning to lower the working conditions of staff because that’s the only cost to reduce.
I'm sure he hasn’t consulted staff bodies and trade unions before making his ‘phony pledge’ in print.

Peter Jackson needs to remember that he had an opportunity to vote with Labour to introduce free car parking in a fully costed motion. They sought to vote with the Liberal administration which they are so at pains to distance themselves from to deny free car parking.
If Labour is successful and able to form an administration in May 2012, we’ll introduce a locally determined fully funded free parking scheme in consultation with our Parish partners.
We won’t dictate from high what local people want which seems to be the objective of Councillor Jackson’s Conservatives and our plan isn’t an attempt to score cheap political points.

Grant Davey

Leader, Northumberland Labour Group


‘This shows that the Liberal Democrat Transport Minister Norman Baker has ‘forgotten’ his Liberal colleagues at County Hall with the net effect of leaving our rural communities isolated and without means to connect to the very basic amenities. We’ve been snubbed on the extension to the Enterprise Zone leaving Lynemouth out on its own and now the coalition are taking our busses away leaving communities to their own devices’.

Press Release
Fears over bus changes in Northumberland
‘Northumberland will be left behind under current bus plans as routes changed and downgraded’ - East Chevington Councils Chairperson, Councillor Scott Dickinson
Fears have been raised that changes outlined in Northumberland County Council’s November bus service newsletter will prove the ‘tip of the iceberg’ after it outlined significant changes across the county such as the withdrawal of bus services to Brockwell Health Centre from East Hartford, the X18 Berwick to Newcastle via Seahouses, Alnwick, Amble and Morpeth and the 472 where Shillbottle and Alnwick will lose significant services.
East Chevington spokesperson Scott Dickinson said
"Many local people rely on our ever dwindling bus services to travel to work, shop and for their leisure time and the loss of bus services is a disaster for local communities. It will increase isolation in our countryside and it’s the duty of this council to stand up for local communities on vital bus services. This is yet another example of a Liberal council in Morpeth failing rural communities’.
Labour group leader Grant Davey added
‘This shows that the Liberal Democrat Transport Minister Norman Baker has ‘forgotten’ his Liberal colleagues at County Hall with the net effect of leaving our rural communities isolated and without means to connect to the very basic amenities. We’ve been snubbed on the extension to the Enterprise Zone leaving Lynemouth out on its own and now the coalition are taking our busses away leaving communities to their own devices’.
End
Notes to Editors
  • On 3rd October 2012 the Coalitions Norman Baker MP released his plans to increase bus passenger numbers in England. It had its centre how councils and bus companies should work closely together to improve services boosting passenger numbers.
  • This week, Northumberland County Council issued their November bus service newsletter.
  • In the light of experience gained from the extensive changes introduced by Arriva in September 2012, the operator is introducing further modifications on some routes, mainly to improve the reliability of operation. The details are as follows:
  • X4 Blyth – Newcastle via Seaton Delaval, Seghill, South Gosforth
Buses omit Gosforth High Street and run once again via Haddricks Mill Road into Newcastle; most journeys are retimed. Most journeys also no longer divert into the Quorum Business Park in North Tyneside and call instead nearby on Benton Lane.
  • X5 Blyth – Newcastle via Bebside, Cramlington, Freeman Hospital
All journeys retimed by a few minutes. Most journeys also no longer divert into the Quorum Business Park in North Tyneside.
  • X18 Berwick – Newcastle via Seahouses, Alnwick, Amble, Morpeth
On Mondays to Fridays the bus at 0647 from Alnwick to Newcastle starts 10 minutes earlier at 0637, improving the connection with a train at Alnmouth, and allowing extra running-time into Newcastle to arrive Haymarket bus station at 0851.
  • 43 Cramlington – Newcastle via Dudley, Wideopen, Gosforth
Most journeys are retimed by a few minutes, to improve reliability.
  • 53 53A Cramlington – North Shields and Whitley Bay via Killingworth
Journeys on route 53A run via Weetslade Road in Dudley instead of Fern Drive (Tyne and Wear).
The new timetables on all these routes will very shortly be posted on the county council’s website, on the following page:
Amble, Links Estate and Shilbottle:
The council fully support the service 472 between Alnwick and Amble. We are in discussion with our operator, Travelsure, regarding opportunities to find some running time that could be used to serve Links Estate. We will look at the timetable to try and provide connections with south services. This may have a detrimental effect on parts of Shilbottle or Alnwick.

Hadston

The Council have noted the revised route mentioned above and the implications for the loss of service in Hadston.

At this particular time, there are no alternative options available to the council to reinstate a service. There is no available budget to subsidise such a service.

We would again refer interested parties to the community based ‘Get Going’ fund (see below) and the the WRVS supported ‘Getabout’ voluntary car scheme.


Invitation to hear the latest Arriva changes to their network of bus services:
Arriva will be represented at the North and South East Area Committee meetings where they will give a detailed presentation on further changes they intend to introduce to local bus services in late January. These changes will affect services mostly into the south east where ongoing difficulties with timekeeping etc still need to be resolved.
These are being held on:
NORTH AREA COMMITTEE – Monday 14th January at 6pm: location tbc
SOUTH EAST AREA COMMITTEE – Wednesday 16th January at 6pm: location tbc
Get Going Fund’ – Northumberland Sustainable Community Transport Initiative
There will be a third round of awards considered in January.
We have previously circulated information on the scheme. The closing date for new applications from Community Transport providers, Community and voluntary organisations to apply for funding is:
11th January 2013
Please be aware that there are revised application forms and documents.
Please contact Jan Chisholm at Northumberland County Council for further information.
Applications are processed by Adapt (North East) (call 0845 388 0042)
  •  


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Free car parking’s for all year round not just Christmas say Labour

Press Release

Free car parking’s for all year round not just Christmas say Labour

Tory/Liberal ‘pact’ too little to help business in Berwick

Labour group leader Grant Davey has labelled Northumberland County Council promise to ‘relax car parking charges for Christmas’ which won’t provide the support hard pressed businesses are looking for in tough trading conditions. They’ve called for the county council to stop ‘milking motorists’ and to get behind local businesses and back a Labour plan to let local communities decide how they want to ‘set car parking policy’ locally not at county hall in Morpeth.

The Council plan to offer to ‘relax car parking charges in Berwick’ for 8 weeks has been branded as ‘too little and a smokescreen’.

Labour has called for the Liberal run council to ‘introduce free car parking all year round’ as part of a town and parish council traffic management plan decided at local level. The plan would give local traders a direct say in whether car parking charges would be levelled in the locality.

Labour leader Grant Davey said

‘The Liberal/Tory pact to suspend car parking charges for Christmas is a superficial attempt to buy a few day’s good headlines. We’ve put forward a perfectly reasonable proposal to allow local communities to decide if they want to introduce free car parking to meet local needs and when we put forward a motion to full council equalising parking across the county (introducing free car parking), the Tories voted against it. Car parking policy is in a mess across the county and we want to make car park charging a local call not dictated from County Hall. It’s yet another example of two faced policy making from both Liberals and Tories, acting together’.

Labour has previously raised questions about the amount of revenue collected from car parking charges disclosed by the council. For instance, when Labour tabled the motion rejected by Tories and Liberals in coalition two years ago, it was revealed that the council picked up £1.92m from motorists. In the most recent figures revealed by Councillor Tebbutt, Cabinet member for corporate services, he revealed a figure of £4m. That would mean car parking charges would have doubled over two years.  

Labour believes that ‘free car parking is for local determination, not just for Christmas’.

End
Dear Sir,

I find your article Dated Monday 19th November 2012 on the relaxation of car parking charges quite perplexing, with the one time independent now Tory Councillor Gordon Castle and his Leader Peter Jackson, banging on about the necessity to suspend charges because of Christmas.
I wish to remind them and your readers that their interest in the commerce of Berwick and their desire to improve opportunities for Berwick's populous didn't show through when their whole group voted against the Labour motion to equalise parking charges across Northumberland by making all Parking free.

On the second part of your report do any of your readers have a clue what Dougie Watkin is on about? is he simply being anti Scottish  or is he simply being simple?

Regards

Grant Davey,
Leader, Northumberland Labour Group


Calls for festive free parking vetoed by council
The Parade car park in Berwick

Published on Monday 19 November 2012 16:07
CALLS for Northumberland County Council to provide free parking for local residents in the week before Christmas have been rejected after warnings that it could have dire consequences for Berwick which relies so heavily on trade from north of the border.
Conservative councillor Gordon Castle had requested the relaxation of parking charges to encourage Northumberland residents to stock up on last minute Christmas presents in their market towns.
However, the move was blocked by Lib Dem members at the council’s north area committee meeting last week.
Berwick resident Tom Forrester, a Conservative campaigner, said: “Two years ago the county council made the much appreciated move of suspending parking charges in town during the week before Christmas. We were asking them to do the same again in order to put money back into local pockets and reinvigorate local businesses in the run up to Christmas.
“It is very disappointing that this request has been turned down. With the internet and out of town shopping centres, there is so much competition now for where people do their Christmas shopping. It is madness to handicap our market towns by forcing people to pay for the privilege of shopping locally.”
Coun Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland Conservatives, added: “Christmas is a very important time of year for business in Berwick and all our market towns. Free parking will encourage people to do their Christmas shopping locally.”
But Coun Dougie Watkin, Lib Dem member for Norham and Islandshire, believed such a move would have severe implications for Berwick.
He said: “Half of the people who work in Berwick live in Scotland, half of the businesses in Berwick are owned by people living in Scotland and most of the trade in the town comes from Scotland.
“If the Conservatives have their way, what sort of message would Northumberland be sending to half of the people who travel into Berwick every day for work? The Conservative plan is even more ridiculous in the context of Scotland’s referendum on the breakup of the United Kingdom.
I will give the Conservatives this, however – their plan would certainly work wonders for traffic management in Berwick, as half the people working in, visiting and shopping in the town would see the unfairness and head elsewhere.”

Monday, November 19, 2012

ANGER OVER LOSS OF BUS LINK

CONCERNS OVER VITAL BUS LINK.


Residents living in EAST  HARTFORD have voiced concerns about the withdrawal of their vital bus link to BROCKWELL HEALTH CENTRE. Many local people are alarmed to hear the 58, 58a CRAMLINGTON circular bus service no longer stops at the Brockwell Centre for them, but has been rerouted. No direct link will involve them in a long walk.

How do older people and people with disabilities cope with this withdrawal of this vital service. Many East Hartford residents are registered at the Health Surgery and for some elderly residents the loss of a direct bus link is going to present a real difficulty in getting there.

Local LABOUR councillor IAN AYRES said, I have been contacted by residents devastated when they heard Arriva Buses was axing this vital route, this bus link is a lifeline for visiting the doctor, local shops,care homes and local primary school. This service is the only link, particularly valued by those who depend on public transport.

Councillor IAN AYRES asks Arriva to urgently consider reinstating this service to Brockwell centre and calls for a meeting with Arriva, residents and local councillors.
Ian also refers to Arriva's  stated values and objectives.

" Working together and maintaining strong local partnerships are fundamental to the delivery of high quality services".
" Service needs to meet the needs of vulnerable residents and help to improve an accessible public transport service".
" Identifying change, listening to our local communities to meet customers needs".

Essential public transport needs of residents are defined.  Health Care, Shopping, Work, Social Activity and Wellbeing.


Councillor IAN AYRES
Cramlington West.

07572 982109, 01670 717738.
 


Friday, November 16, 2012

Following a meeting this evening with Trade Unionists regarding the flagrant

Following a meeting this evening with Trade Unionists regarding the flagrant

disregard by the current administration for matters embedded within the New

Council Blueprint, Labour Group wish to register their support for the

retention of jobs situated outside Morpeth and the continuous

decentralisation of services away from the core.

 

Labour Group Leader Grant Davey said " The administration in Northumberland

has continued to call in jobs from all areas filling County Hall and

Hepscott Park to the gunnels with people who's skills are required on the

ground across the piece. The cost in time, fuel and family stress is

enormous on our workers and the only benefit Group can see to centralisation

is to reduce the traveling time of senior officers"

 

"In todays electronic world we can easily service and manage our employees

without seeing them personally every day, people like to see their Council

contact person for whatever service that may be locally and not have to

travel miles to County Hall to get their questions answered"

 

"Being the largest employer in Northumberland we as a Council have a duty to

maintain and regenerate all of our high streets and businesses, having our

employees forking out in some cases hundreds of pounds each month commuting

across a County similar in size to Southern Cyprus means they don't have the

cash to spend across our high street counters, the policy of centralisation

is against everything the new council was set up for."

 

Labour Group are calling for an urgent rethink on this ridiculous policy and

demand the administration read the mandate they agreed too when setting up

their administration in 2008.

 



 Page 25



Community forums will be established in each of the Belonging communities.
The structure and constitution of each will reflect local circumstances. The aim
is to be as inclusive and engaging as possible with communities and partners.
It is envisaged that elected members will play an active community leadership
role within these forums. Locality officers and service managers will support
the development and work of community forums. Subject to ‘accreditation’ by
the council community forums may be delegated responsibility to deliver some
local services and through appropriate mechanisms may delegate such work
to town or parish councils, development trusts etc. The accreditation process
and the mechanisms through which the town/parish councils etc, will interact
with the community forums will be defined in detail during the next stage of
the Design process – Component Level Design.
Customer services
Fast and convenient access to all council and agreed partner services will be
provided through a range of channels i.e. ‘face to face’, telephone, internet,
email, physical-mail, SMS. Each Belonging community will have its own ’front
of house’ tailored to both the geographic context and local needs. In terms of
serving our Customers, the primary aim of the Customer Services function will
be to enable as much service as possible that will improve the customer
experience to be delivered from the front office.
Corporate Support services
Support ‘back office’ services include: Finance, human resources/ payroll,
ICT, legal, procurement, asset management etc – i.e. those services which
are shared by the People/Place/Performance Directorates. They largely
consist of business independent ‘end to end’ processes that support the
organisation in delivering its objectives. It may be appropriate for selected
non-support services to sit within this function - Revenues & Benefits being an
example. The integration of services in this way will deliver significant financial
benefits and support the investment in ‘front-line’ services.
‘Front, middle and back office’ model
The overarching aim is to create a customer centric council with a lean and
efficient administration that works closely with its communities through
partnerships and by devolving decision making and decentralising services.
This challenges the design to ensure a whole council capability of working
effectively at three principal geographic levels i.e. operational layers -
identified in the vision statement, County, Area, Belonging as well as
establishing an integrated customer service operation and aligned support
services supporting the whole organisation. To achieve this aim the ‘front,
middle and back office’ concept is helpful. The ‘front, middle and back office’
concept is set out in detail in Appendix B - it is fundamental to the design of
the new council and provides the opportunity to create a modern customer
centric organisation across the very diverse and dispersed communities within
the county.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It is nice to see that Peter Jacksons now famous skill for forgetfulness hasn't left him (Letters Page, Newcastle Journal 13th Nov. 2012).

Subject: Response to Peter Jackson


 

Sir

It is nice to see that Peter Jacksons now famous skill for forgetfulness hasn't left him (Letters Page, Newcastle Journal 13th Nov. 2012).


 

His forgetful nature of course became public when he was unable to remember his several applications to erect wind turbines on his farm.


 

This time when scribbling away to get his letter off, ranting about how Northumberland Tories wish to help children, he forgot to inform your readers that his motion closed the door for this and any future Council to look at the funding of schools and assist them appropriately.


 

He also forgot to mention, whilst castigating Ashington's proposed £20M new build leisure centre, attempting yet again to set rural against urban, to mention that the people of the former Wansbeck District transferred £26M plus the £6M sale of Portland Park and £44M worth of assets from Wansbeck Life into the new authority in addition to their Council assets, while Castle Morpeth under Peter's leadership forgot about it.


 

Regards


 

Grant Davey


 

Leader, Northumberland Labour Group.

-----

Thursday, November 01, 2012

'This is another example of the council under Councillor Reid and his Liberal cohort failing to listen to local people. He's got a chance to listen because the Petitions Committee stopped his headlong rush in spending yet more tax payers money on ill conceived plans on a site that will undermine residents and travellers alike. Labour will continue to hold the Liberals at County Hall to account and he must listen to the residents on this issue'.

Public views ‘will be heard’ in row over travellers site

Sites across Ashington and Blyth that are being proposed as potential travellers sites. Ennerdale Road, Blyth.

Published on Wednesday 31 October 2012 08:12
NO action will be taken to set up a transit site for travellers in Blyth until the concerns of several hundred local people have been considered.
Northumberland County Council leader Coun Jeff Reid has pledged to listen to the views of residents, but he stopped short of deferring a decision on the project when it went before the ruling Liberal Democrat executive last Wednesday.
Members agreed to seek planning permission for the eight-pitch site on county-owned industrial land at Ennerdale Road, on the River Blyth estuary, and delegate other decisions to the Affordable Housing Project Board.
Earlier, the council’s petitions committee had sat for the first time to receive a 677-name petition protesting at the scheme.
Petitioners, aided by ward members councillors Grant and Susan Davey, had spent an hour outlining their worries.
Coun Pat Scott, who chaired the committee, said the objectors believed the signatures were only the tip of the iceberg of opposition in Blyth.
She told the executive: “As a committee, we felt we would like to recommend to the executive that they defer the decision and look at sites that have the least impact on residents.”
Coun Reid said: “I think the executive is minded to accept the recommendations, but need scrutiny to go through the process and make sure it was conducted properly.”
He said the scrutiny committee would also “have a proper look” at other potential sites mentioned before any action was taken.
Coun Scott had told the executive: “They [the petitioners] feel Blyth has enough problems with anti-social behaviour and this proposal will lead to more.
“No public consultation has taken place and there is a worry more sites could be constructed in Blyth.”
The objectors disputed the proposed site was on a traditional migratory route and felt the list of potential sites was biased and that travellers could get priority at schools above local families.
Coun Grant Davey had said the area had enough problems already and these would be exacerbated by a transit site.
Executive member for housing, Coun Tom Brechany, said one purpose of a transit site was to give the council better powers to move unauthorised campers from roadsides.
Blyth Town Council has complained that the county has not explored the idea of a site in the west of the county to accommodate travellers heading to and from Cumbria.
It believed families would stay permanently at the new site and businesses on the nearby industrial estate could be harmed.
The county argues the need is in the south east because of travellers’ migratory routes and a well run site should not disrupt businesses.
Gypsy Council spokesman Joseph Jones said: “If the local people get together and if they are successful in their pleas to stop the site being built there, then of course they have got no right to complain afterwards if people end up on the village green.
“If they want to object to a specific place, fine, they put up an alternative place.
“If it is a problem with people camping in an inappropriate place, they need to deal with it and the way to do that is to provide a transit site.”
The national Homes and Communities Agency has allocated £311,285 to the county towards the new site and three extra permanent pitches elsewhere.
The work must be done by March 2015.
About a year ago, parish and town councils in the south east were asked their views on 15 prospective sites.
This was whittled down to four – Ellington Road, Ashington; Coniston Road, Newsham Road and Ennerdale Road, all Blyth, the last being the recommendation of officers.
Following the meeting, Coun Grant Davey asked scrutiny committee chairman Coun Glen Sanderson to hold a public meeting at a large venue in Blyth to discuss the site and how Ennerdale Road came to be selected.