Councillor's anger at '˜smear' tactics

A Berwick councillor has accused political opponents of trying to smear his name for cheap, political gain.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 25 February, 2016, 13:53
Resurfaced footpath on Castle Terrace

Lib Dem councillor Gavin Jones was responding to criticism of a decision to spend £22,000 to resurface a footpath on the street where he lives.

A freedom of information request by Conservative supporters ascertained that he used £22,000 of his small schemes allowance from Northumberland County Council to resurface the footpath on Castle Terrace.

Councillor Georgina Hill said it did not look very good for Councillor Jones.

She pointed out that Cllr Jones had spent none of this fund in the Magdalene ward (Three Fields) area which he also represents.

Cllr Jones was also lampooned on Facebook site Berwick deserves better than the Liberal Democrats, which depicted him in an elf costume.

However, Cllr Jones vehemently denies any wrong-doing and released a statement this week to clear his name.

He explained the project was initiated by a request from a family with a disabled child, supported by a number of other residents from The Grange.

He said: “I am disappointed that two Conservative town councillors have taken an opportunity to deliberately mislead the public to smear me over the re-surfacing of the pavement on the north side of Castle Terrace.

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“This resurfacing work was the result of a resident request. Because I live on the opposite side of the street to this pavement, I informed the county solicitor and ensured that the decision process was an officer-led process.

“This request was properly handled and at no time was the location of the work, or the source of the funding, hidden.”

He said he was disappointed that political opponents ‘are deliberately smearing me for cheap party political gain’.

“It would be helpful if they would turn their energies to something constructive for our town,” he added.

Northumberland County Councillors each receive an annual budget of £15,000, £60,000 over a four year term, to help fund projects and local improvement schemes in their own divisions.

Since Cllr Gavin Jones was elected in 2013, the only approved schemes have come in the current financial year.

These are £22,000 to resurface the footpath on the

A6105 Castle Terrace and £3,500 on traffic calming (removal of double yellow line restrictions and replacement with limited waiting parking) outside bowling club, U107 Golf Course Road.