Council Round Up – December 2018

Civic Carol Service Success

Town Mayor, Alan Symmonds thanked everyone who attended the Civic Carol service on 12th December at St Michaels Church and in particular he highlighted the contributions by the Bailiffgate Singers, St Paul’s School Choir and the readers from North Northumberland Hospice Care. Councillor Symmonds was delighted that the collection had raised £423.42 for Hospice Care.

 

Vacant Town Centre Businesses Update

Councillors received a report from the Tim Kirton, Projects and Funding Officer and heard that there has been a net slight rise in town centre business premises vacancies – but that further occupancies might nullify this early in the new year.

 

Since the first survey of vacant town centre business properties undertaken in July, 9 premises had been vacated but 6 of those 9 had been quickly re-let whilst another building vacated two years ago is currently being converted for re-use. The net reduction in occupancy is 2 business units. However, property landlords have advised that a further two or even three units are expected to be occupied early in 2019.

 

 

 

Mr Kirton reported: “The turnover of town centre premises appears to be quite fluid and landlords have reported much interest in vacant units so there is a good degree of buoyancy there. The Town Council is working closely with agents to help them find occupants of vacant units as quickly as possible.

 

Council aim to be Carbon Neutral

A motion on the Council’s response to Climate Change was debated and it was resolved that ‘Alnwick Town Council aims to become carbon neutral by 2031′.

 

All the Councillors who spoke in the debate acknowledged the seriousness of the current situation and that Alnwick Town Council should play its part in decarbonising both its own activities and take a leadership role within the town to encourage and enable our community to seek ways to do likewise. The detail of how this process is to be conducted is to be worked out by Councillors in the coming months.  For the Council this will most likely involve a carbon audit and the setting of interim targets for emissions for the coming years.

 

Councillor Martin Swinbank speaking after the meeting stated “Climate Change will affect everyone across the world and the people of Alnwick are no exception.  I am pleased that the Council has adopted this ambitious statement of intent, to show the way in reducing carbon emissions down to net zero.”

 

“Climate Change is a huge challenge but at the same time a huge opportunity.  I believe that the town council will find the way to reduce its carbon emissions to net zero in line with the timeframe of the Neighbourhood Plan.  Crucially though, by raising its own ambition it can serve as a catalyst for the community to do likewise and this will improve the lives of everyone in our town.  The benefits for our health, through greater physical activity by providing safer spaces to walk and cycle, less air pollution from transport and power generation and warmer homes and workplaces are obvious.  More locally sourced, nutritious fresh food can help combat obesity and other medical conditions and good, local employment reduces the distance needed to travel for work giving us more family and leisure time.  This also enables our young people to stay living in their home community.  Planting more trees, soaks up carbon and enhances our local environment for people and wildlife alike.  Local renewable power generation and food production will retain money in our local economy.  The list goes on.”

 

 

Objection against charging for events

Town Councillors were unanimous in their objection to proposed new charges by the County Council for the management of events.

 

Councillor George Mavin commented “Northumberland has just won the title of Best UK Holiday County of the Year for the first time and the County Council’s proposed new charges would mean that they are not supporting local events which is the reason many visitors come to Northumberland”.