Better uses for the site

I was elected a Berwick town centre councillor in May 2015 with over 50 per cent of the vote, beating a former Conservative Mayor and a former Lib Dem county councillor and parliamentary party candidate in the process.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 13 February, 2016, 08:00

I have never been involved in politics before.

I was elected on a ‘fight against offices on Kwiksave site’ ticket.

I was the founding member of the movement to stop the madness.

I raised over 1,000 signatures within five weeks, and obtained signatures from 106 town centre retail businesses, including 15 national chains that did not want offices built in the town and preferred a coach park to bring more tourists into town.

My campaign was supported by the local tourist guide, D. Sharman MBE, a single Lib Dem county councillor, our MP, and eventually the Chamber of Trade and Berwick Town Council.

Businesses on the new Ramparts Business Park, where empty offices are offered by GVA, responded in a survey that they wanted Northumberland County Council and GWA, a local firm of accountants, to move into the park to regenerate it.

Three months before Arch announced its intention to build offices on the former Kwiksave site, the local Labour Party parliamentary candidate declared the Kwiksave site an ideal coach park and stated that he would approach Arch about the matter (he hadn’t heard about offices being built either).

Everyone had a better idea about a better use of the site that would properly benefit the community.

My idea, and the most commonly viewed idea, was to create a small play and leisure park for shoppers, a public convenience, visitors’ reception and coach park.

I have been petitioning the county council for a coach park since 2010 and the craziest list of reasons why site after site could not be used is available for you to view if you wish.

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The county council seems to prefer coaches to stop outside the town at Morrisons and McDonalds. We have no coach park. It is scandalous.

If you truly wish to know how I believe Nothumberland County Council is destroying the town centre economy, look also at its proposal to remove our Tourist Information Centre from the high street – an office that makes money and was visited by HM the Queen in 2002 – and its plans to abandon council offices that have been used as such for over 50 years and are perfectly acceptable after an economical renovation.

Incidentally, I am apolitical and quite frankly despise all our political parties in the current climate.

I have become increasingly bitter and disillusioned at the manner in which Northumberland County Council behaves against the wishes of the working class people of this town.

Our town needs your help.

Spend less and achieve more by giving our working class people what they want and what they need.

David Blackburn

High Greens