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20 September 2021Bellingham Parish Council's Response to the Planning Application for the Former Auction Mart Site

Below is the Parish Council's response to the planning application for the former auction mart site.

This response was uploaded to the NCC planning portal on the 20th September.

Residents are encouraged to make their own thoughts known by uploading comments to the site.

The Parish Council is a single consultee and the more responses received, whether Support, Neutral or Object, the more the planners at NCC are able to make an informed decision taking into account the thoughts of as many local residents as possible. 

This is your chance to influence what happens with the development. Don't waste the opportunity to make your thoughts known.

The address of the planning site is - https://publicaccess.northumberland.gov.uk/online-applications/search.do?action=simple

Once there, you can search using the reference number 21/03415/FUL or just the keyword mart.

 

The deadline for comments is Wednesday 29th September.


parish council logo

Bellingham Parish Council (PC) has carefully reviewed the detail of the planning application submitted by Maple Oak properties. Our review of the planning documentation and discussions with local residents have raised a number of issues that need to be taken into consideration before planning should be approved for the site.

 

Key areas of concern

The PC is aware that there is a need for social housing within Bellingham, with the proposals for the development in the Mart Field following a housing needs survey undertaken several years ago. However, the development does not solve the key housing issues within the village and its surrounding area in its current form.

There has been no evidence provided within the planning proposals regarding the number of social properties needed by this area. While the PC agrees that some social housing is needed, the creation of the single largest estate in the village which solely consists of social housing seems likely to dwarf the needs of the local area. The PC would like to see further research into the number of properties needed by local residents and residents of the North Tyne area for social housing before these proposals are approved. A greater mix of affordable properties to buy within the housing stock on the site would be better for the area and would be more in line with NCC’s own guidance which these proposals breach (as admitted in the planning and affordable housing document). Other estates run by Karbon Homes in the village have a number of families who have been brought in from Ashington, Blyth and other distant areas rather than the houses being allocated to local families. This suggests that either Karbon are failing to prioritise locals, or there is insufficient local demand for large numbers of social houses.

Plans for the housing for vulnerable people are vague and we would like additional information to be released regarding this to allow for comment. The PC is aware that after the loss of the Sheiling (which was closed by NCC several years ago) there is no sheltered accommodation in the area for elderly residents. If the housing for vulnerable residents is exclusively for the use of the elderly, then this would be appropriate for the site. Should the vulnerable resident definition be expanded to people with social problems, this would cause a major problem for our area as we lack access to support facilities for them and have no permanent police presence anywhere nearby to deal with problems that may arise in any reasonable time frame.

Much of the existing local housing stock is being bought up by people from outside the area and/or are being converted into holiday properties. The small number of affordable homes available as shared ownership on the site will not help many young local families find property to buy in the village and is therefore a missed opportunity. There is a very poor reputation with shared ownership properties in the area, with residents in similar properties in Briar Hill telling us that they are proving difficult or impossible to mortgage and/or sell - making it impossible for young, local families to put down long-term roots in the local area. Assistance to buy would be a more appropriate scheme instead of shared ownership. In addition, as most of the bungalows are planned to be affordable rent, it is likely to prevent older local residents from selling their houses and downsizing (as they would not meet ‘affordable’ criteria) meaning that larger, family housing stock elsewhere in the village will not have the potential to be freed up by the new development.

The PC would like to see more information on how local residents would be given priority for access to these new homes. Other developments run by Karbon in the nearby area (as mentioned previously) have had families brought in from distant areas of the county instead of being allocated to locals in need of housing. We would like to see what covenants are proposed to stop this happening and give local priority so that we can comment on whether they are sufficient or not. We would also like to know how their consistent application will be monitored to ensure they are being applied.

Local residents and the PC are concerned about the facilities and services in the village and their ability to cope with circa 150 new residents. As well as the lack of shopping and jobs, the PC is especially concerned about the impact on the doctors surgery and paramedic facilities. These both cover a very wide area outside of just Bellingham and are already difficult to access by residents. The document states that discussions are ongoing with NCC about this - but this is insufficient. Not only would the PC wish to be involved with these discussions, but as they have not been concluded or included as part of the planning submission, it means that again we lack the information needed to make an informed comment. We would look to NCC to provide this information for comment by the PC and local residents before planning approval is granted.

 

Other issues:

For ease of use, we have referenced our remaining comments to the planning documentation provided on Northumberland County Council’s planning portal. Please refer to these when reviewing the comments below.

 

Design and Access Statement

Page 5 refers to the green space provided as part of the development - the PC would like to see more details about this space, the amenities, planting and expected uses of the site in order to be able to assess whether it is fit for purpose. We would also like to know who will be responsible for ongoing maintenance of the site as this has been an issue in previous housing developments in the area.

The PC would also like consideration to be given to using a small part of the existing proposed green area nearest the main road for additional car parking for the village. There is already a wide drop kerb at this point (at the old vehicular entrance to the mart field site) and a very small amendment to the planning for the site would create valuable free parking for a number of cars if bays are marked out properly. This small change would make a very big impact to the village given parking issues and would also likely improve local goodwill to the proposal.

map

 

We note this page also refers to the benefits of the new store on the site. As this is not yet through planning and is not guaranteed we feel that this cannot be used as a justification for the development of housing on the site.

Page 7 refers to the street lighting in the new development. Bellingham enjoys dark skies and is close to the Dark Sky zones in Northumberland. Recent previous planning (such as for the new Indian takeaway - reference 20/01113/FUL) included measures to ensure this was taken account of as part of the planning process but there is insufficient mention of the nature of the street lighting in this planning proposal - this would be necessary before the PC can adequately comment on this.

Pedestrian access to the site seems to be contradictory with page 8 showing one pedestrian access point next to the substation, while a second pedestrian link is highlighted to the same side path on page 10, but opposite the existing allotments. We would support the idea of both of these pedestrian access points rather than just the one next to the substation.

Page 9 outlines the parking facilities - the PC would like assurances that there will be car chargers/cabling for car chargers for at least one parking space per household as this will encourage uptake of electric vehicles - a key part of the local, county and national priorities. A law currently being promoted by the government will make this a requirement for new houses soon - so it seems sensible to plan for the future in this development.

Page 14 outlines the new housing for vulnerable individuals. We note there is no mention of how this will be managed as a site. Will there be a warden/staff on site at all times in case of emergency and for site cleaning and maintenance? How will the residents access amenities as these are limited in the village and public transport links to Newcastle and Hexham are poor - as evidenced in the transport plans undertaken as part of the planning process (see later). This information needs to be provided before planning can be finalised.

Page 17 notes that Bellingham contains ‘supermarkets’ and ‘medical centres’ and ‘many facilities’. There is currently a very small Co-op and one doctors surgery which is overstretched and covers the wider North Tyne area. There are relatively few facilities or jobs in the immediate area. We feel that this section is therefore misleading when taken  as part of the planning application at this time.

 

Flood risk assessment

Drainage of surface water mentioned in paragraph 2.02 is to flow through a surface water sewer using manhole MH9502. This is stated to be on ‘Fairstead Field’. This is not accurate per the sewage maps held by the PC. This manhole cover is on private land next to the Fairstead and, to access it, developers will need to dig through part of the old railway line which is also on private land. Can the developers confirm that they have obtained suitable permissions from the owners to allow this to happen?

In addition, as has been raised by the PC with NWL and NCC separately, the drain pipe under the Fairstead is believed to be broken and causing flooding of the field. This will have to be investigated and repaired before any new connections into it are made.

We are pleased to note that the current drainage system is deemed acceptable for the additional use brought about by the new development. However has NWL taken into account the other new development agreed at land near Noble Street? Both have been granted permission by NWL in isolation but can assurances be sought that the system can cope with both developments together?

We note the plan to connect the sewage through manholes 9415, 9401 and 8303. Can NWL confirm that 9401 is correct as there appears to be no route through from the new Mart Field development to this manhole without crossing large amounts of private property.

 

Planning and Affordable Housing Statement

Page 9 notes the need for the development to contribute to infrastructure and the provision of necessary community facilities, but little or no information has been provided in the proposal as to how this will be accomplished. What contributions to local infrastructure will be made and how will this be administered? Without knowing this, the PC is unable to give a weighted view of the development and its impact on the area. In particular the PC notes the policies (LR11 and LR15 - and the planning obligations mentioned on page 17) requiring play areas and outdoor sports facilities. These do not appear to have been met in the proposal and we would like to know how and where such facilities will be provided, as well as how they will be maintained. Section 5 on page 25 notes the facilities will be agreed as part of the planning process, but without proposals it means that the PC is not able to comment on their adequacy. We would expect this information to be submitted in the near future, with sufficient time and notification for the PC to comment before planning is approved by NCC.

Page 11 notes the requirement to create new habitats for wildlife, but again this does not appear to have been adequately explained as part of the planning proposal and the PC would like clarification on how this will be achieved. 5.26 notes the plan to provide integrated bird and bat roosting opportunities. This is welcomed by the PC but again more information on how this is to be accomplished is needed before comment can be made.

Page 13 notes policy EN1 - there is no detail in the planning proposals about how energy usage will be minimised. There appears to be no plans for solar on any roof space within the site and the form of heating has also not been made clear. We would like urgent clarification of this. Failure to include renewables as well as energy efficient heating will lead to the houses being more expensive to run (going against the idea of ‘affordable’ living) and will not help NCC meet its target of net zero emissions for the county. This also links to policy QOP5 requiring consideration for mitigation to climate change. The plans on page 25 note ‘low emission heating systems’ but more is needed in the way of detail for the PC to be able to comment. Other estates nearby run by Karbon have been fitted with air source heating and it seems sensible to adopt the same approach on the Mart Field.

Page 18 looks at the mix of housing provided by the proposed development. As mentioned earlier in these comments, by the report’s own admission, the mix of housing (rental to ownership) is very significantly out of balance with appropriate policies and guidelines. While the current mix has been undertaken in consultation with NCC, the PC has seen no evidence of any analysis of the scale/number of social/rental properties needed by the immediate local area. While there has been a local survey several years ago (which identified the need for the sort of houses proposed), there has been no clear work done on the volume needed meaning that this scale of rental may be inappropriate for the area. The PC would expect to see work done on this to ensure the market is not oversaturated with rental properties that the local area does not need.

Page 20 section 5.14 considers the provision of facilities for people with impaired mobility but this is not explicitly explained. How will this be accomplished? Is this just drop kerbs mentioned in the transport plan?

Section 6 on page 26 also notes that any further planning requirements will be discussed and negotiated with NCC. Bellingham PC would hope to be involved in such discussions as, again, it leaves the PC in the position of lacking full information about the development on which it has a statutory right to comment upon.

Page 27 notes the impact on local jobs with up to 10 new full time jobs being supported. As the site will house 150 people, this still means the majority of residents will have to travel for work which is not sustainable or environmentally friendly without improved public transport. In addition, there is no new retail or business space being developed by this proposal, meaning it is unclear where these shops and businesses are that will be providing new work opportunities. Without further development within Bellingham of more retail, office and business space, any job creation will be highly uncertain.

 

Noise Assessment

Rightly this considered the impact of the proposed new store on the housing nearby. However there are concerns over the use of air conditioning in the new store - as a planning point forward, sufficient work needs to be done to ensure noise from such external machinery is minimised and appropriate buffers put in place.

The PC would also be interested in knowing the timescale for construction on the site. As with any housing estate there will be noise and disruption for nearby residents. We hope the timetable for construction will mean this does not continue for longer than absolutely necessary,

 

Tree survey

Bellingham PC was very happy to see the proposed planting of new trees on the site, as well as the plans to retain all the trees surrounding the site (including those on the old railway line). If this changes through the course of the development, the PC will look to be consulted about the removal of any trees.

 

Archaeological survey

The PC welcomes the planned archaeological review of the site to ensure no damage is done to any historic assets and we look forward to being informed of the results of this survey.

 

Transport assessment

The new road entrance to the estate is broadly considered suitable, but the PC has some concerns that need addressing.

Firstly, given that cars will now be turning in and out of the development, the road markings need to be renewed so cars are not swinging too far out of their lane as they turn. The road markings on the B6320 have largely worn away.

We note that page 14 has the bus timetable - however this is not the correct timetable as it shows Hexham to Bellingham times - not the other way round, giving no real evidence of the usability of public transport to access Hexham. As noted the bus service to Newcastle is almost nonexistent - only on a Saturday. The timetables included show mid week bus services from Otterburn which is not relevant to this report as there is no public transport link between Bellingham and Otterburn.

While the PC notes the suggestion of car sharing apps, in reality (after investigation) these are not widely used in the area, making it largely irrelevant to the discussion on the impact of traffic from the estate.

Page 22 notes that the estate will reinstate the existing vehicular access that served the old Mart Field. This is incorrect as the proposed vehicular access is some distance from the old entrance which is now the location of the proposed green space (which is the area where we have proposed some additional public parking be placed for the village).

Page 23 notes that there will be pavements flanking the road entrance onto the B6320. However these are extremely short and will simply mean that people from the estate will have to step out onto the main road. The PC would like to see these pavements extended out from Fountains Cottage to the stone parapet bridge to allow safe access along the road for pedestrians coming out of the estate.

Page 27 notes (correctly) that the majority of traffic exiting the new estate will turn right towards the centre of Bellingham. This road is heavily congested with parked cars on the left from Crozier Cottage down to West Woodburn junction and is essentially therefore single track. This suggests additional traffic from the site could have difficulties and cause safety problems turning onto the main road into parked traffic. Creation of a parking bay using a small part of the proposed green field site, as proposed earlier, would help to alleviate this. In addition the congestion on the road caused by parking could cause issues for the heavy machinery needed to access the site through Bellingham during construction.

 

Statement of community involvement

Bellingham PC notes the challenges that faced the development consultation during the COVID period, however we do have some concerns about the nature of the consultation and the points inferred from it.

Firstly, the leaflet sent out to all residents had extremely limited information and missed out significant key points (i.e. the type of ownership, etc). There was no way to access additional information for residents without going online. Given the high proportion of elderly people in the consultation group, this would naturally tend to reduce the number of responses - as many older residents may simply not have had the ability to go online and get additional details about the development to help them come to an informed conclusion. This is evidenced by the fact on page 6 that residents asked what the mix of properties would be and on page 7 what the properties would look like - if this information had been more clearly available there would not have been requests of this nature.

It is worth noting that restrictions had been lifted for in-person consultations by the time the consultation proceeded so it was a choice by the developer, rather than legal restriction, to not offer face to face consultations.

It was also disappointing that the developer chose not to engage with the Parish Council in spite of promises to do so.

As such, assuming broad community approval based on the limited feedback received from the mail-shot for the plans is potentially misleading.

We also note that there are gaps in the points raised from feedback - it is known that several residents raised the issues of sustainability and renewable energy at the development but this is not part of the analysis document. Some residents also raised concerns about the number of rental houses vs houses for sale and this has also not been mentioned here. Given the small size of responses received it is disappointing that these have not been mentioned as part of the feedback.

Page 6 notes residents are concerned about the facilities and services in the village and their ability to cope with circa 150 new residents. As well as the lack of shopping and jobs, the PC is especially concerned about the impact on the doctors surgery and paramedic facilities. These both cover a very wide area outside of just Bellingham and are already difficult to access by residents. The document states that discussions are ongoing with NCC about this - but this is insufficient. Not only would the PC wish to be involved with these discussions, but as they have not been concluded or included as part of the planning submission, it means that again we lack the information needed to make an informed comment. We would look to NCC to provide this information for comment by the PC and local residents before planning approval is granted.

A similar issue is provided regarding the concern that the houses are available to local residents by priority. This is a key concern of the PC and local residents. All properties on the site need to have appropriate covenants ensuring that they are offered by priority to anyone in the local (North Tyne and Redesdale) area. Housing in Kielder has similar covenants which give residents from the immediate area priority for a number of weeks, then gradually extends the area out if no interested residents  can be found. It is of paramount importance that the site is able to benefit local residents.  Again, not only would the PC wish to be involved with these discussions, but as they have not been concluded or included as part of the planning submission, it means that again we lack the information needed to make an informed comment. We would look to NCC to provide this information for comment by the PC and local residents before planning approval is granted.

Page 8 refers to the developer contributions - again the PC and local residents should be informed about what these developer contributions will be and where and when they will be spent before planning is finally approved.

 

Site plans

The PC has some queries regarding the boundary fencing to the site:

The PC supports the 1800mm close boarded fence across the boundary with the old railway line, but with accessibility for local wildlife to be built in.

the side of the development adjoining the substation and Malting Close has an existing, long dry stone wall. While we know that sections of this will have to be removed for pedestrian access points, the wall itself is in keeping with the aesthetic of the village and we would like this to retained as the boundary to the site - even if the proposed fencing is put in on the other side of the wall.

The main electricity supply for the village currently runs on poles across the Mart Field. These poles do not seem to be on the current proposal drawings but there is no information in the documentation outlining what is planned for this wiring.

 

Overall

As outlined, there are some real positives to the development and the PC appreciates the work that has gone into production of the planning documents.

However the PC cannot support the proposals until the above points have been actioned and, in many cases, until more information about key issues has been provided. Once these concerns are addressed to maximise benefit for the local area and the additional information needed has been released (as outlined in this document) it will allow residents and the PC to give an informed response to every aspect of the proposed development.

-Ends-

 

20 September 2021Corsenside Parish Council are looking for a new Clerk

Our friends at Corsenside Parish Council are looking for a new Parish Clerk. 

corsenside clerk vacancy ad

11 September 2021A big thank your from the Great North Air Ambulance Service

gnaas poster

06 September 2021Last Chance to Claim Your Gigabit Broadband Voucher!

The current Government voucher scheme for Gigabit Broadband closes on the 24th September. 

If you have previously registered for your voucher to get free installation and a free months trial of the 1Gbps (1000mbps) full fibre to the home broadband service but not clicked the link on the email from the DCMS you will need to re-register so you don't miss out!

Email the WeFibre team at get@wefibre.com and they will re-submit your voucher to the DCMS. 

Work to build our new Gigabit network has begun and connections are only £20 per month for residential and small businesses with 1000mbps download AND upload speeds.

More information is available on our Gigabit Broadband page. 

06 September 2021North Tyne Youth - September - October What's On

nty what's on poster

20 August 2021C202 Redesmouth Bridge Closure

Phase 2 of the work to refurbish Redesmouth Bridge is due to start shortly.

Work is scheduled will run from Monday 6th September through to Sunday 17th October (Dates subject to change). 

During this 24/7 closure there will be no access across the bridge. Diversions will be in place via West Woodburn.

Further up to date details can be found at by clicking the link below. 

10 August 2021Monument Repair Work Set to Commence in Cemetery

We recently completed safety surveys in the cemetery near The Croft which highlighted 42 monuments in need of repair.

Following sign off by the Parish Council work to repair and make these monuments safe will commence on Monday 16th August.

The work will be completed in two phases depending on the level or work required. Some basic repairs are being completed by Northumberland County Council while other more complicated repairs are being completed by a registered Memorial Mason. 

Any monuments in need of repair have been tagged with a small marker or marked off with hazard tape. 

memorial safety checks notice

05 August 2021New Path for Jubilee Field

Work to finish the recently widened path through the Jubilee Field has been completed this week with the addition of its top gravel layer.

The newly refreshed section runs from the entrance by the car park/playground around the field past the picnic tables to the riverside walk entrance.

The path now matches the style of the section Northumberland County Council improved from the bridge past the bottom of Riverdale a few months ago.

path photo

path photo

path photo

26 July 2021Gigabit Voucher Email - Action Required!

There are still a number of you who have yet to action the email from Gigabit Vouchers. This is the actual DCMS email that arranges your funding for the WeFibre gigabit broadband service so needs to be actioned in order for you to receive your free installation.

If you haven't clicked through you should receive the email again today - check your SPAM folder just in case it's there. As mentioned before, if you are a business or a homeworker please click the business option as it pays a larger voucher into the pot which really helps the build!

Work on building the network has now started and people will start to be connected to the Gigabit goodness very soon.

Make sure you don't miss out and click the link in the email asap!

22 July 2021WeFibre Gigabit Broadband Build Work Underway!

The first spade went into the ground today marking the start of build of our exciting new WeFibre Gigabit broadband network!

The team from Pioneer Utilities have commenced work to install our new fibre cabinet and the associated ducting which will allow WeFibre to connect homes and businesses via existing underground ducts and overhead poles throughout the parish.

It's not too late to join the party - check out our dedicated Gigabit Broadband page HERE for more details of whats on offer.

Watch out for more contractors from Telcom Infrastructure in the coming weeks as we move to the next phase of the build!

workmen

first dig

workmen

19 July 2021Pedestrian Bridge Refreshed

Depending on your age you'll either know it as the white bridge, the Vet's bridge, or for those of us who are slightly older, the Police Station bridge, but whatever you call it the bridge has been in need of some attention for a long time!

As part of out rolling refresh of the village we have taken the opportunity to tidy up what was a scruffy looking bridge and it now looks much more how we'd expect. We hope you like the end result.

photos of bridge

12 July 2021Refreshed Picnic Tables in the Jubilee Field

A couple of the picnic tables that have been in the Jubilee Field since it opened in the 1970’s were looking a little worse for wear. It’s not helped that people have been using disposable barbecues on the wooden tops!

We’ve replaced the top on one of the worn out tables and will look to do the other over the next few days.

On the subject of the Jubilee Field, you may have noticed the path joining the car park to the riverside walk has been widened. We will be gravelling the path over the next couple of weeks to match it to the path that runs under the Tyne Bridge.

 

Before

table before

After

table after

30 June 2021New Lifebuoy for the Jubilee Field

As we get into the summer more and more people are visiting the Jubilee Field and having a dip in the cooling waters of the North Tyne.

With safety in mind we have installed a new Lifebuoy safety ring to replace the one that was destroyed by vandals several years ago.

The ring is one of those things that is good to have but we hope never to see used!

Thanks to Michael at MB Handyman Services for installing it for us.

25 June 2021North Tyne Youth - Summer Programme 2021

nty summer programme 2021

24 June 2021NOTICE OF PUBLIC RIGHTS AND PUBLICATION OF UNAUDITED ANNUAL GOVERNANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY RETURN

Bellingham Parish Council

 

NOTICE OF PUBLIC RIGHTS AND PUBLICATION OF UNAUDITED ANNUAL GOVERNANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY RETURN

 

ACCOUNTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 MARCH 2021

 

Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 Sections 25, 26 and 27

The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/234)

The Accounts and Audit (Coronavirus)(Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/404)

 

NOTICE

 

1. Date of Announcement: 24 June 2020

2. Each year the smaller authority’s Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) needs to be reviewed by an external auditor appointed by the Smaller Authorities’ Audit Appointments Ltd. The unaudited AGAR has been published with this notice. As it has yet to be reviewed by the appointed auditor, it is subject to change as a result of that review.
Any person interested has the right to inspect and make copies of the accounting records for the financial year to which the audit relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other documents relating to those records must be made available for inspection by any person interested. For the year ended 31 March 2021, these documents will be available on reasonable notice by application to:


The Parish Clerk, email: clerk@bellinghamparishcouncil.gov.uk

commencing on: 24th June 2021
and ending on: 4th August 2021

3. Local government electors and their representatives also have:

  • The opportunity to question the appointed auditor about the accounting records; and

  • The right to make an objection which concerns a matter in respect of which the appointed auditor could either make a public interest report or apply to the court for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful. Written notice of an objection must first be given to the auditor and a copy sent to the smaller authority.


The appointed auditor can be contacted at the address in paragraph 4 below for this purpose and between the above dates only.

4. The smaller authority’s AGAR is subject to review by the appointed auditor under the provisions of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 and the NAO’s Code of Audit Practice 2015. The appointed auditor is:

PKF Littlejohn LLP (Ref: SBA Team)

15 Westferry Circus
Canary Wharf
London E14 4HD

(sba@pkf-littlejohn.com)

 

5. This announcement is made by B. Dickson-Green, Parish Clerk.

 

notice of public rights and publication of unaudited annual governance and accountability return

18 June 2021New Parking Signage for Bellingham Village Centre

The Parish Council is aware of the difficulties with parking in Bellingham during the busy tourist season, with many vistiors parking in the centre of the village before heading off on their walks around our fantastic area. 

Parking comes under the responsibility of Highways at Northumberland County Council and the Parish Council is in ongoing talks with them to try to get them to improve the parking offering in and around Bellingham.

In order to try and help relieve some of the pressure in the interim, the Parish Council has installed a new sign outside of the old Barclay's Bank which is hoped will help direct visitors to two parking areas we do manage - the Jubilee Field car park and the Fairstead. 

Both are already used by visitors but it is hoped this additional signage will help reduce the pressure on parking in the village centre until other solutions can be found by NCC.

It also has the added bonus of tidying up a scruffy part of the sign which has been overstuck since the closure of the Tourist Information Centre at Fountain Cottage several years ago. 

parking sign

15 June 2021Gigabit Broadband Update - Action Required!

If you have already registered with WeFibre, our chosen gigabit broadband supplier, you will shortly receive an email from "Gigabit Vouchers" with the subject "UK Gigabit Voucher Scheme - action required". This is from the DCMS.

Some email services may see this as Spam so make sure you check your Spam folder if you don't get the email in your inbox.

You need to open the email and click the link to validate your voucher request.

Complete the form which will ask you if you are a Business, Sole Trader or Resident. Remember to select one of the business options if they apply to you - even if you run a business from home.

The form will state you are agreeing to Telcom (which is WeFibre's parent company) requesting a voucher of your behalf.

Once completed you will receive a confirmation email and you can sit back, relax and wait for WeFibre to install your ultrafast connection!

It's not too late to join the party if you haven't registered your interest yet. Visit wefibre.com/grants and register your details. The package on offer is a 1Gbps download AND upload full fibre connection direct to your property for only £20 per month for residential and small businesses! 

You can find our more on our Gigabit Broadband page.

04 June 2021Village Refresh Continues

Our refresh of the village continues - this time we have repaired Robert Stewart's memorial bench outside the old Barclays Bank.

A number of the seating planks were snapped with screws exposed and several of the back uprights had rotted through so these have all been replaced with new and the bench repainted to match the other benches we have.

This is the start of a rolling programme to refresh or repair all of our village assets.

 

robert stewart bench

04 June 2021Bellingham Looking Blooming Lovely!

A huge thanks to all of our wonderful volunteers who have once again helped Bellingham Bloom! 

The winter daffodil and tulip displays have been removed for another year and replaced with amazing summer bedding.

Edwin & Pat Wilkinson have also worked their magic in the Town hall garden.

Thank you to all who have sponsored or donated to this years floral displays and an ongoing thank you to all who have volunteered to keep all of the barrels and baskets watered! You are all amazing!

If you would like to help out with the watering please get in touch and we will pass on your details. 

bellingham in bloom

 

 

27 May 2021Thank you for attending our APM

Thank you to all who attended this evenings online meeting.

Technology got the better of a few of us but you can still have your say.

Send us an email to clerk@bellinghamparishcouncil.gov.uk, message us via our Facebook page or send us a message through our website HERE.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts!

24 May 2021Have Your Say On What We Do

We will be holding our Annual Parish Meeting on Thursday 27th May at 7pm.

This is an opportunity for the community to put forward any ideas or suggestions for things they would like the Parish Council to take forward on their behalf over the next year and will be used as a basis to form a formal Parish Plan.

Please note that due to ongoing COVID social distancing restrictions this session will be held online via ZOOM.

ZOOM Meeting ID - 460 180 0273

Link to the Meeting - https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4601800273

In addition to this session we will look to run a face to face meeting later in the year once COVID restrictions are lifted.

It would be great to see as many people join the online meeting as possible to share your thoughts on making Bellingham an even better place to live and work.

have your say

20 May 2021Bellingham Cemetery - Memorial Testing

As part of our mandatory safety checks we are in the process of safety testing the memorials in the cemetery.

Please note if you see a small warning notice in front of a memorial it has been identified as being unsafe and in need of repair. 

Please do not remove any of these notices.

Thank you for your co-operation with this sensitive matter.

 

20 May 2021Co-option Opportunity - Join us on Bellingham Parish Council

Following the recent uncontested election result we have spaces for two people to join us as councillors on Bellingham Parish Council.

If you are interested send a copy of your CV and a covering letter saying why you would like to join us to clerk@bellinghamparishcouncil.gov.uk.

Closing date for applications is Friday 4th June.

20 May 2021Live it. Love it. Leave it Unspoilt

Whether you fancy a big walk or a little wander, hiking paths or biking trails, the Northumberland countryside around Bellingham has loads of adventures on offer. And we need your help to keep every mile as safe as possible and as spectacular as ever.

Please leave #UnspoiltNorthumberland just like you find it. #RespectProtectEnjoy

love northumberland image

17 May 2021North Tyne Youth - May 2021 Half Term Activities

26 April 2021Free parking at Kielder Water and Forest Park

Kielder Water & Forest Park are continuing with the offer of a free permit for car parking up to March 2022 to residents of the following villages -

Byrness, Rochester, Otterburn, Bellingham, Tarset, Kielder, Falstone, West Woodburn, Ridsdale, Wark, Stonehaugh and Redesmouth.

If you wish to apply for a residents’ permit, the details are as follows:

The parking pass is available from Kielder Waterside where production of a utility bill or council tax bill to confirm your address will be required. One parking pass per household

The parking pass will need to be renewed annually

If you need any more information please contact Kielder Water and Forest Park via email: info@visitkielder.com.

 

10 April 2021Return of Result of Uncontested Election

Return of Result of Uncontested Election

As the number of candidates for Bellingham Parish Council was less than the number of seats available there will not be an election for the Parish Council in May.

The below persons have been duly elected without a contest. 

Martin Dickson-Green

Ken Irving

Anthony Kirkbride

Tim Moore

Amy Riley

Brian Tilley

Edwin Wilkinson

There are two unoccupied seats that the Parish Council will look to fill by co-option as soon as possible following the May meeting. 

return result of uncontested election

08 April 2021B6320 Road Closure - Saturday 10th April

** ROAD CLOSURE REMINDER **

In case you haven't seen the B6320 will be closed to all vehicular traffic at the old railway bridge by Darmel House from 8am to 5pm this Saturday, 10th April.

A diversion is in place via the A68 towards Otterburn and West Woodburn.

 

road closure notice

07 April 2021Waste Soil from St Cuthberts Graveyard - Action Required

Community Post

A number of people have been using waste soil from the skips in Manchester Square which has been excavated from the earthworks in St Cuthbert's Church graveyard behind the Black Bull.

 

There is a small chance that any soil taken could contain traces of bones from very old unmarked graves.

 

If you have taken soil and find any of these bone fragments can you please put them in a container and leave them inside St Cuthbert's Church and they will be re-buried as appropriate.

 

Thank you for your assistance.

03 April 2021North Tyne Youth - April/May What's On

north tyne youth what's on april/may 2021

26 March 2021NOTICE OF ELECTION

25 March 2021Jubilee Field Car Park Fencing Completed

The recently extended Jubilee Field car park has been completed with the addition of the new perimeter fence.

21 March 2021Painting of the Cemetery Railings Takes a Step Forward

The outside of the cemetery fence that has stood half painted since lockdown hit at the end of last year has finally been completed!

The inside is still to finish but it looks great from the road when passing now!

Before

cemetery railings before

After

cemetery railings after

19 March 2021Bellingham Housing Survey Details

There was a housing survey undertaken a couple of years ago around the future housing needs of the people of Bellingham and the surrounding area. 

The report is available for you to view on our website HERE.

 

18 March 2021Bellingham in Bloom would like your help!

The wonderful volunteers at Bellingham in Bloom are once again planning a fantastic floral display for the village this summer and are looking for some volunteers to help out with watering the planters. 

If you can spare a hour or so over the week to join the team of waterers looking after the displays, please contact Christine Bragg on 220855.

Thank you for your help in making Bellingham Bloom!

 

18 March 2021 Do you want to stand for Bellingham Parish Council?

Do You Want to Stand for Bellingham Parish Council?

County and Parish Council elections will be held on May 6th 2021

 

Forms:

If you wish to stand for a seat on the Parish Council in Bellingham, you can get the relevant nomination and electoral register forms direct from Northumberland County Council (NCC) using the following email address:

electionnominations@northumberland.gov.uk

 

Guidance and deadlines:

You can get helpful guidance on the process, along with timetables for the elections here:

https://www.northumberland.gov.uk/elections.aspx

NCC offer a checking service for nomination forms before they are submitted, which can be booked here:

https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/ElectionsNominations@northumberland.gov.uk/bookings/

 

More information:

Further information about standing for public office can also be found here:

https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk

 

 

11 March 2021Time is running out for FREE GIGABIT BROADBAND INSTALLATION!

dcms logo

BELLINGHAM, REDESMOUTH & CHARLTON

TIME IS RUNNING OUT  TO GUARANTEE YOUR FREE INSTALLATION (Saving at least £49!)

WeFibre are building a new Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) broadband network throughout our Parish and will be providing speeds upto 1Gbps (1000Mbps) Download AND Upload to homes and small businesses from only £20 per month*.

The new network is being funded by the Government's Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme.

  • Broadband usage is more than doubling every year.
  • The existing network in the area that all current providers use doesn't come anywhere near the speeds on offer. 
  • Applications to the scheme end on the 31st March 2021.
  • Voucher claims are non-binding. It simply secures your funding for the next 12 months giving you FREE INSTALLATION!
  • You can try the service for free for 30 days with no obligation! Why not try it out and if you aren't blown away by the 1Gbps (1000Mbps) speeds you can leave with no hard feelings!
  • Claim your free Government voucher today at wefibre.com/grants and let Boris & Rishi pay for your installation!!

 

DON'T MISS OUT ON GETTING THE BEST BROADBAND SPEEDS IN THE COUNTRY FUNDED BY THE GOVERNMENT

 

Your voucher gets you FREE INSTALLATION (Saving £49)

30 Day Free Trial of the service. If you aren't blown away by the 1000Mbps (1Gbps) speeds you can leave free of charge - No hard feelings!

Your voucher lasts for 12 months so you don't have to try the service straight away. Get your voucher claimed so you don't miss out in the months to come when you see how great your friends and neighbour's new broadband is!

 

What if I don’t claim my voucher?

Once the network is built, any properties which didn’t take service initially can request to be added and WeFibre will come back and connect them. (NB: Voucher funding currently runs out on 31st March and there have been no announcements of a replacement scheme. It is better to claim your no obligation voucher now to guarantee your free installation for any time over the next 12 months.)         

If the network hasn’t been built out to your location as a part of the initial build and voucher funding is no longer available then charges may apply for getting connected, so it’s better to take advantage of this unique opportunity and reserve your voucher today.

 

wefibre flyer

*£20 per month on a 12 month contract. £30 per month for a 30 day rolling contract. 

02 March 2021We've Hit Our Target!

Thank you to all in the community who have claimed their government voucher for Gigabit Broadband. We are delighted to announce that WeFibre have confirmed we have passed the minimum interest threshold of 100 voucher claims and have moved into Stage 3 - Network Design!

There is still time for you to get involved if you haven't claimed your government voucher yet for free installation and your 30 day free trial.

Click Gigabit Broadband from the main menu for more detials.

You have until March 31st 2021 to claim you voucher at wefibre.com/grants

 

wefibre flyer

01 March 2021Time is Running Out to Claim Your Voucher!

dcms logo

BELLINGHAM, REDESMOUTH & CHARLTON

ACT NOW TO GUARANTEE YOUR VOUCHER

WeFibre are planning to install a new Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) broadband network throughout our Parish and will be providing speeds upto 1Gbps (1000Mbps) Download AND Upload to homes and small businesses from £20 per month*.

The new network is being funded by the Government's Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme.

  • Broadband usage is more than doubling every year.
  • The existing network in the area that all current providers use doesn't come anywhere near the speeds on offer. 
  • Applications to the scheme end on the 31st March 2021.
  • Voucher requests are non-binding. It simply secures your funding for the next 12 months.
  • We need 100 vouchers claimed in order for WeFibre to build the new network.
  • You can try the service for free for 30 days with no obligation! Why not try it out and if you aren't blown away by the 1Gbps (1000Mbps) speeds you can leave with no hard feelings!
  • Claim your free voucher today at wefibre.com/grants

 

DON'T LET OUR AREA MISS OUT ON GETTING BETTER BROADBAND FUNDED BY THE GOVERNMENT

 

What if I don’t sign up for a voucher?

Once the network is built, any properties which didn’t take service initially can request to be added and WeFibre will come back and connect them. (NB: Voucher funding may no longer be available, it is better to sign up early.)         

If the network hasn’t been built out to your location as a part of the initial build and voucher funding is no longer available then charges may apply for getting connected, so it’s better to take advantage of this unique opportunity and reserve your voucher today.

 

wefibre flyer

*£20 per month on a 12 month contract. £30 per month for a 30 day rolling contract. 

28 February 2021North Tyne Youth - Easterfest!

easterfest poster

22 February 2021Introducing Pen Pals

co-op pen pals poster

21 February 2021North Tyne Youth - March What's On

north tyne youth february half term poster

18 February 2021Gigabit Broadband is Coming! Try it for free!

wefibre flyer

Click HERE for more details.

17 February 2021Northumberland Rural Employment Hubs - Employability Webinars

ncan poster feb 21

09 February 2021Gigabit Broadband for Bellingham - Update

wefibre banner

You may recall back in September we asked residents and businesses in the parish to get behind the government rural broadband voucher scheme with a view to getting gigibit (1000Mbps) broadband in Bellingham.

The government programme is offering vouchers worth £1500 per home and £3500 per small/medium (SME) business to support suppliers with the cost of installing new fast and reliable connections. The more people that register their interest the more government vouchers we have to use and the more likely it is we get the service.

We have been contacted by WeFibre who are interested in providing service to our area.

The deal they are offering is 1Gbps (1000Mbps) upload AND download for £20 per month for residential and £60 per month for business customers.

As more and more people are uploading files, photos etc to the cloud, upload speed becomes more important. WeFibre offers on average download speeds up to 14x faster than the UK average and upload speeds up to 64x faster!

They require a certain level of interest in order to progress in the village so we are asking everyone who would like ultra-fast Gigibit broadband to register their interest by clicking the WeFibre logo below and clicking on the "Join the waiting list" button and entering your details. You are not committing to anything at this time, it is just to allow WeFibre to gauge interest and work out wether investing in our area is viable for them.

wefibre logo

Please click the link and register your interest and make sure you share this post and tell your friends too!

Thanks.

 

*Comparison examples to existing residential providers in the area showing maximum available download/upload speeds (prices taken from individual company websites. Correct as of 9th Feb 2021). You can test your actual current download and upload speeds at Speedtest.net.

WeFibre - 1000Mb/1000Mb - £20/month

BT Fibre1 - upto 80Mb/20Mb - £31.99/month

Sky Fibre - upto 80Mb/20Mb - £27.00/month

TalkTalk Fibre 65 - upto 80Mb/20Mb - £24/month

Plusnet Unlimited Fibre Extra - upto 80Mb/20Mb - £24.99/month

 

08 February 2021North Tyne Youth - February Half Term Activities

north tyne youth february half term poster

06 February 2021Choosing a Postal Vote

With postal vote applications landing on doormats over the coming days, here's a quick and easy guide on what you need to do if you choose to vote by post.

It's the safest way to vote currently due to Covid-19.

 

If you haven't received one you can download a Postal Vote application form HERE

02 February 2021Cleaner Required

photo of public toilets

Contact us HERE if you are interested. 

01 February 2021Check Your Electoral Register Information

You will shortly receive a letter from Northumberland County Council asking you to confirm who is registered to vote at your address. Please take a few minutes to check and confirm - it's really easy to do either online, by phone or by post.

 

The form also gives you the opportunity to register for a postal vote. Postal voters can vote in advance without the need to visit a polling station but can still vote in person on the day if they want to.

 

We have County and Parish Council elections coming up in May.

 

28 January 2021Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to our new quarterly newsletter.

The latest news from Bellingham and the Parish Council direct to your inbox!

Click the Sign Up button on the main menu!

 

27 January 2021Car Charging - Bellingham the Rural Showcase

It's almost a year since the Parish Council installed two electric car charging points on the back of the Town Hall in Manchester Square. Even with the various lockdowns and generally lower numbers of visitors into the village the chargers are still seeing regular use. To date drivers have used 1771kWh of electricity which equates to around 7000 miles driven! Not bad for a quiet year!

It's not just Bellingham that is seeing the benefit of our work - we have in the past few months been contacted by councillors from Burnham Parish Council in Buckinghamshire and Sandford Parish Council in Crediton (near Exeter) asking how we went about installing our chargers. 

Bellingham is leading the way with the EV future!

car charging at the town hall

21 January 2021Introducing Cygnus Support

Cygnus Support is a mental health and emotional well being charity based in Ashington but covering the whole of Northumberland. We offer one to one counselling and support for people with a range of needs. Currently we are all working from home and sessions are delivered by telephone and video. Clients can access the service by self-referral or by being referred in by another service they may be working with, referrals can be made by completing our referral form, which is available on our website or as a word document or by phoning our office on 01670 853977 . 

 

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic we have developed a Covid response project which comprises a mental health helpline, 1-2-1 counselling and our online therapy platform, SilverCloud. SilverCloud offers online therapeutic modules to support an individual’s mental health needs. This can be accessed not only by residents but by anyone working in Northumberland.

 

21 January 2021Online Arthritis Support for Parish Residents

Arthritis Action Groups are an opportunity for people with arthritis to talk with others and share their tips on how to manage their arthritis and stay active whilst at home, and we actively welcome new attendees. We discuss a variety of self-management techniques. Participants will need to contact Arthritis Action directly for the log in instructions for the meeting.

04 January 2021Grit Bins

Northumberland County Council provide grit/salt bins for use by the public during frosty/icy conditions. You can use the grit provided to clear snow and ice from pavements around your home, making paths safer and easier to use. The bins can be found in the following locations (all are Yellow unless otherwise stated) - 

  • Fairshaw Crescent - End of Grass Section on Right Hand Side (Blue Bin)
  • Outside the Public Toilets 
  • Opposite Bridge House beside the Burn Bridge
  • Foundry Yard - Opposite the Snooker Club 
  • Behind Orchard House Vets opposite Northern Garage 
  • Hillside - Beside parking area at the top of the path behind No.25
  • Briar Hill - Beside Playground Entrance 
  • Redesmouth Road - Outside School Gates 
  • Redesmouth Court - Right Hand Side When Entering the Estate 
  • Town Hall - Bottom of Steps Between Town Hall and the Gun Monument 
  • Boat Road - On the Corner adj Fallow Green Cottage
  • Doctors Surgery Car Park
  • Westlands - Bottom of Westlands Bank (Green Bin)
  • Reenes Way - Side of Garages (Green Bin)
  • Cairns Road - Top of Back Lane opposite Allotments
  • Cairns Road - Parking Area opposite No.36
  • Malting Close - Adj Electricity Substation

You can report an empty grit bin to NCC HERE

You can request an additional grit bin from NCC HERE

Grit provided should not be used for treating private property.

map of grit bin locations

04 January 2021Northumberland County Council Snow Wardens

Northumberland County County Council has introduced a Snow Warden Scheme in Northumberland to allow an individual or a group of community volunteers to sign up to help clear snow and ice from public footpaths in their local areas.

By carrying out voluntary snow warden duties you will be helping to keep your community safer during severe winter conditions. In return they will provide you with a snow warden kit which comprises of a snow shovel, bag of salt/grit, a thermal hat with a head torch, a pair of thermal gloves and a hi-vis vest.

If you would like to be involved in this scheme please click on the link below to view and print the forms.  Please return your completed forms (registration form and fitness declaration) to the following freepost address [please note it must be exactly as is stated with no address or postcode].
 


Freepost NCC LOCAL SERVICES

 

Individual Registration Form

Group Registration Form

01 January 2021Looking after our Parish in 2021

Bellingham Parish Council has worked hard throughout 2020 to increase the number of services we offer our community - from the basics such as street cleaning and additional grass cutting through to maintenance of our assets, such as repainting the public toilets and supporting local residents who were shielding or self isolating during the initial COVID-19 lockdown. The attached infographic shows some of the services we currently offer. We want to build on this work in 2021 and re-establish a rolling maintenance programme including repair and repainting of street benches, painting of bridge railings and repainting of bins, planters etc.

We would also like to invest further in our community (post COVID-19) and work to improve our offering to tourists who contribute a significant amount to our local economy, thereby supporting local businesses which create jobs for local people.

In addition, we have statutory responsibilities regarding the upkeep of the graveyards in Bellingham. The graveyards need to be professionally assessed for the safety of headstones, with any dangerous memorials having to be repaired. Work is also needed to repair and redecorate the cemetery chapel near the show field. The cost of these works will run to thousands of pounds.

Bellingham Parish Council, like all Parish and Town Councils around the UK, is funded by our precept - the small portion of your council tax bill that pays for our services.

For the past few years we have not increased the precept in line with inflation. While this has meant a real terms reduction in your precept contribution year on year, it has also meant a real terms reduction in our annual income. While the cost of some services is fixed under contracts for a number of years, when these need to be renewed in the future, we need to make sure we can still afford them. Even with our current level of service provision, the parish council has run a significant deficit of around £5,000 per annum for several years, which cannot continue.

This is where we need your help. The parish council will be setting its precept amount for 2021 at our January meeting. We need a slight, but unfortunately necessary, increase to the amount each household contributes in order to make up for the real terms fall in our income over the last several years, give us the income we need to deal with the additional works such as the maintenance and safety work on the cemetery and chapel, as well as the rolling asset maintenance programme. If we do not raise the precept we would need to look at cutting the services we currently offer the parish.

Please be aware that this is a change to the precept portion of your council tax bill (itemised on your statement as Bellingham Parish Council) and is separate from any increases made by Northumberland County Council or the Police & Crime Commissioner for Northumbria for services they provide.

Under our proposal, a council tax Band A property (such as Westlands, Cairns Road, Hillside or similar) would see an approximate increase of £3.83 per year, or around 7p per week.

A larger Band D property would see an approximate increase of £5.75 per year, or around 11p per week.

While no-one likes increases in bills we hope you will support us with or plans for 2021 and agree this is a small amount to pay to allow us to maintain our village to a high standard and make it an even better place for us all to live.

We would be interested to hear your thoughts on this, as well as any suggestions you have for improvements or services you would like us to provide.

Click HERE to tell us your thoughts.

28 December 2020Bellingham Parish Council's new look for 2021!

We have changed our logo from the sketch of the Town Hall to a new symbol inspired by the old Three Horns crest of the Bellingham family.

This symbol can already be seen in a number of places around the village so we thought it better represented the Parish of Bellingham.

Hope you like it!

22 December 2020Bellingham Parish Council 2020 Review

2020 has been a difficult year for a number of reasons. In particular the COVID-19 pandemic has caused huge disruption to people across the world and, of course, even within our corner of it in Bellingham Parish. In spite of this, the Parish Council (along with many other individuals and organisations) has been working hard throughout this year for the community and we thought that it would be good to take a little time to have a look back at the year and consider the activities we have undertaken (in addition to our regular grass cutting, planning, street cleaning and allotment management).

Community

The main focus of the Parish Council during March to June was on the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the first lockdown on the village - in particular on those who were vulnerable and shielding. This led to a parish-wide information leaflet being sent out to all households, followed by centralised shopping and food delivery to those self-isolating within the village. Food shopping and delivery, postal services and pharmacy deliveries were offered by volunteers for over 3 months to residents who were shielding. By the time this finished we had undertaken over 280 shopping and 75 prescription deliveries.

The Parish Council would not only like to thank the council volunteers who helped with this service, but also those who offered to help, as well as those who helped to look after their neighbours and loved ones themselves in this very difficult period. We would also like to thank our local churches (in particular Deacon Anne Taylor and the former Reverend Susan Ramsaran) for organising ring-arounds and support for those in need and the local shops for their support for the delivery services.

The Parish Council Facebook page has been developed through this year and used to provide information for locals as well as entertainment through lockdown and beyond in the form of our well attended Facebook lockdown quizzes.

As well as Facebook, the Parish Council has created and developed its own website (www.parish-council.com/Bellingham), allowing residents easy access to key information about its activities, as well as its policies and past minutes. This has helped to improve transparency as well as the level of public participation by residents, which is greatly appreciated by the Parish Council.

In addition to the COVID-19 support, the Parish Council has enacted a new small grant funding process. These grants have helped a variety of key local community organisations in the year, including Bellingham in Bloom, Bellingham Town Hall, and North Tyne and Redesdale Community Partnership.

Bellingham Parish Council has also undertaken an expansion of the Christmas lights in the heart of the village this year (with more planned for next year) and spearheaded a campaign to get everyone to to put up Christmas lights to make the village as cheerful as possible through the end of 2020. It has been wonderful to see how many people have done this and what a positive response residents and visitors alike have had on seeing how great the village looks lit up.

Infrastructure

Early in the year, the Parish Council switched on two new electric car chargers situated on the rear of the Town Hall. These have been in regular use by some residents - the number of electric vehicles in the village has started to rise - as well as by local essential workers. The Parish Council has received a number of emails of support regarding the new chargers from tourists as well.

The Jubilee Field car park has been extended, with additional signage being put up. The notice board provided by the Playground Committee has been brought into use and is becoming a popular location for advertising with local businesses. We hope to put new fencing up around the car park early next year.

Due to the rising number of visitors we have installed a number of new litter bins throughout Bellingham, with new bins outside the Post Office, Westlands and Reenes Way, Redesmouth Road, Jubilee Field and near the Cemetery.

With the help of some fantastic volunteers, the Parish Council has organised the start of a major refresh of the cemeteries within Bellingham, with the start of path clearance and the repainting of the railings and benches. While the completion of this has been delayed due to COVID-19, we hope to complete this work in 2021.

The old notice board on Lockup Lane was in poor repair, so this has been replaced with a new wooden magnetic board for council, town hall and community notices.

Tourism

The Parish Council has brought the large area of grass at Armstrong Square back into a useable state in the year, improving the look of a key tourist area within the village.

The public conveniences have been painted and their signage improved with the help of some local volunteers. During the height of the pandemic the Parish Council had no choice but to close them but reopened them at the earliest opportunity. While opening days have been reduced due to the high cost of more regular deep cleaning due to the pandemic, hopefully this will be a temporary situation.

The Parish Council volunteers have also cleared trees and shrubs blocking tourist signs for Bellingham.

Business

In the run up to Christmas, the Parish Council has spearheaded a new campaign over Christmas (’Tis the Season to Shop Local’) to support the great shops here in Bellingham who have been working hard for residents over the pandemic. There has been a 100% take-up of this campaign by local retailers and there has been a strongly positive response from residents as well.

While there has been a lot of focus on the pandemic, Bellingham Parish Council, the businesses in the parish, our charitable organisations and all the volunteers and residents have been working hard this year to look after each other on a wide range of fronts.

We would like to thank you for making our parish such a great place to live in 2020 and we look forward to this continuing in 2021.

19 December 2020Bin the Wipe!

A message from Northumbrian Water

Wet wipes are the biggest causes of blockages and sewer flooding, and we really need your help. You can make a massive difference by making one easy change: Bin the Wipe.

Many wipes are made from plastic, which means they don’t break down in water like toilet roll. Our toilets and sewer pipes are not designed for wipes. Even if the wipes aren’t in your toilet bowl, they might get stuck in the pipes near your home, or someone else’s.

Flushed wipes contribute to more than 60% of sewer blockages in the North East: it’s a huge issue.

Flushing the wrong things down the toilet cause huge problems inside customers’ homes, in our communities and our environment.

Wrongly flushed items are a nightmare for everyone as they can cause all sorts of problems inside customers' homes, in the communities we live in and for the environment.

Northumbrian Water is working hard to raise awareness of these issues, so that you know about the problems wet wipes can cause.

What can happen if there’s a blockage in the sewers?

When sewage can’t flow down the sewer pipes because of a blockage, it has to go somewhere else. This could be your street, garden or even back into your home through the toilet, or drains in your bath, sink and shower, flooding your bathroom and home.

The only wipes that can safely be flushed are wipes that have passed the water industry’s standard, ‘Fine to Flush’.

So unless they have the official 'Fine to Flush’ symbol, toilet wipes, baby wipes, make-up wipes and cleaning wipes should all be binned after use - even ones that say they are flushable.

In your area, this is an ongoing problem. You are at risk, unless people stop flushing wipes down the toilet.

Please tell your family, friends and neighbours to Bin the wipe.

12 December 2020Briar Hill Playground Improvements

Facilities in the Briar Hill Play Area have been improved with the replacement of the two worn out swing seats.

Further improvements are planned for the playground in the new year including repainting of the railings and seating.

photo of swings

29 November 2020Replacement for the Parkside Place Disappearing Bin

Following the mystery of the disappearing bin from outside the newsagents we have installed a new twin bin which has been firmly bolted down!

The remaining single bin that was there previously has been relocated to the Jubilee Field car park to give extra capacity for visitors there.

photo of bins outside the post office

28 November 2020It's Chriiiisstmaaaaaas!!

The lights are up meaning it's officially the start of the Christmas season in Bellingham!

A huge thanks to David and his team for their hard work this weekend making our village look amazing!!

photo of christmas lightsphoto of christmas lightsphoto of christmas lightsphoto of christmas lights

 

18 November 2020West Northumberland Food Bank Appeal

Donations to the West Northumberland Food Bank are urgently needed.

Please leave any donations of non-perishable food and toiletries in St Cuthbert's Church - the church is always open during daylight hours.

Thank you!

food hamper picture

09 November 2020Shop Local Campaign for Christmas Shopping

The local shops in Bellingham have worked hard this year to ensure that everyone in the town was able to get what they needed during the lock-downs this year. We would urge residents to repay the favour and keep shopping local!

In partnership with our excellent local shops, we are launching a Shop Local initiative for Christmas. We want to encourage people to use our local amenities where possible for as much Christmas shopping as possible. Look out for the signs in shop windows!

shop local poster

06 November 2020New Youth Development Worker for North Tyne Youth

An update from North Tyne Youth's new Youth Development Worker.

north tyne youth letter

21 October 2020New Bin for Redesmouth Road - Outside School

Following requests from residents the Parish Council has installed a new combined dog waste/rubbish bin outside the entrance to Bellingham Middle and Primary Schools.

photo of bin outside school gates

01 September 2020New Lock Up Lane Noticeboard

The long serving notice board on Lock Up Lane was beginning to show signs of age so we've replaced it with a shiny new one!

The board has a magnetic backing so please don't use drawing pins - we have provided mini magnets to use.

To keep it organised, we have marked out space for Parish Council notices, a section for our friends at the Town Hall as well as plenty of space for your community event notices.

If you'd like something put up in the board drop us an email at clerk@bellinghamparishcouncil.gov.uk, fill out the contact form or drop us a Facebook message. If you already have a notice you can drop it into Country Store Bellingham and they will pass it on.

Special thanks to Charlotte Brown for the use of the van!

photo of lockup lane notice board

29 August 2020Refreshing the Cemetery

We have started the refresh of the cemetery with the help of some fantastic volunteers! The plan includes wire brushing and repaint the metal railings, sanding down and repainting the park benches, clearing moss from the paths and cutting back some shrubs.photo of cemetery railings

photo of cemetery railingsA huge thanks to Bernadette and Bob Thompson, Ken and Sally Irving, Ant Kirkbride, Martin & Ben Dickson-Green and our on location caterer Margret Wilson for all their help at the cemetery today!

We cleared some of the paths and painted most of one side of the railings before the paint ran out! Lockdowns permitting we are hoping to complete these works as soon as we can. 

photo of volunteers

photo of volunteers

photo of volunteers

18 August 2020Refresh of the Public Toilets

Continuing our maintenance programme to spruce up the village we have recently completed a refresh of the exterior of the village public toilets. The interior was re-painted last year but the outside was looking a little tired and in need of a smarten up. The pebbledash exterior has been repainted, doors and frames re-glossed and new noticeboards and facility signs added.

photo of public toilets

18 August 2020New Bins for Westlands and Reenes Way

Following requests from residents the Parish Council has installed two new combined dog waste/rubbish bins - one at the top of Westlands bank and one at the junction of Reenes Way and Charlton View.

There had been reports of dog mess being left and rubbish thrown under hedges so it is hoped the new bins will encourage the guilty parties to do the right thing!

photo of bin at reenes wayphoto of bin at westlands

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