LOWICK.LIVE.LETTER

NEW RIGHT OF WAY IN KYLOE WOODS

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Following a successful application to the County Council, a new Right of Way [229/029] has been added to the network of paths that cross our parish. This follows one of the woodland tracks that goes through Kyloe Woods. The Rights of Way map is published in the documents on the County Council Website, and a relevant extract is printed here. The final map does NOT include a new path from the junction of the roads to Laverock Law, Holburn and the Hettons, in the left corner, but will follow the existing ROW up to Catton Ridge following a suggestion from the land owner.

If you have other walks that seem to you have been used for years, yet are not official rights of way, it’s worth pursing this with the Council Rights of Way Department. Start here: https://www.northumberland.gov.uk/About/Maps/Public-rights-of-way.aspx#definitiverightsofwaymapstatement.

 

PARISH COUNCIL SETS ITS BUDGET

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The table below outlines the projected costs for the Parish Council for the next financial year. Effectively this is our “budget”, and the money for this is raised by a small addition [or “precept”] on your Council Tax Bill.

The Council has reserves which it can call on in an emergency [see the PC website for the annual accounts statements], but normally runs on what is raised through this small annual “tax”.

Costs have risen in recent years through the addition of extra responsibilities. The Play Park was until 2 years ago the responsibility of the County Council. This has now been devolved to the Parish. The expenses here is for regular safety inspections, consequent repairs, and liability insurance. Recently the park benefited from a substantial grant from the Wind Farm Fund.

In the next few months, we hope to see movement towards building the Pinfold seat at the edge of the Common. So far materials and costs for building have been pledged by generous donations, and a pledge from our County Councillor. We have only County Council Planning department fees to cover, hence the listed cost below.

Lowick Parish Council 2019/20 projected expenditure

Play park inspections £902.00
Insurance £180.00
Clerk’s income and expenditure £900.00
Donations to Local Charities giving Community Provision £100.00
NALC membership (National Association of Local Councils) £135.00
Poppy wreath [British Legion] £30.00
Contingency for bus shelter repairs/improvements £500.00
Contingency for play park repairs £500.00
Pinfold Planning Costs £100.00

FIRST SCHOOL FORWARD!

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SInce Head Teacher Mrs Rebecca Simpson started working at the First School at Easter 2018 there has been rapid and exciting change. For one thing, Lowick and Holy Island schools are now federated, protecting them and their resources for the future.

In November, she came to the Parish Council to tell it what has been happening recently.

She outlined the many activities the children have undertaken, including 4 visits to Holy Island in the first half of this term, painting remembrance rocks and including a name from the War Memorial on each rock.

A nursery is being developed and the school is working with the Great North Maths Hub. Pupils are currently working on a Travelling through Time project and any pictures, coins or memories would be welcome. They have contact with a school in Suffolk and are doing a project with Durham University on mammals in Northumberland.

Mrs Simpson is very keen to have links with people in the area. She believes the school is safe from the threat of closure, and would fight very hard to keep it.

The school has much warmer links with other schools now, and looking forward to building more links in the future. It is looking forward to the new 20 mph signs, promised for 2019.

HEDLEY HALL @ BARMOOR CASTLE

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Jamie Lamb provides a summary of the activities which take place in the new Hedley Hall, the recent development at Barmoor Castle, and also his plans for the Country Park.

The Hall is a new admin centre, but is to be mainly used by those staying on the park for different events such as Yoga, flower arranging, and history courses.

The plan for the future of the castle is to work in conjunction with English Heritage and the County Council and develop 8 self-catering apartments.

Barmoor has 2 full time employees as well as Nicola Moffat and Anne Lamb in the office. In addition up to 15 part time workers are used.

The Parish Council has recently met at Barmoor, and is looking forward to further visits to see the facilities there, one of the community’s main employers and sources of prosperity.

OVER 60’S NEED NEW BLOOD

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Lowick Over Sixties Club is looking forward to its exciting programme for 2019, and is looking to recruit new members. Meeting once a month, its main events are The Burns Night Lunch, the Christmas Supper, Bingo Nights, and Various Outings using the Community Minibus.

To join in, you need to be over 60, or be the partner, spouse or carer for someone who is.

Details can be had from Caroline Inglis [the Secretary and Organiser]

 

RODERICK LAWRIE IS QUITTING

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THE DEPARTURE

Following Lowick.Live’s feature on the absent Cllr Lawrie last month, confirmation of his imminent departure comes in the latest edition of David Banks’ “Clarion” – where a similar discussion had also taken place about his mysterious whereabouts. Click this link for the story: http://www.voiceofthenorth.net/exclusive-eu-rules-force-northumberland-county-councillor-quit/

The soon-to-be-gone Councillor ascribes his absence to EU regulations which have caused his snuff business to become uneconomic – hence production and himself have had to quit these shores for the Isle of Man and Scotland. Apparently his range of products attracts a large registration tariff for each one, and staying in the UK would have made them hugely unprofitable.

Said to be a safer way of maintaining a tobacco/nicotine addiction, snuff still attracts criticism for its less attractive links to nasal and other cancers. Its claim to health is based on the non-inhalation of tar into the lungs. So the debate about whether the EU has done us a favour, or is a millstone round our necks, continues……

In the meantime, Cllr Lawrie in announcing his farewell, proudly points to his 100% attendance record at County Council Meetings, since taking office back in 2017. We wonder if attendance is a means of guaranteeing the payment of the reasonable NCC Councillor’s allowance, which for him in 2017-18 amounted to £13,129.57. Of this, over £1000 was travelling expenses – however little can have been earned by attending Parish Council Meetings – where his attendance record [for Lowick at any rate] was 2 out of 15.

That many people believe that a County Councillor is a key contact and mover for parishes was obviously not an issue for our departing businessman – where many promises were made, but few delivered.

THE BY-ELECTION

So we wait to hear when the by-election will be and are cheered to learn that Dougie Watkin will be standing. This is no party political point – Dougie worked hard to represent his voters, and had his finger on pevery pulse but one – the surge that defeated him in 2017. In the meantime, just about everyone of note has been approached by the Conservative Party to stand – and have decided against it. There are plenty of suitable candidates who are well known in our community, from all sides – and we hope we get a good one to vote for – or against! Perhaps Dougie should consider standing for the Conservatives – who at least would give him some support in his campaign.

THE CORNHILL SCANDAL

But if you think that’s all, it isn’t! When the leading group on NCC heard that the Cllr had stood down, they asked Glen Sanderson, the Conservative Councillor representing Longhorsley, to “fill in” for Cllr Lawrie at meetings of Cornhill Parish Council. Apparently “filling in” is accepted practice in emergencies- so that business is kept going.

Sadly, no such arrangement has been made for other Parish Councils – who get nothing.

We understanding that the Parish Council at Cornhill has voted to keep the loan of their own County Councillor a secret, for reasons which are hard to understand. Obviously, the support of the County Council in this way is a big benefit – it could give them a local advantage over their neighbours.

The other Councils look forward to hearing from NCC what the short and long term arrangements will be for them.

COMMUNITY AWARDS 2018

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The annual Community Awards for 2018 were announced on Friday 7th December in a short ceremony before the annual Xmas Panto in the Village Hall.

Winning the awards this year were MARGARET BURN, of Hunting Hall, and PETER CALDER, of Swallowfields.

Both winners were acclaimed by the audience at the Village Hall as obvious choices for their long service to the Community.

Margaret Burn has been a key member of the Parish Church Community, and has helped many villagers over the years. She has also been the steady focus of her family’s life, down at Hunting Hall Farm

Peter Calder has been a local farm manager, at Lowick Hall Farm, and a leading figure in the Village Hall and in running the Parish Church.