Town council row over quayside path decision escalates

A Berwick town councillor has demanded an apology from the mayor after she was refused the opportunity to raise an issue.

Thursday, 4th February 2016, 10:49 am

Councillor Georgina Hill has made repeated calls for discussion on the way a decision was agreed for the remaining Portas funds to be spent on a footpath on the quayside.

At Monday night’s staffing committee meeting she was rebuffed in a similar way to she had been at full council a week earlier.

In an email to the mayor afterwards, Cllr Hill said: “I am extremely disappointed that you have, once again, refused to allow debate at tonight’s staffing committee and shouted me down when I was trying to raise an extremely important issue for the council.”

She went on to suggest Cllr Bettison steps aside if she is ‘unable to facilitate the democratic process’.

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“I expect at the very least an apology,” she added.

Cllr Bettison said she was unable to discuss the issue at the moment but indicated she planned to take the matter further.

Northumberland County Council insists it had the agreement of the town council to earmark £50,000 for a disabled-friendly footpath.

However, Cllr Hill and a number of other councillors complained this was not a decision made by full council and want to know who made the decision.

Councillor Gavin Jones, county councillor for Berwick North, said it was time to move on from the Portas issue to prevent the town council being bogged down in another cycle of rows and allegations.

He suggested: “Given we’re talking tens of thousands of pounds of public money, it would be good to have a definitive statement from the town council that provides clarity.”

Work on the new footpath was scheduled to start this month.