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If parking fees are reduced, why not permits?

I WOULD like to thank the Advertiser for highlighting the outrageous decision by NCC to increase concessionary annual car parking permit by 42%, planned for next year.

For three years I have been, quite contentedly, paying my £82.50 for a year’s free car parking in Berwick. I knew about the shoppers permit, but had not considered it deeply due to my satisfaction with the ‘Pensioners’ annual permit.

Last week’s bombshell by the NCC has, however, made me reconsider looking into the shoppers permit where I can park free in Berwick from 9am to 11am and 3pm to 6pm Monday-Saturday with free parking all day Sundays and Bank Holidays - all for £15 a year!

Also published in this week’s Advertiser is a Public Notice by NCC regarding a further decrease in Parking Fees from January 1, 2013. For example, two hour’s parking in Castlegate Car Park at present costs £1.80 - after this month it will cost only £1. It makes no financial sense to me, with my car park usage, to pay £117 per annum when I can get cheaper car parking paying ‘as I go’, and, from a pensioners point of view, there is no large lump sum outlay!

My view is that if parking fees are being drastically reduced why aren’t the permit fees correspondingly reduced - not increased? If it is to compensate for lost revenue why not consider making Blyth and Wansbeck toe the line, instead of free-loading on the rest of Northumberland (and who pays for the upkeep of car parks in Blyth and Ashington?)

I am pleased Coun Douglas commented in this week’s article, but what about Coun Hunter, who promised to get back to me on November 30th, but hasn’t? And Coun Smith, who after all, is actually chairman of the county council.



Old Bridge neglect is act of deliberate vandalism

Mr Hargreave’s letter (Advertiser December 6) concerning Berwick’s Old Bridge has highlighted an appalling act of deliberate vandalism by neglect.

Sadly, sitting merrily on its local government dictatorial throne in its modern English palace almost 50 miles from Berwick in Morpeth, Northumberland County Council and its friend English Heritage, in its head officer 340 miles away in London, seem not to realise, or not want to realise, that Berwick’s Old Bridge - built between 1610 and 1624 on the orders of King James VI of Scotland/I of England (and Ireland) - is one of Britain’s unique treasures. Indeed it comes amongst the top of the list of Britain’s unique treasures for not only is it an excellent example of bridge engineering but also its creator was the Scotsman whose existence brought about the Union of the Scottish and English (and Irish) Crowns. Hence Berwick’s Old Bridge, designed to permanently link together James’s two sovereign nations of Scotland and England, has a greater significance within British History than any other bridge within Britain.

Now, it costs money to maintain something, and in the words of local government and quangos, other than directly out of the pockets of taxpayers, one rarely receives money for maintaining something unless that maintenance involves major works on which event there is usually some manipulative means of obtaining a grant.

One suspects the intention is to deliberately neglect the Old Bridge until deterioration has reached such a stage that a grant to undertake major works can be obtained, in which case doubtless the bridge will have to be closed. Bridge Street, Bridge End, West Street etc will, in consequence, become chaotic and the town will suffer traffic snarl-ups which, coupled with the farcical narrowing of the New Bridge which the County Council forced upon Berwick some years ago, will make life hell for many of Berwick’s citizens and will doubtless cause many tourists not to take the risk of coming into Berwick thereby causing the commercial areas of the town to have to suffer further decline.

And all because, rather than fulfil their legal and moral duties to regularly expend small sums of money maintaining this unique piece of Scottish-English history, the county council and English Heritage have it seems deliberately caused decline, rot, and decay to be suffered by the bridge until it is felt that a sufficient enough excuse has been created to go, cap in hand, to the taxpayers of the European Union and demand that matters be put right by means of a grant.

Our local county councillors - and, indeed, our town councillors - should walk in single file slowly along one of the footpaths of this unique pice of British history, whilst all the time being made to have a good close look at what has been allowed/encouraged to happen - and then they should hold their heads in shame.


Bridge Street


David Rollo

HAVING read the sad news of the death of David Rollo, revered vet of Berwick for many years, I felt I had to write and set the record straight on two points concerning his career and history.

Firstly, Kay the present Mrs Rollo only became his wife sometime after 1996. Before that, for seventeen years he was married to Barbara who came up with him from Hertfordshire. Barbara gave the best years of her life helping him build up his practice.

Secondly, the article states that David ran his veterinary practice single-handedly.

This was the case eventually but to begin with he was in partnership with the vet Miss Sutherland until she retired.

I hope this letter will redress this and would be interested to hear from anyone else who remembers Barbara and her work for the practice which would help to put the record straight.



Berwickers don’t realise how good they’ve got it

IN response to Ray Hargreave’s letter ‘Twenty five years on and still the same old problems’ - it should read 25 years on and Berwickers still whinging about nonexistent problems.

As for forgotten town, I’d like some explanation for this statement, since Berwick has much better facilities than any other market town close by, such as a main line station, arts centre, leisure centre, pubs, and cafes, festivals and supermarkets. As for parking, if Berwickers lived in a town that really did have parking problems, they’d realise how easy it is in Berwick. There are nine car parks on the Berwick side of the river and numerous spaces on the streets. It seems to me that Berwickers don’t want to walk more than 20 yards. Berwick does not have a parking problem.

These problems exist in the minds of Berwickers because there is nothing of real importance to complain about in such a nice rural town.

If Berwickers tried living in a town or city in the overcrowded midlands or south they’d realise how well off they are, with a far better quality of life.



NHS should change dates of maternity meetings

I WISH to comment on the arrangements of the Berwick consultation and the NHS North of Tyne board meeting scheduled for March 26.

1. The people of Berwick would welcome a public meeting held by the Board of North of Tyne in Berwick upon Tweed and I am offering the opportunity for the general public to have an open, transparent and accountable discussion on all items on the agenda for scrutiny, in an area that the board has played little or a token representation before its demise and the hand over of the majority of service provision to the untested CCG.

2. I would draw your attention to the proposed meetings scheduled for Wednesday, January 30 at 1.30pm. Whilst there is never a good time to hold public meetings, it should be recognised that a Wednesday is rather regarded locally as a very quiet day when the public, particularly at this time of the year when stress levels have been exhausted and likewise the amount of money in their pockets may contribute to a degree of apathy.

I would suggest that the meeting be changed to an evening event for maximum participation and reconsideration of the chosen days.

It will be my intention to submit comments at a later date when having consulted with local people and women in particular.


Berwick North

Over £20,000 raised in the area for poppy appeal

ON behalf of the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal I would like to thank everyone concerned in raising approximately £21,256 for this year’s appeal. Everyone seems to have taken the appeal to their hearts this year as they did last.

The house to house collectors have done a sterling job, nearly every box being up on last year. The shops, bars, hospitals, nursing homes and businesses are always happy to take the boxes for their counters and front desks and although some say there is not very much in their collecting can it all adds up to make the final total, so a big ‘thank you’ to them.

I am also very grateful to the young people of the ACF and the ATC and their leaders for all the help and collecting they have done this year.

On a personal note I would like to thank very much Tessa Murray and W G Benton for organising the supermarket collections and arranging rotas for all their very willing helpers. Joyce Ross and Ian Smith help tremendously in this busy fortnight as does Ian Alsop and Ian Ross who do a lot of running about for me so thank you to all of them. English Heritage and Clare are a great support allowing me to store the boxes and stock in the Barracks as are Barclays Bank allowing their premises to be a drop off point for the returning collecting cans. Capt Kerry Noble must also be thanked for his help to me in the Belford collection.

All of this help is truly appreciated because it makes my organising of the appeal run smoothly. This wonderful amount has been raised by the generous donations from the general public so the biggest thank you, is to everyone who gave.


Poppy Appeal Organiser

Thanks and goodbye from Dickensian Market team

AS the retiring committee of Berwick Events Group we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us over the past years.

The event itself has been a continuous learning curve and mistakes have been made along the way, but we have managed to overcome most of them.

We would like to think we have brought not only a special family day to the town but also some much needed revenue to local traders and market stallholders. As a group we have met and became friends with many traders and car-booters (without their support the event we would need even more funding) and we will all miss this friendship.

Our thanks go to all the local sponsors who are too many to list individually, and we would hate to miss anyone out. But special thanks to those who are there on the day including Brian Martin from PFL who organises the stage/sound system and lighting for all the stalls, Martin and Derrick Slater/slatersshowtime@hotmail.co.uk who turn up with our funfair and battle all weather to get here from various locations, Matthew Scott who organises all our street entertainment, all our stage entertainers who give up their time free of charge and John Thompson, our compere and stage entertainment organiser who holds it all together on the day, Val and Alan Knowles, Naomi Kenny who organise our costume characters but who also work relentlessly throughout the year to help with the organisation of this now well established event, Jo Bell for all her help and Rab McMillan for his constant support over the years (who has on occasions been forgotten about while manning barriers and trying to organise the stalls leaving) we are eternally grateful! Julie McFarlane for giving up her time to help us out, Andy for helping manning the barriers, all of our regular period dressed characters and raffle sellers who help bring a special atmosphere to the day, and of course a very special thank you to Santa who has taken time out of his extremely busy schedule to come and visit every year.

It remains for us to wish everyone organising future events the best of luck and all who attended our Dickensian Markets in the past, locals or visitors a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year.



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