Berwick Town Council round-up: Hospital frustrations; financial-management concerns; Remembrance service
A clearly emotional Cllr Ivor Dixon used his Town Mayor's announcements to criticise the fact that Berwick residents have to travel to hospitals at Cramlington and Ashington (Wansbeck).
Referring to personal experience, he said: “I have had absolute hell, driving up and down that road. We need a hospital here.”
○ This year’s Civic Service of Remembrance will take place at St Andrew’s Wallace Green and Lowick Church of Scotland at 9.45 am on Sunday, November 13.
The service, during which the Town Mayor, Cllr Ivor Dixon, will lay a wreath, will be conducted by Rev Dr Adam Hood and Rev Dennis Handley. Stuart Birkett, Deputy Lieutenant, will represent the Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland.
At the close of the service, the civic party, clergy, service units, Royal British Legion (RBL) and other organisations will proceed to the War Memorial in Castlegate for the RBL Service of Remembrance, which will begin at 10.55am.
Following the two-minute silence at 11am, local organisations will lay wreaths at the War Memorial, before the civic party and clergy, followed by the parade, move down Castlegate and Marygate to the Town Hall, where the Mayor will take the salute on the Town Hall steps.
The Mayor will also attend services and lay wreaths at Tweedmouth War Memorial at 12.15pm and Spittal War Memorial at 12.45 pm.
The civic party will also attend a 6pm evening service at Berwick Parish Church.
○ Members still have a series of concerns about the town council’s financial management as the authority approved its budget process and forward planning.
Receiving the quarterly review and reserves figures, Cllr Eric Goodyer said: “I don’t think our accounting practices are fit-for-purpose. It’s very opaque.
“We need a management accountant coming in to produce readable accounts so we can see where we are.”
Referring to the Warren report, Cllr Hazel Bettison added: “We need to get the up-to-date accounting system.”
Coun Karin Graham said: “We are all in favour, there’s no one blocking us so we need to get on with it, with caution.”
Councillors also approved a process to enable the clerk and officers to draw up the best possible budget and medium-term financial plan and to begin receiving a forward plan at its meeting to manage the agenda better.
But while there was agreement on these items, a discussion on tendering led to a heated debate about the situation in relation to two play parks.