Council services criticised

The public toilet block at Spittal promenade

The public toilet block at Spittal promenade

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Urgent talks are being sought with senior council officers to discuss concerns about the declining standard of services in Berwick.

Poor grasscutting and the condition of public toilets have been among the hot topics for local residents on social media forums recently.

The issues were raised again at Berwick Town Council’s meeting on Monday night.

As a result, the council is to push for a public meeting which officers from Northumberland County Council would be invited to.

They also want to hold a site visit beforehand to some of the problem areas.

Councillor Ivor Dixon said: “A lot of councillors and local residents are unhappy with the standard of service being received from the county council, especially when it comes to grasscutting and public toilets.

“I think the time has come when we need to have a public meeting to discuss these things.

“If the county council have money problems then let them tell the public. We get it in the neck all the time when it’s the county council’s responsibility.”

The county council has identified nine ‘strategic’ public toilets for a £200,000 investment this summer but Berwick is not included.

Councillor Gavin Jones said: “It’s a matter the Lib Dems are going to raise with the administration at the next county council meeting.

“Tourism is such a strategic part of the county’s economy and I think the administration is starting to acknowledge that it is key to the future. Other councils are withdrawing their public toilet service because it’s a non-statutory duty. Northumberland has not done that and I hope we’ll see further investment than the £200,000 that’s gone into nine toilets.

“If the county council don’t play the game we are going to have to ask the town council to take them on.”

Residents were also urged to lodge any complaints via the county council’s website.

Coun Jones said: “The county council has to make £130m budget cuts so it can quite easily dismiss the concerns of one whinging councillor, but if 300 local residents lodge complaints then it can have an impact.”

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