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Old October 6th, 2010, 11:05 AM   #21
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Hexham not in favour of Northumberland
County Councils markets plans

October 6th 2010, by Paul Tully, The Journal


PLANS to improve markets in Northumberland have been dismissed as “stupid” and “rubbishy” by civic leaders in Hexham.

Last week Northumberland County Council released a report outlining plans to improve a number of markets in the county, including Hexham. The report was drawn up because of concerns that some markets in Northumberland had been in decline in recent years.

But town councillors in Hexham – which has a market dating back to the 13th century – have rejected the offer of help and say they want to take over their own market from the county.

Hexham’s deputy town council chairman Rad Hare said: “Let’s stop these long, stupid, rubbish strategy reports.

“We feel we have a more independent market, should get on with our own business – and do it better than anybody else.”

Hexham is wary of this new intervention, and Coun Ingrid Whale declared: “If we try to regulate things too much, we might achieve failure rather than success.”

Hexham Market, first granted a Charter by King Henry III in 1239 and run ever since in the shadow of the famous Abbey, was at a low ebb around the turn of the century but has revived considerably since.

There are 16 regular traders and in 2005 Country Life magazine voted Hexham England’s favourite market town – a move which brought a massive boost.

Now a recently-introduced monthly farmers’ market has also become a major success.

Coun Matty Donnelly added: “We could talk until we’re blue in the face but I believe strongly we should go to the stallholders – the people that earn their living every day.”

Hexham Town Mayor Coun Terry Robson said: “This is not good business practice. It is business strategy, not market strategy. I have to say I am not over-excited and over-enthusiastic about this report.

“Hexham is unique – what have we got in common with Blyth Market, for example? There is talk of partnerships, but we already have our own partnership with the Hexham Community Partnership – how many partnerships do we need? I think they have lost the plot on that one.”


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Old October 8th, 2010, 11:09 AM   #22
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Library to be ‘jewel in town’s crown’
October 8th 2010, by Paul Tully, The Journal


A new £1.9m library will be built in the heart of a Northumberland town, after loans and grant funding was secured.

The Prudhoe Library is being hailed as a jewel in the crown, by the town’s Community Partnership, which has been handed the job of seeing the project through from start to finish.

Northumberland County Council has given Prudhoe Community Partnership responsibility – and a 150-year lease – for the development which will replace the old library in Front Street.

The county has made a £100,000 contribution, while a £1.8m investment has come from the Community builders social business fund. Prudhoe Town Council is contributing £15,000.

The old library will be demolished early next year and the new three-storey building is expected to open in the summer of 2012.

It will contain a ground-floor library plus office space on the first and second floors, first-floor meeting rooms plus an art gallery and cafe.

Yvonne Probert, PCP project manager, said last night: “It’s fantastic - our jewel in the crown. It’s what Prudhoe needs. It is a massive opportunity to have a one-stop shop for all services. It is the kind of service a town of 12,500 population should have.”

Mrs Probert added: “It would have cost £1.6m to refurbish the old two-storey building, so it made sense to pay £1.9m for a brand new three-storey building.”


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Old October 9th, 2010, 10:18 AM   #23
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Hexham Property Sale can boost Northumberland
County Council finances

October 9th 2010, by Paul Tully, The Journal


A MAYOR has backed the sale of four prime council properties in a Northumberland town as part of new cost-cutting measures.

Northumberland County Council, which has to find £30m worth of savings this year, has put Prospect House, Hexham House, the old Grammar School and the former Swimming Pool – all in Hexham – on the open market.

As well as raising an estimated £4m, the sales would save running costs of around £150,000 a year.

New businesses are likely to move in and Mayor Terry Robson, who chairs the town council and represents Hexham Central on the county council, said: “I do think this is a good move. They have to sell, then see what the market offers, and this will stimulate business in the area.

“It is pointless hanging on to property waiting for a price they will not achieve. Far better to sell it at the market price, realise assets, and provide capital that can be invested into other things.

“In fact, the county council is awash with surplus buildings which they need to turn into capital.”

The four Hexham properties formerly belonged to Tynedale District Council.

The Grade II-listed Old Grammar School houses Tynedale’s Planning Department while Prospect House, also Grade II-listed, provides the meeting chamber for both town and county councils.

The Old Swimming Pool is less used since the building of a new pool at Wentworth, and Hexham House has no current main use.

The county council will retain Hadrian House and offices at Tyne Mills, where council and committee meetings are likely to be held. The town council may transfer to the National Parks Room at Eastgate. The county’s executive member for corporate resources, Coun Andrew Tebbutt, said: “The authority is facing unprecedented challenges. It will have to make an estimated £30m efficiency savings over the coming financial year, following on the back of £50m savings over the previous two years.


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Old October 12th, 2010, 10:49 AM   #24
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Anger as four Hexham buildings put up for sale
October 12th 2010, The Journal


THE sale of four historic council-owned buildings in a Northumberland town has been condemned as “sacrificing heritage and selling the crown jewels”.

Matty Donnelly, a long-serving town councillor in Hexham, said the proposed sale of Prospect House, Hexham House, the Old Grammar School and the former swimming pool building was a betrayal of the town’s history. Northumberland County Council has decided to put the quartet of buildings on the open market and invite offers.

The sale is expected to raise over £4m as the authority attempts to find £30m worth of savings – and the move has already won the backing of Hexham Mayor Coun Terry Robson. But Coun Donnelly, a 64-year-old lifelong resident of Hexham, declared: “I was absolutely aghast when I heard that these wonderful properties were coming on to the market. I think it’s truly shocking, I really do.

“They should have been retained for the people of Hexham and I think the authority could have made inroads into getting grants to maintain them.

“It’s part of the town’s heritage that is being sacrificed and I’m sure now that the sale will go through.

“I have got our MP, Guy Opperman, involved and we looked to see if there was a clause by which we might be able to retain them, but sadly there wasn’t. I fully understand they need the money for various projects, but I believe what could have been done or suggested was using some of the £20-odd million that the old Tynedale Council put into their coffers to avoid this.”

Coun Andrew Tebbutt, Northumberland executive member for corporate resources, said: “The merger of seven councils into one unitary council in Northumberland has enabled us to streamline services, rationalise the number of buildings we currently own, generate large-scale efficiencies and look to find new and better ways of working.

“We are facing unprecedented challenges and it makes no sense to retain buildings we no longer need.”


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Old October 13th, 2010, 05:43 PM   #25
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Further to the previous two posts . . .


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Old October 15th, 2010, 11:01 AM   #26
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Hexham residents aim to block new flats scheme
October 14th 2010, by Paul Tully, The Journal



A NEW apartment block planned for a historic market town has brought major protests from people living next to the site.

Twenty-six written objections and a 91-name petition have been lodged in opposition to an 11-apartment scheme at Shaftoe Crescent in Hexham’s conservation area.

But planning officers are recommending that permission is granted, sparking protests in the town.

Protesters will descend on next Wednesday’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s west area planning committee in a last-minute bid to have the plans scrapped.

It is claimed the four-storey apartment block would be out of character with the nearby Georgian and Victorian terraces.

The disused 80-year-old West End Garage currently stands on the site and although the former Tynedale District Council granted permission for the apartments in March 2007 the work was never started and in March this year the three-year time limit expired.

Now an extension to the limit is being sought by applicant Mike Pattison, and nearby residents are preparing for the second round of their battle. Resident Ian Breach said: “It is a progressive encroachment of urban development and this will be incongruous and out of character.


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Old October 23rd, 2010, 10:32 AM   #27
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Further to . . .

Controversial Hexham apartments get go-ahead
October 23rd 2010, by Paul Tully, The Journal


A CONTROVERSIAL development in a town conservation area has been given the go-ahead by planners.

The 11-apartment block at Shaftoe Crescent in Hexham raised a storm of protest from local residents who claimed it would crowd the streets and bring extra traffic problems.

But Northumberland County Council’s West Area Planning Committee approved the scheme despite the objections.

The original application was granted in March 2007 but nothing was done before the three-year grant period expired in March this year.

Since then, national housing policy has changed, removing minimum density requirements and excluding residential gardens from brownfield land definitions.

Resident Ian Sotheran told the committee: “Planning policy has changed significantly and I argue that this design does not now meet the criteria. This will set a precedent if it is passed.”


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Old October 29th, 2010, 11:57 AM   #28
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Prudhoe residents fume over plan’s revival
October 29th 2010 by Paul Tully, The Journal



OBJECTORS are gearing up for a repeat battle against the Duke of Northumberland’s controversial plans for Prudhoe town centre.

The duke’s Northumberland Estates is ready to re-submit exactly the same £30m development scheme that was thrown out on a legal technicality by a High Court judge in March.

The plans were scuppered because an environmental impact study had not been carried out, despite it being a legal requirement.

The study has now been completed and Northumberland Estates head of planning Colin Barnes confirmed the application would be re-submitted in identical form to the planners at the county council.

“We have had a public exhibition and the plans haven’t changed,” said Mr Barnes. “They will be submitted to the council sometime next month.”

The news brought an immediate response from campaigners who thought they had left the plans in ruins when High Court judge Mark Pelling, sitting in Manchester, threw them out seven months ago.

Battle lines are being redrawn and the Take Pride In Prudhoe action group, which was set up specifically to lead the protests, is ready to launch protests.

Spokesman John Robson, of Tyne View Terrace, Prudhoe, said: “They have an arrogant attitude that everything’s done and it’s going to sail through.

“But we have staying power and we are ready to do it all over again. What we really want to do now is bring this firmly into the public arena.

“The public exhibition was in and out in one day last Friday, but we need the plans to be on view for longer periods for people to see.”


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Old October 30th, 2010, 01:03 PM   #29
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Subsidies will kill us, says Hexhams Egger plant chief
October 30th 2010, by Paul Tully, The Journal



THE boss of one of Northumberland’s biggest businesses warned of a “potential crisis” in its industry yesterday – due to government subsidies for ‘green energy’ firms.

Bob Livesey, joint managing director at the Hexham-based Egger UK, believes the wood panel industry is under threat from the bio-energy sector, which enjoys significant government support.

Concerns have been raised for the 1,500 jobs associated with the plant because it says it is being priced out of the market by government-subsidised electricity generators.

And while Mr Livesey dismissed suggestions that jobs were at risk, he declared: “From an industry point of view, the crisis is real unless we can get the Government to change its policy in the next 12 to 18 months.

“We have tried to keep away from sensationalism about it and go through proper political channels – but we have to make sure that the Government sees sense.”


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Old November 12th, 2010, 10:29 AM   #30
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Hexham hotel to keep saint's name in its title
November 12th 2010, by Paul Tully, The Journal



A 400 year old religious order, which ran a care centre in the Tyne Valley has had its prayers answered – by a hotel developer.

The Lay Camillian Family, which has its roots in 16th-Century Italy, ran St Camillus House in Oakwood, near Hexham, for more than half a century. It last operated as the Cancer Bridge treatment centre, which closed in 2001, since when the building has stood vacant.

Now plans have been put forward to reopen St Camillus House as a 17-bedroom hotel – with the name of Camillus preserved in its title.

The man behind the hotel plans, Tyneside developer Ben Houghton, said: “I definitely intend to keep the name of Camillus in the hotel title. It is a name well-known in the history of the area and it is right that it should be kept.”

Sunderland architect Mario Minchella, who drew up the plans, added: “It is a very eloquent landmark name and I am sure it would happen.”

Local residents have asked for assurances on traffic access and noise but Northumberland County Council’s west area planning committee, which meets in Hexham next week, is being recommended to give the hotel plans the green light.


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Old November 19th, 2010, 11:01 AM   #31
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Hexham solar scheme given the chance to shine
November 19th 2010, by Paul Tully, The Journal


PLANNERS have agreed to visit the proposed site for a huge solar energy development after being told that it has the potential to map the country’s low-carbon future.

Farm owner Christopher Porter wants to install 18 solar panels in a field adjacent to his remote farmhouse at Steel, near Whitley Chapel in Hexhamshire.

The farm stands in Green Belt land and Northumberland county planning officers say the plans should be rejected to protect the area from “inappropriate development”. But the council’s area west planning committee has now put a decision on hold so that members can visit Mire House Farm to see for themselves whether the 19-inch-high panels should get the green light.

Coun Colin Horncastle, who represents the South Tynedale ward which includes Steel, said: “This is a brand new technology and the first I know of in this area.

“We are moving so fast. We are in a modern age now where everybody is told every day by energy companies, Governments and individual organisations that we must do something to preserve the planet and produce green energy.

“This application is the first of many that will be coming. At the moment there is nothing in our local plan that can handle it, but in two years’ time we will have the policies to handle it.”


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Old January 4th, 2011, 11:17 AM   #32
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Luxury golf complex at Close House Hotel, comes a step closer
January 4th 2011, by Tom Mullen, The Journal



MULTI-MILLION pound plans to transform an 18th century mansion into a luxury golf and leisure facility for the North East are a step closer to becoming reality.

Businessman Graham Wylie has announced he will be closing his 400-acre Close House Hotel complex this month while major works to redevelop the venue are stepped up.

Software entrepreneur Mr Wylie bought the Georgian building in Wylam, Northumberland, from Newcastle University in 2004, and has since upgraded it to offer a restaurant and 19 rooms.

His vision is to transform the mansion, which already includes a golf academy, into a multi-million pound spa and leisure complex of the same quality as the famed Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland.

The venue will this month close as a £750,000 refurbishment of the public areas of the house gets under way alongside the installation of a new telephone and computer system. It is part of a carefully crafted plan by Mr Wylie and his team leading to the opening of a second golf course and state-of-the-art clubhouse this summer.

Further investment of £1m was also revealed last night for conversion of the stable block, taking the total number of bedrooms to 31.

Director Alan Graham, who was born in Prudhoe, Northumberland and is a long-time business partner of Mr Wylie, said: “If you look at the economy at the moment this could be seen as a bit of a bold step in the current climate.

“But this is something that we hope will bring many people to the North East and it’s part of our wider vision to do something really special here.

“We took the decision to shut the hotel during January to ensure that the hotel is in line with the rest of the venue.


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Old January 8th, 2011, 10:50 AM   #33
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Hexham road ‘too dangerous to use’
January 8th 2011, by Paul Tully, The Journal



HIGHWAYS chiefs are being asked to introduce a road closure safety system on a town centre street following a series of near-miss incidents in icy conditions.

A number of accidents on Hallstile Bank in Hexham both this winter and last culminated in a car skidding into a house wall on ice last month and only missing a woman pedestrian by inches.

The busy one-way single-track bank, leading north from Hexham’s central Market Place to a main exit road, is a popular “rat run” used by hundreds of cars and pedestrians a day.

But now people living on the historic bank are banding together to ask county road bosses to impose advance closures when winter weather is forecast – even though it could cause traffic congestion elsewhere in Hexham. Kevin Doonan, an estate agent on Hallstile Bank, said: “We have had a few near-misses and to be honest this is a really serious accident just waiting to happen.

“It came to a peak in December when a car lost control where the road bends and went straight on into the wall, missing a lady literally by a second or two.


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Old January 13th, 2011, 08:49 PM   #34
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Historic Robbs of Hexham

Hi NH, you seem to be a national (or at least local) treasure on this site and wondered if you had any material on Robbs of Hexham in the past - pictures, articles, plans?

As a lifelong Hexhamite Robbs has always played a major part in my life, I wrote about the near miss closures on other sites, and have always tinkered with the idea of writing a book about the store and its evolution.

One thing I remember about the store in its current Fore Street / Priestpopple location was the lovely sweeping staircases when you arrived at the Priestpopple entrance. When Joplings took over and started changing things in 1989 these went and were replaced by one scabby little staircase to the left. There has also been a lot of changes, for one site over such a relatively short space of time, in departments, shopfloor space and extensions.

Any info or referrals would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,

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Old January 13th, 2011, 09:52 PM   #35
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I lived in Hexham off and on (long story!) as I was growing up. My parents both worked for long periods at the nearby 'Royal Hotel' and I was often left with the owners nanny (the owner was called Capt. Gardner) before I started school at the Sele infants school. With my parents, I was often in Robbs, as we walked past it everyday to get to the Royal Hotel.

I got to know Robbs well (again) from the 1980s, after my parents retired and lived nearby again (at Stagshaw).

Over many years I have accumulated large amounts of information on developments in, and the history of, the City of Newcastle, but that situation has not (in the way that I sometimes wish it had) extended to Hexham. I know the place well (as an occasional resident and frequent visitor) but I do not consider that I have any substantial knowledge about it.

Consequently, I have very few resources to call upon to attempt to answer your query, though I will search my records to see what I can find.

Best of luck in your research.
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Old January 18th, 2011, 10:29 AM   #36
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Deadline day for buying Hexham properties looms
by Paul Tully, The Journal, January 18th 2011


SIGNIFICANT interest has been shown in four crown jewel properties in a Northumberland town as the deadline looms for bids.

The fate of the quartet of prestige county council-owned buildings in Hexham will be decided after final offers are made at midday on Friday, January 28.

Prospect House, Hexham House, The Old Grammar School and the Old Swimming Pool are all on the market as Northumberland County Council looks to make big budget savings.

The decision last autumn to sell the four historic properties – estimated to be worth a combined £4m – caused a storm and watchdogs are trying to ensure that any buyers and their future plans are carefully vetted.

Because the sale will be by formal tender, all bids must remain anonymous until deadline day.

Andrew Toes, of estate agent Rook Matthews Sayer, said: “In sale by formal tender, bids are placed anonymously in sealed envelopes and are opened on the nominated day.

“We are now reminding people that the deadline is not far away – the closing date is January 28 at midday.”


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Old January 29th, 2011, 12:22 PM   #37
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11 secret bids in for prestige Hexham buildings
by Paul Tully, The Journal, January 29th 2011



A TOTAL of 11 secret offers have been made for Hexham’s “Crown Jewel” buildings – but the secrets will not be revealed until Monday.

The Northumberland County Council-owned Prospect House, Hexham House, Old Grammar School and Old Swimming Baths, estimated to be worth around £4m in all, are up for sale as the authority tries to raise much-needed money during the financial crunch.

They are on the market through a rare formal tender process – whereby bids are lodged anonymously in sealed envelopes.

Noon yesterday in the offices of estate agents Rook Matthews Sayer was the bids deadline – but now officials are waiting until Monday to consider the offers. Coun Roger Styring, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, said yesterday: “There are 11 envelopes for the four properties which we will now not be opening until Monday.

“Until then, we do not know what the offers consist of.


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Old January 31st, 2011, 03:49 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Newcastle Historian View Post
Hexham not in favour of Northumberland
County Councils markets plans

October 6th 2010, by Paul Tully, The Journal


PLANS to improve markets in Northumberland have been dismissed as “stupid” and “rubbishy” by civic leaders in Hexham.

Last week Northumberland County Council released a report outlining plans to improve a number of markets in the county, including Hexham. The report was drawn up because of concerns that some markets in Northumberland had been in decline in recent years.

But town councillors in Hexham – which has a market dating back to the 13th century – have rejected the offer of help and say they want to take over their own market from the county.

Hexham’s deputy town council chairman Rad Hare said: “Let’s stop these long, stupid, rubbish strategy reports.

“We feel we have a more independent market, should get on with our own business – and do it better than anybody else.”

Hexham is wary of this new intervention, and Coun Ingrid Whale declared: “If we try to regulate things too much, we might achieve failure rather than success.”

Hexham Market, first granted a Charter by King Henry III in 1239 and run ever since in the shadow of the famous Abbey, was at a low ebb around the turn of the century but has revived considerably since.

There are 16 regular traders and in 2005 Country Life magazine voted Hexham England’s favourite market town – a move which brought a massive boost.

Now a recently-introduced monthly farmers’ market has also become a major success.

Coun Matty Donnelly added: “We could talk until we’re blue in the face but I believe strongly we should go to the stallholders – the people that earn their living every day.”

Hexham Town Mayor Coun Terry Robson said: “This is not good business practice. It is business strategy, not market strategy. I have to say I am not over-excited and over-enthusiastic about this report.

“Hexham is unique – what have we got in common with Blyth Market, for example? There is talk of partnerships, but we already have our own partnership with the Hexham Community Partnership – how many partnerships do we need? I think they have lost the plot on that one.”


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Two things :-

I can't possibly see what they could do to improve the market structurally the only thing they could do to help would be to think of initiatives to get more traders and/or perhaps new traders.

What kind of name is Rad Hare? Sounds like someone from Ashington describing a ginger!

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Old January 31st, 2011, 03:53 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Newcastle Historian View Post
11 secret bids in for prestige Hexham buildings
by Paul Tully, The Journal, January 29th 2011



A TOTAL of 11 secret offers have been made for Hexham’s “Crown Jewel” buildings – but the secrets will not be revealed until Monday.

The Northumberland County Council-owned Prospect House, Hexham House, Old Grammar School and Old Swimming Baths, estimated to be worth around £4m in all, are up for sale as the authority tries to raise much-needed money during the financial crunch.

They are on the market through a rare formal tender process – whereby bids are lodged anonymously in sealed envelopes.

Noon yesterday in the offices of estate agents Rook Matthews Sayer was the bids deadline – but now officials are waiting until Monday to consider the offers. Coun Roger Styring, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, said yesterday: “There are 11 envelopes for the four properties which we will now not be opening until Monday.

“Until then, we do not know what the offers consist of.


Read More - http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-e...#ixzz1CQF9NfML

According to a similar report in the olde worlde dieting Hexham Courant (it gets thinner every week!) a councillor was overheard during a bit of skysports type banter saying that they'd actually received no interest whatsoever in these sites.

Don't know which one of these tales is true. I'm particularly worried about the fate of the Grammar School and Hexham House.

Btw at the end of last week there were a few trees felled at the back of the old Hexham Swimming Pool, just to the side where a path goes down to Haugh Lane. Not sure if this is a sign that development may be starting there?

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Old February 3rd, 2011, 12:00 PM   #40
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Egger fears to be taken up with Government
by Brian Daniel, The Journal, February 3rd 2011



FEARS over the future of one of Northumberland’s biggest employers are to be taken up with the Government.

Bosses at Hexham-based wood supplier Egger UK have previously voiced fears that the industry it operates in is being threatened by Government-subsidised biomass companies.

Concerns have been raised for the 500 jobs at the plant and a further 1,000 associated posts, with Egger having to compete for wood supplies against subsidised firms which can pay more.

Bosses say the wood processing industry is in crisis and that urgent action is needed to get the Government to change its policy in 12 to 18 months.


Read More - http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-e...#ixzz1CtNyjfnR
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