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Old December 1st, 2010, 02:01 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Newcastle Historian View Post
. . . . the local parish council says it is not satisfied with the offer, and has urged the Duke’s Northumberland Estates to agree to a much more substantial contribution to the long-term sustainability of the village hall. . . .
Although Rennington is a tiny (if expanding) little Village, I'm delighted to see that events in its Village Hall attract substantial audiences from all over the area and deserves further support.
Sadly, its just not good enough to expect folks in the wider Alnwick District to find all the cultural activity they'd like from the Alnwick Playhouse as it simply has to produce a predominantly populist programme to attract the numbers necessary to cover costs.
There's actually a small and quiet renaissance within Northumberland's Village Halls taking place at the present and we should be delighted to see it develop!
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 11:11 AM   #22
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Whittonstall villagers facing a new mine proposal
December 2nd 2010, by Neil McKay, The Journal


VILLAGERS who successfully opposed opencast mining applications three decades ago now face yet another fight.

UK Coal yesterday confirmed it had submitted a planning application to mine two million tonnes of coal at Whittonstall, Northumberland, close to the border with County Durham, over a period of almost seven years.

In 1978 and again in 1984 plans submitted by the National Coal Board for a large opencast mine near the village were rejected following widespread protests.

Yesterday the company announced: “UK Coal has lodged a planning application seeking consent to extract 2.2 million tonnes of coal from a 208-hectare Hoodsclose site near Whittonstall in Northumberland. If the scheme is given the go-ahead by Northumberland County Council, up to 80 jobs would be created to recover the coal and half-a-million tonnes of quality brickmaking fireclay over a six-year nine-month period. Coal extraction would be from 137 hectares with other areas required for offices and coal processing.

“The coal earmarked for recovery is a combination of power station fuel and coking coal suitable for the steel industry, but equates in total to the annual energy needs of around 1.5 million homes.

“Progressive restoration would be completed over a further nine months, with miles of new hedgerow, 150 acres of new native species woodland, ponds and marshland with a 10-year nature conservation management programme.

“In addition to a Community Fund of around £220,000, options for a major benefit project for Whittonstall are being considered.”

The statement continued: “UK Coal’s Hoodsclose scheme is markedly smaller in size and tonnage than that proposed by predecessors the National Coal Board (NCB) in the late 1970s, and subsequently rejected. The NCB scheme envisaged the recovery of 3.2 million tonnes of coal from a 231.2 hectare site over a 10-year period.

“Site operations under UK Coal’s proposals would be fully screened from Whittonstall village.” The plans will attract opposition from both sides of the county border.

Durham County Councillor Watts Stelling, whose ward includes villages such as Leadgate, Ebchester and Low Westwood near to Whittonstall, said: “I have a number of serious concerns about this proposal, not least that it will involve digging up huge swathes of beautiful countryside.

“Then there will be 12 lorries per hour trundling onto the A68 past County Durham villages. The noise, dust and danger would be intolerable.”


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Old December 2nd, 2010, 11:21 AM   #23
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Tesco will be operator of new Amble Supermarket
December 2nd 2010, by Brian Daniel, The Journal


SUPERMARKET giant Tesco has been named as the operator of a proposed new store in Northumberland.

The company has been named as the one that will run a planned supermarket at Amble, which is being put forward in partnership with the Duke of Northumberland’s estates.

The partners have submitted a joint reserved matters planning application for the £5m scheme and say it would bring 150 jobs to the town.

Last night, people who have objected to the project in the past repeated concerns over impact on a green area, and the town’s shops.

However, they acknowledged the need for jobs in Amble following the collapse of its biggest employer, Northumberland Foods.

The estates submitted an outline bid for the development – without an operator on board – plus 46 houses, on land north of Queen Street, in 2008.

Objections were voiced by scores of local residents, concerned at the prospect of an access road being built on The Braid, a green area.

A band of homeowners at Rivergreen submitted an application for village green status to stop the road being built. A public inquiry was held following which Northumberland County Council decided the site of the road should not be designated village green.

The estates’ planning application was approved by the county council last summer, despite officers recommending refusal. Yesterday, the estates announced Tesco as its operator and revealed they have submitted the more detailed application to the county council this week.

The scheme is for a 30,000 sq ft store with 200-space car park, and the new access road. Tesco has announced it hopes to create 150 full and part-time jobs. The housing element of the development is not included in the new application.


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Old December 24th, 2010, 02:06 PM   #24
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Haven spend £2m on Berwick parks revamp
December 24th 2010, by Iain Laing, The Journal


HAVEN Holidays is investing almost £2m to revamp its two Berwick holiday parks as the sites attract early bookings for next year.

The company said that £1.6m would be spent on a cafe-bar-lounge and improving entertainment venues at its Haggerston Castle Holiday Park and £360,000 sprucing up the pool and terrace at the smaller Berwick Holiday Park.

There will also be further development and landscaping at Haggerston Castle in the second stage of a project to create a new outdoor area with views over one of the 200-acre park’s seven lakes.

The investment brings to more than £6m the amount Haven has spent on improvements and upgrades at Haggerston Castle over the past five years.


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Old December 30th, 2010, 11:41 AM   #25
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Great Whittington makes final in national contest
December 30th 2010, by Tony Henderson, The Journal


THE Big Freeze was temporarily forgotten yesterday as Northumberland villagers celebrated making the finals of a national bloom competition.

Great Whittington, near Matfen, was among finalists announced by the Royal Horticultural Society for the 2011 Britain in Bloom contest.

The village of just over 200 residents won a gold award in this year’s Northumbria in Bloom competition.

Other regional Britain in Bloom finalists for 2011 are Warkworth in Northumberland, Whickham in Gateshead, plus Darlington, Stockton and Saltburn.

Great Whittington villager and bloom co-ordinator Val Tuck said yesterday: “We are very pleased. It was our aim and we have done it. It is all quite exciting but a little scary but we will give the national competition a shot.

“We are a small farming village with no shops or lamp posts so we don’t do big spectacular displays which would be out of keeping with our countryside setting.

“We plant up the edges of the village green and walls and use countryside plants like foxgloves.

“We get the whole village involved. It makes the whole village look good and people get excited when the judging days arrive.” The freeze, however, has dealt the village an early blow. “We planted up tubs on verges in November but all the snow has flattened them,” said Val.


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Old December 30th, 2010, 11:44 AM   #26
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Builder's plea for more time at Amble yard
December 30th 2010, by Brian Daniel, The Journal


A DEVELOPER has asked for more time to build flats near a Northumberland harbour, blaming the financial climate for its failure to start work.

Grainger Homes has applied to Northumberland County Council for an extension of the time limit in which it must begin work on its scheme to build 127 apartments on Amble boat yard and surrounding land.

The developer has yet to begin work despite the three-year limit having now run out and has blamed the current economic conditions. It has no immediate plans to begin work at the site but has submitted its application as a way of keeping its options open.

Owners of a business which would have to move to make way for the development said they were playing a waiting game as it is reliant on Grainger buying its site to build a new base.

The company applied to the now defunct Alnwick District Council for permission for the development in 2006. It also wants to build two retail units, office space and parking facilities, and a marina walkway.

As part of the scheme, the Coquet Shorebase Trust, a community based watersports centre, would give up its site on the boat yard.


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Old December 30th, 2010, 11:47 AM   #27
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Ashington to Newcastle railway plan still inching forwards
December 30th 2010, by David Black, The Journal


LONG running plans to restore passenger train services to some of Northumberland’s biggest towns remain on track despite few obvious signs of progress in the past year, it is claimed.

Regular commuter trains between Ashington and Newcastle have been an aspiration for local politicians and rail campaigners for almost 20 years now.

Despite several visits by Government ministers – and a number of feasibility and technical studies – the dream of re-opening the freight-only Ashington Blyth and Tyne line to travellers has yet to come close to reality.

However, county council officials and local rail campaigners have insisted that, despite the lack of any funding being committed to the project, hopes remain high that passenger trains will eventually start rolling again.

Now the second phase of a study into the current potential demand for the service is expected to start in 2011, and be submitted to the Department for Transport for approval.

That will be followed by a second study into the upgrades required for the line to be re-opened, the scope and cost of which has already been agreed with Network Rail. It will be started as soon as DfT approval has been given for the demand stage of the scheme.

Passenger services on the ABT line were axed as part of the Beeching cuts in the 1960s.


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Old December 31st, 2010, 11:08 AM   #28
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Turbine row set for Whitehall decision
December 31st 2010, by David Black, The Journal


A bid to erect nine giant wind turbines in the heart of the Northumberland countryside is set to be formally rejected by county councillors – leaving a final decision in the hands of a Government planning inspector.

Green energy company RES UK has generated widespread opposition to its proposals to build the 127m high turbines at Rayburn Lake, 11km west of Morpeth.

Objections have come in from 120 local people, two neighbouring parish councils, Newcastle Airport, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and Natural England. Now county council officers are recommending that the planning application for the 27-megawatt facility should be rejected.

They say the scheme gives rise to a number of “significant impacts”, which must be weighed against its benefits in helping to hit national and local renewable energy targets.

Planning officers claim RES has not provided sufficient information to enable a full and proper assessment of issues such as the effects on the local landscape and ecology, aviation safety, potential noise nuisance and the cumulative impacts of wind turbines on the area.


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Old January 4th, 2011, 12:29 PM   #29
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Objections mount to homes scheme
January 4th 2011, by Brian Daniel, The Journal


PLANS to build 120 homes beside a Northumberland industrial estate look set to be thrown out amid a wave of objections.

Maden Build and Design’s bid to build 122 houses at Berwick is being recommended for refusal by officers at Northumberland County Council, following objections from a variety of bodies, businesses and residents.

The application from Maden proposes the homes on farmland beside Cornhill Road in Tweedmouth. The site is classed as greenfield and lies between East Ord Industrial Estate and a housing estate off Greenwood. A mature landscaped area separates the site from the industrial estate and it is divided by a footpath.

The development proposes 60 three bedroom semi-detached homes, 40 two bedroom semis and 20 two bedroom bungalows, which would be delivered with Johnnie Johnson Housing as accommodation for the elderly. Twenty two of the other homes would be affordable.

The application attracted objections from 63 residents, Ord Parish Council, the Environment Agency and the county council’s environmental health, footpaths and archaeology teams.


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Old January 4th, 2011, 04:24 PM   #30
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DVD shows life in collieries 100 years ago
January 4th 2011, by Vicky Robson, Evening Chronicle



THESE nostalgic snaps bring back to life the region’s rich industrial past. From bustling shipyards to collieries, a new DVD has been produced to show what life was once like in the North East. The film features rare archive footage dating back more than 100 years and focuses on the legacy of heavy industries which once held sway in South East Northumberland.

The DVD – called Digging Up The Past – was created by the SixTownships Community History Group based in Bedlington.

It concentrates on the various collieries including Ashington, Choppington Low Pit, Dr Pit in Bedlington, Ellington and Lynemouth. The film shows the early day methods of coal extraction when miners would go to work in the most dangerous conditions.

Local historian and SixTownships group secretary John Dawson, who used to be a miner, said: “The underground sound is stunning. The only thing that is missing is the smell.

“That is how close this film brings us to the reality of life as a coal miner in our locality. “We also visit the Acorn Bank opencast in Bedlington, in 1959, and see how the coal was extracted back then. “There is one final look at opencast coal mining when we see ‘Big Geordie’ – one of the biggest drag lines – at work in archive footage from Acklington in the early 1970s.

“This DVD really gives an insight into coal mining in our area as you may never have seen it before, and with the rare footage, it all adds up to a fantastic piece of local history.”


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Old January 5th, 2011, 05:41 PM   #31
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Northumberland food factory shut days after rescue
January 5th 2011, by Brian Daniel, The Journal



A TROUBLED Northumberland factory closed just days after reopening, it was claimed last night.

The Longbenton Foods factory at Amble is said to have been locked up again on Thursday, December 23, four days after reopening following an enforced closure.

There were also claims last night staff were only paid for two weeks’ work for December.


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Old January 7th, 2011, 12:31 PM   #32
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Worry for county's image as A1 full of potholes
January 7th 2011, by David Black, The Journal


DRIVERS are said to be facing “scandalous and deplorable” conditions on crumbling stretches of the main A1 road through Northumberland in the wake of the severe winter weather.

Major potholes have formed and large patches of the road surface have been ripped up, posing increasing dangers to motorists and the risk of damage to vehicles, it is claimed.

The single-carriageway stretch between Felton and Morpeth has been highlighted as the worst area, with one local councillor saying he is ashamed of the image of Northumberland which it is portraying to visitors.

But the condition of other sections of the road – particularly near Alnwick and Belford – have also been branded appalling following the effects of the recent freezing temperatures.

Northumberland County Council is set to urge the Highways Agency to take action over the state of the A1 in the county, where drivers are said to be dodging potholes on their daily journeys to work. Yesterday county councillor Glen Sanderson, whose Chevington and Longhorsley ward takes in the worst-affected part of the road, said: “It is unbelievable at the moment and I have had a lot of complaints about it. For the main carriageway between Scotland and England to be in this sort of condition is little short of scandalous.


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Old January 8th, 2011, 11:48 AM   #33
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Plans for new Berwick homes pulled after protest
January 8th 2011, by Brian Daniel, The Journal


CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 120 homes beside a Northumberland industrial estate have been withdrawn amid a wave of objections.

Maden Build and Design has pulled the plug on its bid to build 122 houses at Berwick, which had been due to go before councillors with a recommendation that it be refused.

The application had attracted more than 60 objections from residents, and opposition from the Environment Agency and two businesses on the East Ord Industrial Estate.

Opponents were alarmed at the building of homes so close to an estate which houses a chemical company and where hazardous substances are used.


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Old January 11th, 2011, 11:24 AM   #34
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Northumberland National Park set to close tourism centres
January 11th 2011, by Tony Henderson, The Journal


TWO award-winning tourism information centres in Northumberland's finest landscapes have been earmarked for closure.

Park bosses have said the cuts represent another blow to efforts to keep Northumberland “on the map”.

Of the park authority’s 80 jobs, 18 will go. This will include four out of the body’s eight management posts, three ranger posts, two farming advisory jobs and others in tourism and marketing.

The monitoring and maintenance of the park’s 1,100 kilometres of rights of way, including two national trails and long-distance routes, will be curtailed with only the best-used routes receiving attention.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has chopped around a third of the park’s income, which means the authority losing £1m each year to 2014-15. This is in addition to a 4.5% cut imposed earlier in this financial year.

The visitor centres at Ingram in the Breamish Valley and Rothbury in Coquetdale have been marked for closure. Both have been past winners of gold awards in the green tourism business scheme for excellence of customer service. Park chief executive Tony Gates said that the closure of Rothbury would leave Coquetdale without a tourist information centre and accommodation booking facility.


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Old January 21st, 2011, 05:17 PM   #35
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Northumberland Markets up for Regeneration
by David Black, The Journal, January 21st 2011


Weekly market in Bedlington

TRADITIONAL street markets are being targeted in a new drive to restore them as key elements of Northumberland’s shopping experience.

Weekly open-air markets are still held in nine of the county’s main towns, but have been suffering since the 1990s from a drop in customers, dwindling numbers of traders and a lack of quality.

Now county council chiefs have drawn up a new strategy aimed at regenerating the events, amid claims some are at risk of becoming unsustainable.

Yesterday market traders representatives welcomed the aims of the strategy and called for a major reduction in stall rental charges as the starting point for making them successful again.

Traditional markets are held in Berwick, Alnwick, Morpeth, Hexham, Haltwhistle, Ponteland, Ashington, Bedlington and Blyth, and various attempts have been made in recent years to arrest their downward spiral.


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Old January 24th, 2011, 10:57 AM   #36
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Villagers get chance to voice opencast mine opposition
by David Black, The Journal, January 24th 2011


VILLAGERS who have been waging a 12-year battle against coal mining plans near their remote community are to be given yet another opportunity to voice their opposition.

Next week county councillors are expected to agree to hold a public meeting and site visit into the proposed opencast mine near Halton Lea Gate in Northumberland.

It will be the third public meeting held since the controversial scheme by HM Project Developments first emerged in early 2008.

A previous bid by the company to dig 140,000 tonnes of coal from the 75-acre site at Halton Lea was rejected by county council planners in December 2009 on two grounds.

Officers said the benefits of the scheme would not be sufficient to outweigh the potential impact on the North Pennines Area Of Outstanding Nature Beauty and an area of attractive upland landscape close to residential properties.


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Old January 25th, 2011, 12:44 PM   #37
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Anger as deal to save Amble factory collapses
by Brian Daniel, The Journal, January 25th 2011


ANGER was voiced in a Northumberland town last night over the collapse of a deal to save its biggest employer.

Administrator Begbies Traynor revealed on Friday it had rescinded its contract with Longbenton Foods after it failed to meet several deadlines to pay money owed for its purchase of the factory.

The company had moved into the site and begun production but was shut down after the administrator was given a High Court injunction when payment failed to materialise.

Last night Amble Town Councillor Ian Hinson hit out at both Longbenton Foods and the administrator for allowing people to believe the sale was to go through when the company appears not to have had enough money to buy the factory.

Coun Hinson said: “It has been an absolute con from beginning to end.

“I resent being taken on a wild goose chase as a councillor, God knows what I would have felt if it had been from a prospective employer


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Old January 29th, 2011, 01:31 PM   #38
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Plans for eco-museum at Flodden battlefield
by Tony Henderson, The Journal, January 29th 2011


Flodden Monument near Branxton, Northumberland

THE North East could be in line for the first eco-museum in England.

The idea is to create an eco-museum based on Flodden battlefield in Northumberland in time for the 500th anniversary in two years’ time of the momentous Anglo-Scots clash.

Described as a museum without walls, it would connect the built, natural and cultural threads that are part of the Flodden story across Northumberland and the Scottish Borders.

There are around 300 eco-museums in the world, of which about 200 are located in Europe, mainly in France, Italy, Spain and Poland.

Initially the eco-museum would link 11 sites, each of which has strong associations with Flodden, the last and bloodiest medieval battle in Northumberland. Suggestions for these sites include: Flodden Field, Norham Castle, Etal Castle, Heatherslaw Corn Mill, Barmoor Castle, Twizell Bridge, Ladykirk Church, Branxton Church, Coldstream Museum, Coldstream Priory, Weetwood Bridge and the Fletcher Monument in Selkirk.


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Old January 31st, 2011, 10:58 AM   #39
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Former Northumberland Foods factory could still be reopened
by Brian Daniel, The Journal, January 31st 2011


A NORTH East food company is still hoping to buy a troubled factory and save scores of jobs, its owner has said.

Geir Frantzen, owner of Longbenton Foods, told The Journal his company still wants to take on the former Northumberland Foods and Cheviot Foods factory at Amble.

His business had agreed a deal to buy the site but that was called off by administrator Begbies Traynor last Friday, after Longbenton Foods missed several deadlines to pay the required funds.


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Old January 31st, 2011, 11:02 AM   #40
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Wooler divided over plan for food store
by Brian Daniel, The Journal, January 31st 2011


CONTROVERSIAL plans for a new food store in a Northumberland town look set to be thrown out.

Silvercoin Investments and Chris White’s proposal for a shop at Wooler goes before a Northumberland County Council planning committee this week, with a recommendation that it be refused.

The development has divided the town, with 250 people signing petitions against it and over 50 adding their names to one in favour.

It is also facing opposition from Northumberland Wildlife Trust and the council’s archaeologist, although a neighbouring parish council has voiced its support.

The scheme proposes a 14,000 square foot food store on the site of the former Ferguson’s Transport premises, and the former Wooler Steam Laundry, on South Road.

It would also see a tourist kiosk built on the site, within Wooler Conservation Area, following demolition of existing buildings.

Jersey company Silvercoin and Berwick-based Chris White have made the full application and a bid for conservation area consent without having a store operator lined up.

The applicants propose to make £20,000 available to the council and partners, to improve links with the town centre.


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