Work starts on quayside footpath

Work is underway on a controversial new footpath on Berwick's quayside.

Wednesday, 16th March 2016, 14:09 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th March 2016, 14:13 pm
The new disabled-friendly footpath at Berwick quayside.

The £55,000 project was given the go-ahead by Northumberland County Council with funding from the town’s troubled Portas Pilot scheme.

However, some members of Berwick Town Council complained about the decision-making process behind the scheme and called for a re-think.

Councillor Georgina Hill was among those opposed to the scheme, saying it did not have the support of local residents.

She was backed by Councillor Karin Graham who hoped more of the money would have been earmarked for improvements to the market and high street shop fronts.

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However, the county council insists the correct procedure was followed and that the criticism levelled at it is unfounded.

It says it agreed, following its announcement to close the Portas programme by the end of December, that the balance of programme funding (£65,000) would go towards other project activities in Berwick.

A total of 26 suggestions were put forward based on public feedback, which were then shortlisted by the town council to three priorities: Make Berwick Beautiful, empty shop window coversand making the quayside accessible to everyone.

Among the suggestions, it was acknowledged the elderly, disabled and parents with pushchairs found it difficult to access the quayside due to the cobbles.

In October, the county council’s chief executive and leader met the town council to agree which of the three identified priorities could realistically be achieved.

It was then agreed that the majority of the funds available would be best spent on making the quayside accessible with a new footpath.

The 130-metre path will link the car park next to the Chandlery and Bridge End. The works include the repair and widening of the existing footpath on the ramp up to the Old Bridge and will provide access to existing seating on the quayside.